Offense isn't the only thing missing from Lakers home games this season.
Jeanie Buss, the longtime off-the-court face of the NBA's glitziest franchise, has rarely been in attendance at Staples Center. And the executive vice president of the Lakers tells Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times that Phil Jackson is part of the reason.
No, she's not protesting the end of his coaching career; the daughter of franchise owner Jerry Buss has been spending time with her longtime boyfriend. Plaschke reports that Buss, a longtime regular at Staples Center, has been to just four home games this season.
"I'm catching up on all the things I missed doing with my boyfriend for 12 years," Jeanie Buss told the Times. "He was always working, and he's not now, so I like to stay home and hang with him."
While many snarky sports bloggers thought Phil Jackson would move to a shed in Montana, he's still living near the beach in Southern California. But is that really the reason she's been so rare in attendance?
Jeanie is in charge of the Lakers business operations, while her less popular brother, Jim, makes the basketball decisions. Always a popular figure with the media and fans, Jeanie's absence has led some -- including Plaschke -- to speculate that her disappearing act this season might be tied to her brother giving her a much lesser role this season with her father's beloved franchise.
"Yes, I got more connected to the basketball side (in the past) because of my relationship with Phil, and that may seem like it's changed," Buss says. "I used to be able to help with the line of communication between business and basketball, but ... we'll find our way." "Change is hard, nobody likes change; this has been hard for me," Jeanie said. "I like the old coach. I was biased. But you can't freeze time, and we have to move on."
Jeanie Buss still has a huge presence on Twitter (@JeanieBuss); the Lakers executive has more than 62,000 followers. She points out that she doesn't write about basketball, but does comment on things that go on around the Lakers.
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