Jeanie has spent many of her 37 years quietly preparing for just that. At 14 she would tag along with her father to World TeamTennis board meetings. The league went under in 1978 but resurfaced in 1981 as TeamTennis. Jerry once again owned the Strings, and he named 19-year-old Jeanie their general manager. "Basically, my dad bought me the team," says Jeanie. "It was a very empowering experience." But not a particularly profitable one. The Strings sputtered along before dissolving in 1993.
"I always felt the TeamTennis thing was hopeless," says John McEnroe, who dated Jeanie for six months in the mid-'90s. "She's been tossed lame sports by her father and yet made something of each of them."
When the Strings went belly-up, Jeanie was also running another dog-cart club, the L.A. Blades in the Roller Hockey International league. "Jeanie's knowledge is second to none in getting a second-tier sport off the ground," says Ken Yaffe, the NHL's liaison to RHI. "Though the executive meetings were male-dominated, Jeanie was very strong-willed and never caved in." She was an outspoken opponent of propping up ailing franchises, and though other owners overruled her on that issue, it cost them dearly. RHI collapsed last year.
The Forum, Jeanie says, is more her home than any house she's lived in. "My 21st birthday was there, I was robbed at gunpoint there, I met my ex-husband there," she says. Jeanie and Steve Timmons, the flat-topped, flame-haired U.S. Olympic volleyball hero, met during a 1986 tournament she was promoting. "I saw Steve as somebody who was very marketable," she says. "What I'd thought was love was really my attraction to his magnetism."
By 1990 Timmons's magnetic field had started to lose its pull. Or perhaps Jeanie had begun to feel a certain power of her own. In any case, they found themselves yanked in opposite directions. She wanted kids; he didn't. "I was always, 'Steve, whatever you want, whatever you want,' " she says. "But whenever I wanted something, he was always, 'You're compromising what I want.' I probably should have been his manager instead of his wife."
Jeanie's pal Magic Johnson laughs when he thinks about her getting hitched. "She goes out with a million men, finally says 'I do' and how long does it last?" he asks. "A month or two?"
"Three years," says Jeanie. "Which is a lot longer than Magic's TV show."
While she never lost her sense of humor, she says she did lose her self-esteem. As a rite of empowerment, she asked herself, Is there anything I've always wanted to do but haven't? Her answer: appear nude in Playboy.
"Very strange," says McEnroe. "It must have had something to do with her unique relationship with her father."
He may be right. Jerry had once owned the Playboy Club in Phoenix, and according to Johnny, Jeanie had always been insecure about her looks. So she grabbed the phone and pitched her assets to the magazine's editors. A six-page spread in the May 1995 issue bares those assets in a Forum locker room, in the Forum loge and—paging Dr. Freud!—on her father's Forum desk. Jerry claims it's the only Playboy he's never looked at. "But I hear Jeanie looked absolutely stunning," he says.