As the glamour franchise of the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers are no strangers to drama. Throughout the years, there was seemingly always a major story following the storied franchise and it was to be expected given all of the media attention and publicity they attracted.
In fact, it was not that long ago when the organizational hierarchy was in disarray due to friction between Jeanie and Jim Buss. When Jerry Buss left the team to his children, it was with Jeanie handling business operations and Jim overseeing basketball decisions.
The team went into a tailspin, which culminated with Jeanie ousting Jim to assume full control of the team. In an appearance on the “Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson” podcast, Jeanie discussed why she made the controversial move to remove Jim from basketball operations:
“After my dad passed away in 2013, he left the team in the family so that the family would inherit the team. He left my brother in charge of basketball and me in charge of business. He was very specific with how he ran the team and what his goals were with the team. I assumed my brother would run basketball the way my dad did and I would run the business the way we did under my dad.
“So when my brother wasn’t going with the way my dad did things, it was a little distressing for me. And over the years prior to him passing away, my dad would tell me that he was going to put me in charge. That he was going to give me the authority that if anything how he left it needed to be changed, that I would be able to change it. So when things weren’t going well on the basketball side, it was important to me to do what my dad asked me to.”
Jeanie explained that the shift in coaching philosophy and lack of a plan also played a part in her brother’s dismissal:
“When you’re down and losing, and then my brother was changing coaches every 18 months. Sometimes you have to make coaching changes, I get that. But when you go from a coach like Mike Brown, whose emphasis was defense, to a coach like Mike D’Antoni, who really doesn’t worry so much about defense, that’s two different rosters that you need. Then the outside world thinks, ‘They don’t know what direction they’re going in.’
“You should be able to see a pathway as you hire a coach, you give him the players for his style of basketball and you make decisions that follow ones before it. You follow the path and what the person is thinking. But I couldn’t see what was going on, where he was trying to go and what our identity was going to be as a team.”
Jeanie has been hailed as a savvy NBA owner with the ability to connect with her peers and players, but this was the first time the basketball world had seen her flex her powers. After Jim’s departure, she surrounded herself with people she could trust like Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka.
Although Johnson resigned from his post as president of basketball operations, Pelinka has excelled in his expanded role and put together a roster worthy of competing for an NBA title. All in all, Jeanie righted the ship and the purple and gold appear poised to return to glory.