Over the course of their illustrious history, the Los Angeles Lakers have established one of the world’s most recognizable brands. As a result, the franchise boasts one of the strongest fan bases in not just basketball, but sports as a whole.
From the Showtime Era to the dominant duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Lakers fans have become accustomed to greatness and refuse to settle for anything less. Granted, recent years haven’t afforded them that luxury, lending to plenty of frustration.
Nonetheless, those expectations have given the fan base an unfavorable reputation from the rest of the basketball world, but it hasn’t fazed Lakers controlling owner and president Jeanie Buss.
During an appearance on The Full 48 with Howard Beck, Buss defended the team’s reputation for having cocky fans, and uses it as motivation to deliver the best product possible:
“I’m not going to make apologies for it. When you have a brand, you create a product that your customers approve of and they want. And if you vary off that product, they let you know they don’t like it. This is the product that we’ve come to expect from you. We created a brand that is about Lakers, the type of basketball we are. The hard work, the expectations. So when we veered away from that, the fans let us know. ‘This isn’t what we’re used to. This isn’t the product that we want.’ So as we go in the direction that we’re going now, the feedback that I get from the fans is that they understand. They’re smart fans. They understand how this league works and that you can’t win every year. But what they want to see is that every decision that is made, complements the one prior to it. That it all fits together, that you’re going on a logical path and not just changing courses left and right with no real direction. While I can’t tell you what a timetable is as to when I can deliver a championship to our fans, they’re enjoying watching the progress that’s being made with the young players. Now you’re seeing the type of player the Lakers are building with. And the type of work ethic, the coaching, the development, and the investment in those people to give them everything that they need to be the best that they can be. I think that’s what Laker basketball is.”
Though the Lakers haven’t been a legitimate title contender since the start of the decade, there is finally a blueprint in place that every fan can appreciate.
An exciting young core and excellent cap space maneuvering has put the team in position to strike gold in free agency, whether it’s this summer or the following year. A superstar or two to complement the young core will finally put the Lakers back in championship conversations.
Buss touched based on other topics during the interview, including the NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center. She called it “humbling” for the Los Angeles to not have any representatives during the festivities.