The Los Angeles Lakers have always been a franchise built on star players. The late, great Dr. Jerry Buss always did what he could to have great relationships with the Lakers’ franchise players and now Jeanie Buss is doing the same.
Jeanie has spoken at length about the closeness of her relationship with Kobe Bryant and now with LeBron James in the fold, another all-time great player, Jeanie and the front office continue to seek that same level of trust.
The NBA has turned into a player’s league recently with James being at the forefront of what is known as the player empowerment era. While some owners may keep things more at a professional level, Buss spoke to Mark Medina of NBA.com as to why she believes it is important to have a close relationship with star players:
“For a person in my position, it’s important to have a relationship of mutual understanding of what the values are and how can I help you achieve your success and how you help the organization achieve success for the team and the community. Those kind of conversations are important. There are some people in my position — governors of teams — who don’t want to have those kind of relationships with the players on their team. That’s how they do business. But that’s not how I do business.
“I believe in having strong ties to the players in terms of understanding what motivates them and what their goals are. I’m in a position that can provide the resources and the platform that they’re looking for to amplify their message and what they’re trying to do in their career and their lives.”
In terms of her specific relationship with James and Klutch Sports, Jeanie noted that she has relationships with everyone on the roster, but people tend to focus on LeBron due to his status:
“He’s the highest profile player in the game right now, and he’s on our team. We’re one of the highest profile teams in the league. That’s what people see because he draws so much attention. But I have relationships with all the players and all the agents. It just seems people want to focus on that relationship. He’s the most important voice on our team and our league.”
With a star as big as LeBron and a signature franchise like the Lakers, it makes complete sense as to why the focus tends to be on that relationship as opposed to others. Quite simply, role players just don’t move the needle the same way that James does.
Buss has been under a major microscope since taking over the Lakers and LeBron coming on board has only brightened that light. But Jeanie has held firm in her beliefs and will continue operating the same way her legendary father taught her.
Jeanie Buss discusses when Lakers will build Kobe Bryant statue
No franchise pays homage to its superstars like the Lakers do and the legend of Kobe Bryant remains a focal part of the franchise. With Kobe already being in the Hall of Fame, many are wondering when he will be further immortalized with a statue outside the Crypto.com Arena.
When asked, Jeanie Buss wouldn’t give details on a potential date but did assure everyone that discussions are happening and it will be done ‘at the right time.’
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!