Struggling through the worst four-season stretch in franchise history, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss made a tough decision in the middle of last season, firing her brother Jim Buss, who was the head of the basketball operations department.
Firing your own brother could not have been easy for Jeanie, especially when it was her father, Dr. Jerry Buss’s vision to have Jim oversee basketball operations. But Jeanie went through with it, hiring Laker great Magic Johnson to take over.
In a recent interview on KCET’s Town Hall, Jeanie opened up about how difficult the decision was, although she said had to do what was best for the organization:
“Yeah, you know, the way my father set it up was he wanted my brother to oversee the basketball and me to run the business side, but ultimately, he wanted the team to be run the way he had set it up. The Lakers are a franchise that people know what you stand for, they know what you’re looking to do. And for, you know, 3 or 4 years, it just seemed like the team was lost in terms of what we were trying to build. And so a decision had to be made that was tough for me, which was to remove my brother from overseeing the basketball. We didn’t see eye to eye on how things were going, and it was time to make a change. You know, that’s why we got to the point that we did.”
Jeanie also added that she probably waited too long to make the change as things seemed to be getting worse and worse with each year:
“And I think the first—for one of the first comments I made was that I apologized to Laker fans that perhaps I waited too long to make that change. I really wanted things to work out the way Dr. Buss, my father, had set them up, but, you know, I couldn’t see how things were…getting better. It just seemed to be getting worse.”
The change is already looking to be the right one, as Johnson and his general manager, Rob Pelinka, have completely revamped the franchise in their short time leading the front office, leaving Laker fans and Jeanie very optimistic about what is to come in the future.
While he no longer is involved in basketball operations, Jim is still a part of the organization as an owner, and he recently attended the Lakers first preseason game in Anaheim, which was a pleasant sight to see for Lakers head coach Luke Walton.