SBD/February 17, 2012/Franchises

Jeanie Buss Has Scaled Back Her Attendance At Lakers Games This Season

Buss said she is trying to spend more time with Jackson (r) now that he is retired
Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations Jeanie Buss in recent years had evolved into "one of the most active, visible and trusted connections between Lakers management and the fans," but this season, some "longtime season-ticket holders say they have seen her at only a couple of games," according to Bill Plaschke of the L.A. TIMES. Buss said that she has "been to four" games this season. Plaschke writes, "When you're talking about the team's executive vice president for business operations, a high-profile executive for whom the Lakers are family, it's just plain weird." Buss said, ''This year has been just different for me." She said that with her boyfriend, former coach Phil Jackson, now "retired and living here, they are making up for all those nights they spent apart." She said, "This year has been unusual … unique. They should put a star next to it." Her father, Lakers Owner Jerry Buss, has "essentially split the handling of the team's operations between her and her brother," Lakers Exec VP/Player Personnel Jim Buss. Jeanie runs the "business side, Jim runs the basketball side, yet Jeanie is a far more established presence because of her enduring connection with the community and deep understanding of what Lakers fans want." Although Jeanie has "never made a basketball decision, she has long been the one to remind the basketball people what sells, and to push her father into sparing no expense in acquiring it." Although Jeanie "insists her father is still running the show, Jerry remains slowed by blood clots." This has "increased Jim's basketball involvement while reducing Jeanie's communication with the basketball folks, and that's not good." Jeanie said, "Yes, I got more connected to the basketball side because of my relationship with Phil, and that may seem like it's changed. I used to be able to help with the line of communication between business and basketball, but … we'll find our way" (L.A. TIMES, 2/17).

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