SBD/September 12, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Lakers' Jim Buss Discusses Pressures Of New Role After Passing Of His Father

Buss understands when people say they need him to lead the Lakers
Lakers Exec VP/Player Personnel JIM BUSS is profiled by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN L.A., who wrote under the header, "The Time Has Come For Jim Buss." Buss said of his late father, JERRY BUSS, "If he didn't think I was capable of doing this, I guarantee he wouldn't have put me here. He would have arranged something else. ... My dad trusted me. I know for a fact that if he didn't believe in what I was doing, he would not have just said, 'Well you're my son. Here you go.' No. That's not how I got this job." He added, "We lost a great person, a great Laker fan, and by far and away, to me, the best owner in sports. But the stability and the passion with which we do our work is still there 100 percent." Shelburne wrote now with the passing of Jerry Buss, Jim will "need to adapt," as "all the consequences and responsibilities are his." Jim Buss: "I'm looked upon as that decision-maker even though it's a team effort. I think people want to have that. They want the new decision-making process to be out in the forefront as opposed to keeping the legacy of Dr. Buss in the forefront. It's hard to say that, because I'm still not 100 percent sure that's true. But I get a sense from people that, 'We don't want to hear about you feeling bad (Dr. Buss) is gone and that you miss your connection with him. We need you to lead.' I understand that." 

YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN: Shelburne wrote Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations JEANIE BUSS was "understandably devastated and hurt" when the Lakers hired coach MIKE D'ANTONI last year instead of her fiancé, PHIL JACKSON. Jim Buss said, "I felt compassionate. I wish I could do something about that, but on a business level, this was a business decision made by our father." He added, "I consider Phil family. That's how I look at him. If he wants to work with me on a consultant basis, I'm all for it. ... Yes, it feels like a soap opera. I'm learning to accept it. Jeanie's been a lot more in the public eye than I have been" (ESPNLA.com, 9/11).

CHANNEL GUIDE: Jackson and Jeanie Buss are slated to be part of a scripted drama on Showtime about a pro basketball team, and CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb said, “This isn’t going to be a real story, this is not going to be a behind the scenes look at the Lakers. It’s going to be scripted." He asked, "Are they going to go to the level that ‘Playmakers’ went there for ESPN?” Gottlieb later added, “The Lakers have this partnership with Time Warner Cable, they have their own channel, yet this is going to appear on Showtime. Win for Showtime, no question” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 9/11).
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