SBD/April 10, 2014/Franchises

Jeanie Buss Says Media Plays Up Drama Between Siblings, Lakers' Leadership Structure

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Jeanie Buss said her brother Jim understands that she is ultimately in charge
Showtime's Jim Rome last night said the Lakers are "one of the most storied franchises in the history of sports," and "we don't know exactly what's going on on the inside, but on the outside you might say it looks like there's high drama, maybe even feuding among siblings." Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations Jeanie Buss appeared on the show for a one-one-one, and Rome asked, "Is that how it is?" Buss said the "media likes to play that up. It makes it very interesting, but to me, we're in a family business. We run it like a family. There's consensus and maybe we don't agree on everything, but we work things through. Everybody has a defined role." Buss said the family "may not always agree, but we work it out." Meanwhile, Rome noted Buss' relationship with Knicks President Phil Jackson and introduced her as "half of the most celebrated couple in the NBA." He then asked, "How could there not be a role in that franchise for Phil Jackson?" Buss said Jackson "wanted to work again." She added, "The basketball side was covered. Phil wanted to influence an organization and I think he got the second-best job in the NBA now" with the Knicks ("Jim Rome on Showtime," 4/9).

MODERN FAMILY: Buss said of the way her father, late Lakers Owner Jerry Buss, designed the management setup between her and her siblings, "He knew our strong points, and I think he prepared us to be successful. He wanted this team to stay in the family." She added of her relationship with brother and Lakers Exec VP/Player Personnel Jim Buss, "I'm ultimately accountable. If someone isn't living up to expectations, (to) responsibilities, it's up to me to make the change that's necessary, so I guess that puts me in a different situation than just siblings. The media like to pump up that, but my brother has said it as well, that Jeanie's in charge and ultimately he would have to answer to me. But I don't run it like a dictatorship. I like to build consensus. I like everyone to have a voice in how we operate." Meanwhile, Buss said Lakers fans are "in it through thick and thin." She added, "They need to see steps are being taken, an investment's being made in the team, that we're building for the future to get back to the promised land." Buss said of expanding her media availability, "It's not my style usually to assert myself so strongly, but I want the fans to know that we're going to get the team back to where it should be" (L.A. TIMES, 4/9).
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