By Will Stevenson
I am the youngest sibling. I didn’t have any older brothers that I was close to, but I did have an older sister. We had our rivalries when we were young and up through high school. I was four years younger, so of course I was a pest and also the “chosen” one to our parents. When I say chosen, I don’t mean nominated for the throne, but more of the notion that I wouldn’t be antagonized as much as she was. We were not a rich family, nor did we have a family business to fall back on, so separately we both had to make our own way in this world. We had our struggles early on, but as we grew older we learned to depend on each other and learn from each other’s mistakes while growing closer as a unit. Our views are vastly different: Her staying and thrive in Christianity while I have left religion in the past, but we have yet to cast each other aside because of our differences. I said all that to say this: We are not the Buss Family!
After Dr. Jerry Buss passed, the Lakers franchise was at an impasse: Kobe was getting older, Bynum was breaking down, Gasol’s free agency was coming and Phil Jackson was not with the organization. Jim Buss decided to take an approach with the fans that I still find questionable and to this day I don’t understand why he let us know. He told us that if the Lakers did not reach the playoffs or made winning strides, he would resign at his position of decision-making in the Lakers front office. It seems like it was his decision, or maybe it was orchestrated by Jeanie Buss herself, but it still put pressure on he and his job. Maybe Buss thought he could get out in front and ingratiate himself with the fan base, or gather some pity, or something, but as we all know that did not work out so well. Jim is gone, Mitch is gone and Magic is in. To say the least, that’s not even the kicker of the Buss saga.
It seems as if Jim and Johnny Buss, Jeanie’s two older brothers, have attempted to kick Jeanie out of the Lakers trust, literally and figuratively. Now, Jim Buss is receiving 10 million dollars a year for his “severance pay” from the organization, so most would gladly take that money. Would you? Would you be happy with that money knowing that you have failed at running your father’s team? Think about it for a moment: The family business is the Buss family running the Lakers, and you are now kept from running or being involved in the decision-making process. Could you handle that? Jim can’t face the world in suits and a baseball cap with a scruffy beard. Jim has to live with the fact that he has been fired by his younger sister, and with me being a younger brother, nobody wants to have that on their resume whether it is in secret, or in public. With there being six Buss siblings with stakes in the team and voting power, they would need four siblings to hop on board to thwart Jeanie’s role as president and controlling stake in the team.
I wonder how Secret Santa would work with the Buss family.