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Due to his injuries Kobe Bryant has been a financial bust since signing a $48.5 million two year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers which is currently under the management of the deceased former owner Jerry Buss' children Jeanie and Jim Buss - (Keith Allison photo)



Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was annoyed when ESPN asked questions regarding the value of Kobe Bryant - ESPN screen shot photo

Following the death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss (pictured) the team has fallen from grace under the management of his children - World Series of Poker photo

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson was challenged by his fiancÚ Jeanie Buss when she tried to lure Knicks star Carmelo Anthony to leave the Knicks and join the Lakers - NBA photo



James Loving/National Radio Text Service



We have had an unforgettable experience with both Los Angeles Lakers NBA team owners Jeanie and Jim Buss therefore we have a strong insight to their personalities. The Lakers Busted fuse was lit in December 2014 in an ESPN video interview with Jeanie Buss who was grilled about the decision making of the team in their signing an aging then 35-year-old Kobe Bryant to a two year $ $48.5 million contract



Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Buss Family Trusts... the Black Mamba

When former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away February 18, 2013 at the age of 80, the team was left to his children or namely the Buss Trust. Those children include Jeanie Buss, now 53, who is the top peanut in the trust who is also a member of the NBA's Board of Governors, her older brother Jim, now 55, and their younger sister Janie (age unknown).

We have had an unforgettable experience with both Jeanie and Jim therefore we have a strong insight to their personalities. The Lakers Busted fuse was lit in December 2014 in an ESPN video interview with Jeanie Buss who was grilled about the decision making of the team in their signing an aging then 35-year-old Kobe Bryant to a two year $ $48.5 million contract.

"I think there's maybe a handful of guys in the league that are worth as much as he is and we're lucky to have him," Jeanie Buss said of Bryant to ESPN. "I think he's worth every penny."

"I love Kobe Bryant. I think L.A. loves Kobe Bryant and he deserves to play here. He loves it. I don't envision him going anywhere else," Jim Buss added in an ESPN interview. "I don't see it."

The outrage by critics was immediate. The questions raised were was this payback for previous services rendered and the Lakers way of showing gratitude or was it deserved for his expected services going forward. The deal was made following an injury plagued 2013-14 season in which the Black Mamba, as he calls himself, played only six games. There were questions if Bryant could return to form at his age having had a serious injury that sidelined him almost the entire season.

The critics concerns have been given support since this season Bryant set an NBA record for most missed shots in a game. Early in the season Bryant's leadership came into focus when he criticized his teammates as being too soft meaning that they weren't playing physical enough.

That statement did more to alienate his teammates than inspire them. Coach Byron Scott then decided to rest Kobe for some games and the team has played better without him. The irony is that this week Bryant reportedly has a rotor cuff injury that could sideline him for the remainder of the season and the $ $48.5 million dollar Buss Trust investment is going up in smoke.

Bryant entered the NBA directly from high school, and has played for the Lakers his entire career, winning five NBA championships. Bryant is a 16-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. Twice he has led the league in scoring.

With all of his success there are some dark clouds hovering over him an individual who has a reputation of being a selfish player who is interested in his achievement first and the team second. He gives the impression that the Lakers must revolve around him and given the results he's got that impression right.

The departure of Shaquille O'Neal gives credence to Lakers management's loyalty to Kobe. Other feel that Kobe was selfish and threw Shaq under the bus so the Lakers could be focused around him while the three NBA titles that they earned together didn't matter as it was about to be all about Kobe. According to sportswriter Mark Heisler of Forbes, "circa 2004-2007, Kobe was the most alienated superstar the NBA had ever seen."

Since Jeanie Buss took over as the head of the Buss Trust and is recognized as the boss of the Lakers with her brother Jim taking responsibility of the team decisions such as trade and salaries. The siblings have had a testy relationship as their poor decision making since their father died has resulted in the team's decline and losing seasons and is on record as being the franchise's worst in the history.

In the ESPN video interview Jeanie Buss continues to communicate with a petulant attitude, just as she displayed to us when we met her while covering an NCAA ice hockey tournament during the Christmas holidays in the early 90's at the then Lakers owned Los Angeles Forum where the Lakers then played their home games.

The encounter took place as we were sitting at a table in the Forum Club (a VIP meeting/room bar) gathering our notes between games when Jeanie and Jim approached us for what felt like an interrogation which we will go into detail at a later time. In the ESPN interview the show was on the other foot as ESPN grilled Jeanie unmercifully but with grace and a high level of professionalism. The interview, available on the ESPN website is excellent.

What was not revealed in the ESPN interview was the poor handling of Pau Gasol who was the cornerstone that helped turn the Lakers around. He was the missing ingredient and an integral part of the two NBA championships the Lakers won in 2009 & 2010.

It was a no brainer that without Gasol those teams could not win the title. He was the glue that held the team together yet during his final two seasons with the Lakers the Buss Trust kept Gasol on quicksand like footing regarding his future with the team with rumors that he was to be traded. That led to Gasol move on the Chicago Bulls where he has returned to his best form and was voted by the fans to be on the starting All-star game team for the East.

While the Buss Trust is going up in flames Jeanie places the responsibility on Jim and the team's general manager Mitch Kupchak. Jim Buss has stated to ESPN that he would resign in three years if the team wasn't back to being a contender at that time.

In the ESPN interview Buss was questioned if the signing of Bryant to such a huge contract in his declining years was a decision that her father would make. Buss danced around the question with diverse answers.

The talk is that the Lakers are falling apart since the team is all about Kobe and other star players don't want to play with him. ESPN questioned her regarding the team's inability to sign free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to which Buss took exception to in responding in an emotional irritable manner, "What has that to do with Kobe?"

She went on to say that if there were any players that didn't want to play with Kobe then she didn't want to see them on the Lakers because they are losers. She tried to defend her position in not being able to sign the two super star players by basically stating that they returned to their home cities and she could understand that. She also noted that she was involved with the meeting and pitch to Anthony but as it turns out the mellow fellow wasn't impressed enough to join the Lakers. The strange twist to this ongoing melodrama is the team has one of the worst records in the league with the New York Knicks being the worst.

Anthony chose to remain and sign with the New York Knicks under the leadership of its president and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson who is also Jeanie's fiance. Buss made it a point that although she and Jackson are planning to be married that she is so determined to make the Lakers a winning team again that she went after her boyfriends star player. As she puts it, "All is fair in love and basketball."

NOTE: LINK to the ESPN video interview with Jeanie Buss (copy & paste): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12000240/lakers-owner-jeanie-buss-says-tanking-unforgivable



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