Jeanie Buss Interview: “I’m at the Top of the Food Chain”

(Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

There are a lot of questions and concerns from the Los Angeles Lakers fan base relating to the leadership and direction of the team. As the Lakers continue to struggle to compete and currently on pace to have one of the worst seasons, record-wise, in Lakers history, the patience is wearing thin from the fan base.All season, the fans have flooded the lines on talk radio shows to voice their frustrations and demand change at the top, specifically, removal of Jim Buss as the Head of Basketball Operations.

In comes President of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeanie Buss, who walked into the Lion’s Den by spending about an hour on the Mason and Ireland show  today to discuss the state of the Lakers and answer many of the questions and concerns that are surrounding the team.

Photo: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
Photo: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Jeanie was asked about the her faith in the basketball operations side of the team which is run in part by her brother, Jim Buss, who is the center of most of the Lakers’ fans distress with management.

“I have faith that Jimmy knows what he is doing. He learned under my dad. He’s got a certain style of basketball that he wants to see this team play and I think as time goes on you will see that vision take place.” Jeanie stated.

Jeanie provided the reasoning behind the Lakers’ organization inability to find a role for her fiancee, Phil Jackson, who has taken a role with the New York Knicks front office.

“I think people need to understand, it isn’t just just Phil. It’s they don’t need anybody else.; everything’s covered. There is no additional need for anybody to come in. Jimmy and Mitch have a like mind in how they see the game and what they want to accomplish with this team and they have it under control and they don’t need another voice.” Buss added. “In what Phil wants to contribute now to a team we don’t need a person in that role.”

The front office decision to sign Kobe Bryant to a massive, 2 year, 48.5 million dollar contract has also been big point of contention with fans. When asked directly by ESPN host John Ireland if she believes that signing Kobe to the large contract was the right thing to do, without hesitation, she answered “Absolutely.” Buss revealed her overwhelming confidence in Kobe being able to make a full return to form.

“I believe that Kobe will come back for this injury and he will contribute and be the Kobe that we always know he can be.”  Buss stated. “I’m confident that he will be productive in the next two seasons.”

Buss was asked about the questions surrounding the business model that was put in place per the wishes of the late Dr. Jerry Buss, which is to have both her and Jim Buss split the responsibilities of running the franchise and if having just one voice would be the better model for success.

“I am the one voice. I am that person. I’m at the top of the food chain.” Buss stated.

Host Steve Mason pressed further by clarifying if that meant that Jim Buss answered to her.

“I guess, technically, yes. In his job as head of basketball operations he reports to me but he is also a share holder.” Buss replied.

Overall, Jeanie Buss did a great job in answering each of the questions that were thrown her way by both the hosts and fans that called the show. Buss provided insight as to the dynamics of the Lakers front office, its pecking order and some of its recent basketball decisions including the D’Antoni hire, Kobe’s contract and the bypassing of Phil Jackson as coach. If you want to hear the 1 hour Jeanie Buss interview in its entirety you can listen to the podcast on


– Fern Rea


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Brookshire Real Estate
Brookshire Real Estate
Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom