When you shell out nearly $100-million for a basketball team just making the playoffs isn’t enough. When you’re Jerry Buss and you’ve put together many a title contender for a much cheaper price tag then winning the championship is the only consolation for all that coin.
Just in case Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and company weren’t already feeling enough pressure to three-peat (again), Hall of Famer Dr. Buss went out and slapped the “best Laker team we’ve ever had” bullseye on their backs.
Dr. Buss opened up about the offseason that was – and is still on going – during a Q&A session with reporters at a charity poker tournament yesterday. Buss is confident his team will defend their title (again), even if that means taking out the new King of South Beach and his other Miami Heat teammates in the process.
“Quite honestly, I think we can beat them [Miami] and I’m looking forward to playing them.”
As if the pressure on his players weren’t enough, Dr. Buss holds all of the organization to the same standards.
“Some time ago, I’m talking to some people and they wanted a bonus if the Lakers make the playoffs. I said, ‘If they don’t make the playoffs, you don’t work here anymore.’ “
While defeating the Heat would be the ideal scenario for Dr. Buss, he does see the Boston Celtics as the true team to beat (again). One more title and the Lake Show would be level with the rivals in Bean Town for hoops supremacy.
“When I bought the Lakers, that was obviously uppermost in my mind: We’ve got to catch up and do to them what they did to us. So Boston has always been very, very special and beating them is always and forever will be special.”
There’s that and then there’s also the added nugget of getting a little more revenge on Shaquille O’Neal. But Dr. Buss is thinking more of what it would mean to Kobe than himself.
“Shaq and Kobe [Bryant] have a little thing going as to who wins the most rings, and so Shaq signing with Boston sets up a potential showdown. I like the drama. I think it’s fabulous. You can’t help but love Shaq. He’s a very funny man. Sometimes he gets a little carried away in his analysis of former employers. But outside of that, he’s quite a guy and we look forward to it.”
We’re not even into September yet and already the upcoming season has all the makings of a classic. Make sure you get your tickets now, Laker fans. With all the expectations Dr. Buss has for his organization you’d better believe he’s holding the fans to the same standards.