The passing of Jerry Buss will not affect the current structure of the Los Angeles Lakers this according to the Buss family who released a statement today.
“It was our father’s often stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.”
Certainly given the declining health of Dr. Buss in recent years this very topic must have been discussed in the event of Dr. Buss passing. Furthermore there is very specific language forbidding members of the Buss family from selling their controlling shares of the franchise.
At the forefront of the franchise are Jim and Jeanie Buss who have long since been entrenched in the Lakers’ organization. In fact in recent years the two have taken on expanded roles no doubt preparing themselves for this such moment.
Of course that is all professional talk. On an emotional level nothing could have prepared the family for the news that spread this morning.
None the less the Lakers will move forward without the guidance of the greatest owner in NBA history. Jim Buss had been heavily involved in many of the basketball decisions for some years now while Jeanie’s area of expertise relates to the business side. According to the L.A. Times Jeanie will assume the role of the team’s governor meaning she’ll represent the Lakers at any owner’s meetings.
Jim will continue his role in basketball operations which has thus far proven a real challenge. While it is impossible to follow in his father’s footsteps, Jim has taken a much more active role in basketball decisions. His father always had the final say but wasn’t nearly as hands on as Jim Buss has been.
The transition was set in motion some time ago therefore nothing will inherently change as far as the day to day operations go. All of the Buss siblings hold a role of some sort within the Lakers’ organization. Should any family member seek to sell their share a majority vote determined by 4 of the 6 siblings must be reached before any such transaction could occur.
Given the passion Dr. Buss had for the Lakers and considering his family grew up in with the team as a part of their lives it seems highly unlikely we’ll see the team sold to another ownership group in our lifetime.