Black Tuesday-the entire Lakers front office blown to pieces while Magic Johnson restored order-feels anticlimactic compared to Friday when they had their Jeanie Buss firewall tested.
Ruthlessly ousted Jim Buss meted out phase one of his revenge. With one of his brothers [Johnny] at his side and the only ally in this Battle of Shiloh Civil War fight- (brothers Joey and Jesse, sister Janie are with Jeanie)- the two Buss men tried to take the Lakers presidency away from their sister.
Jim tried to force an emergency meeting of the board to vote on a new president. (Jeanie Buss is the current president and controlling owner). In that proposed meeting, if so granted by the judge, and to take place next Tuesday, the list of candidates for Lakers presidency would include Jim but not Jeanie. If Jim was in charge, he would fire Magic, he would fire Jeanie and install himself as the Lakers President. It would be funny if it wasn’t pathetic, his failed coup.
The NBA weighed in, as they are a stakeholders in the Lakers business revenue.
“Jeanie Buss is a terrific leader of the Lakers organization and an incredibly influential voice among all our team owners.”
The Buss kids own 66% of the Lakers via a trust. The trust spells out all of the particulars and procedures, who runs what, who bosses who, who is the director, who is the controlling owner. The trust is run by Jeanie, Jim and Johnny Buss collectively, as specified by the late Dr. Buss. In the trust it specifically spells out that, “Jeanie M. Buss appointed as the new Controlling owner of The Los Angeles Lakers”, unless she is no longer living or unless she wasn’t appointed controlling owner after her father’s death, which she was.
Since she gave her brother [Jim] his walking papers a few weeks back, Jeanie has been anticipating some grandiose move. Jeanie’s lawyer filed a restraining order which the judge granted. The Buss brothers backed off. There will be no meeting on Tuesday to oust Jeanie. Her brothers voted for her to continue as Controlling Owner.
The court will examine the trust in May and decide who is in charge per the trust specifications. If Jeanie is in charge as the team’s director, as the trust stipulates, then business as usual. If the court rules against her and says the team’s director is in question and the Buss brothers win, it is Armageddon and all hell breaks loose.
This set of events would be a sad legacy to what Jerry Buss built except these are his kids in destruction mode who have put Lakers fans through the wringer the past three years. We are immune by now.
Jim, not a sympathetic figure and surely no one’s victim, is doing what daddy Jerry would want. Play his last hand at the table. Hope Jeanie doesn’t have a full house to Jim’s three of a kind.
Fired, publicly humiliated, no job to go to because who is going to hire him, the JIm Buss narrative is rich man’s son. He has failed at every job he ever had. So of course he is out for blood. I can’t really blame him for fighting back because he has no other options except to just sit home and count the money the Lakers make, north of $100 million because of their television deal.
However, this latest saga is one more fall from grace for a family business that was beyond reproach. The Buss family image has been shattered multiple times since the death of their holy father Jerry. Once upon a time the Lakers were one of those beautiful things about Los Angeles. Now they are in chaos.
They can’t escape the war among themselves and perhaps they don’t want to. It’s a family crime or a family tragedy and at this point it doesn’t matter which because the Lakers are a regressive organization. They are messy with performances that are laughably forgettable on the court and behind the scenes stabbing each other in the back the way Hamlet stabbed Claudius entertains more than their games do. Talk of the lottery and how did it come to this are the only respectable Lakers conversations to be had anymore. Now this catastrophe to cement the fall, as if all the other Lakers mistakes aren’t woeful enough. The team was humiliated by their rival, the Boston Celtics, on Friday night, and it would have been an atrocious display of pride goeth before the fall except there is no pride. Not anymore. Not here.
Can it get any more surreal? Magic Johnson was supposed to restore stability with his vision and leadership. Paul George was supposed to be on the summer to do list with George being very interested. This is a huge step back for anything resembling normalcy but considering the past three years, it is business as usual for the Buss Family Values.
Next court date: May 15th, probate hearing to review the trust.
photo via llananba