From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Jim Buss has become a caricature to many Lakers fans — the media shy, hard-partying son of a legendary owner who stays in the shadows, doesn’t get the tradition and doesn’t get how to run a franchise like his father. Nepotism at its worst. But like most caricatures that is a two-dimensional representation that distorts the truth. Ask people around the league and they speak of Buss as smart and measured. Listen to him speak — or read an in-depth interview with him such as the one Ramona Shelburne did at ESPNLosAngeles.com — and you get the sense of a guy who gets the incredible shadow he is living in, the near impossibility of living up to his father’s successes, and a how much he wants to do the job right. That includes owning up to the disappointment of last season.
From Ryan Ward, Lakers Nation: The 2013-14 NBA season is rapidly approaching with only 48 days left before the Los Angeles Lakers square off against their division rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, at Staples Center. With the first game of the season right around the corner, the speculation continues about when Kobe Bryant will be ready to return to the floor for the Lakers. Although there’s been multiple reports that Kobe will be ready to take on the Clippers on Oct. 29, no timetable has been set for his return. On Wednesday, a report surfaced that Kobe is still unsure if he’ll be ready for the season opener. Obviously, with Kobe’s track record for bouncing back quickly from injuries, many have shrugged this off believing that there’s no way the five-time NBA champion will miss the matchup against Chris Paul and company.
From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll: Because basketball is not the only sport in the world, and because the long and lonely months from June (or sometimes *gulp* April) to October can get awful boring otherwise, there are other sports teams that I root for. One of those teams, for no other reason than geographical proximity to my childhood, is the San Diego Chargers. I don’t want to waste your time with too much NFL talk, but the Chargers are … not very good. Even, as often happened in the last 5 or so years, when they were very good, they were still, somehow, not very good. And this Monday, in their first game of a new season, under a new head coach, and with lots of new players, they lost in the most Chargers way possible, building up a huge lead in the first half and then looking woefully incompetent in letting the Houston Texans score the final 24 points of the game, including a game winning field goal as time expired. What was my response to such a gut punch of a game? A smirk, a chuckle and a quiet whisper in my mind: Never change, Chargers. Never change.
From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN LA:It’s hard to say why we save the things we save when someone dies. Why a particular shirt feels meaningful or why it’s hard to delete certain voicemails. The list of things a loved one leaves in a will might be long. It’s often what they didn’t have to include in the will that sticks with you. Among other things, Jim Buss saved a voicemail from his father from Jan. 20, less than a month before the Lakers’ Hall of Fame owner, Jerry Buss, died after an 18-month battle with cancer. He has replayed it so many times he knows it by heart.” ‘Hey Jim, it’s your dad,’ ” Buss says, mimicking his father’s squeaky voice. ” ‘What an incredible waste of talent. Oh well. The experiment didn’t work.’ ”
Another article about Jim Buss – imagine that.
“Nepotism at its worst.” Exactly. And this team belongs to all of us – not just the Buss Family.
“the near impossibility of living up to his father’s successes” – Exactly again. So he has an extra burden because he was “given” the team by his father. This combined with the fact that he had very little experience and training, means the deck is stacked against him, and unfortunately that means it is stacked against us.
With regard to the MD decision, to put that in perspective: We had a choice between MD and the Greatest Coach of All Time. We chose MD and “how could he ever live up to Phil’s greatness” – Answer he can’t. It would be like choosing between Jerry Buss and Jim Buss. Unfortunately we can’t do that (RIP Jerry). However is there anyone out there saying Jim “Is a better fit for the team”?
And yes – I know we are stuck with Jim, I know we are stuck with MD, I know we are stuck with the media criticism and calling us a soap opera, and I know Phil is not coming back. If I was a fan of anyone other than the Lakers, I would probably find all of this “interesting”.
To RR….its not up to you to decide what I SHOULD write….There is lots of commenters and bloggers who agree with my thoughts….maybe you should tell Kobe what he should say so critics/writers etc don’t call him out on it….
has Kobe said something wrong?
does he need his mouth washed out with soap by his mother Gene?
are all those critics who will never do anything on the level that he plays baskeyball at disgusted by his inability to stay PC?
everyone is compaining about the loss of D12, but really, what did D12 do once Kobe was gone? did he will even ONE game in the post season or make even one game comnpetitive through his refusal to lose? how anyone could prefer Howard over Kobe, assuming that was really Howard’s demand for staying, is beyond me.
Craig W. says
From a business standpoint the Lakers belong to the Buss family, not to the city or fans of L.A. – or anywhere else. The movement of franchises emphasizes this point, i.e. Seattle didn’t own the Sonics no matter how much they would have liked to.
The article pointed out the view of the family – as a group – and, while you may disagree with the coaching hire, it is the family that will make those decisions.
It is not that fans don’t have the right to sound off on anything they feel like. It is when the fans think they should be the ones deciding what decisions are made that I feel justified in calling out that mentality.
Jay A says
Let me also point out that sports are supposed to be a distraction from real life. As an extension this blog for me is another therapeutic escape from the realities of life (with people who also love my favorite team). It is disheartening when people come on and just try to tear down the owner, the GM or the team’s best player. Jim Buss is doing his best. I don’t get why people keep insulting the man. He and Mitch pulled off a trade that would have given the Lakers the leagues best PG and put the team in an excellent financial situation in the future. Are we blaming Jim for David Stern’s decision? When David Stern voided the Juwan Howard contract with the Wizards, it setback that team which was steadily rising and they haven’t been able to recover these many years later. Jim and Mitch didn’t sit back after getting “Sterned”, they kept working and they are still working. The new CBA was designed to hamper the Lakers because the small Market teams were jealous of the TV deal. The Lakers front office are doing a great job considering the circumstances. People need to chill. Pat Riley is constantly praised but guess what, Pat Riley selected Michael Beasley with the 2nd pick in the draft, he wanted to trade the Wade Pick to get Chris Kaman. No one bats a 1000%, so I think people need to chill with the unrealistic expectations for Jim. I have celebrated enough championships with the Lakers that I don see the need to be ungrateful when they don’t win. Also, I appreciate what Kobe has done and I do no begrudge him for making $30 million this year especially when he has been underpaid for all of his career. Kobe has not only won championships that made me happy, but his constant handwork is an example I share with people around me to motivate them to do their best in whatever they do. The man wont play forever and I rather enjoy his last years wearing the Purple and Gold than wasting my time complaining about whether or not he will take a pay cut.
david h says
rule #1: laker fans are number one
rule #2: if laker fans are ever wrong, refer to rule number one.
his heart seems to be in the right place is an expression i use when someone’s heart is in the right place. i’m talking about jim buss. and for most laker fans the thinking here is that he is and has that. but for laker fanatics, it is not nearly enough. why? because it’s a short cut to thinking that somehow, someway laker nation will follow their hearts to a championship. we’d like to, but the missing ingredient in jim buss appears to be he lacks his father’s touch. let’s face it, jim buss needs to listen to his harshest critics..laker fanatics. we’re never wrong, right?
Go Lakers !
It may be too early to mention, but the choice of MDA as the long term coach will need to be decided before the 2014 free agency period. Like it or not, the coach will play a part in whether a given player (such as Carmelo) will seriously consider moving to the Lakers. Appeasing Dwight is one selling, but trying to sell the Lakers brand to other free agents is another.
Robert, since we are selectively quoting to feed our positions, here’s one from the same article you quote:
“Because of that Jim Buss can’t be and shouldn’t be judged right now, you need to wait five years to really begin to fairly assess him as an owner. And even that will be preliminary. We don’t really work that way in a 24-hour news cycle, but that those quick judgments tend to put things in just two dimensions.”
Jay A says
Its is interesting that Gene is allowed to spread falsehoods and disparaging remarks about Kobe however whenever someone does the same to Gene the comment gets stuck in moderation. I wonder why?
Darius Soriano says
You seem like you might be new here, but the answer is pretty simple. Just read the commenting guidelines as to why you can’t call another commenter names or insult them on these boards. People can have different opinions about any player on the roster, including Kobe. I know Lakers’ fans who respect Kobe as a player and for all he’s done for the franchise while not liking him personally (as much as one can considering we don’t know these people). I don’t really agree with Gene’s takes on Kobe and could state countless reasons why I think his opinions are misinformed (which I won’t do), but him saying them doesn’t really bother me. People calling him names in retort, however, does.
No one decides anything around here except Darius, so if you follow his rules, you can say what you like.
My point is simple: I don’t think it’s a very good idea to say the kind of stuff that you are saying at a Lakers fan site, in the same way that my cruising over to Celtics Blog and bagging on Rondo would not be a good idea.
david h says
once upon a time, in a laker kingdom, far, far away, we had a general manager by the name of Jerry West. Jerry West had an assistant general manager by the name of Mitch Kupchak; who we all know very well is current general manager of the los angeles lakers.
i say it’s about time, as general manager, Mitch Kupchak and Jim buss and whoever else is part of the brain trust for the los angels lakers consider hiring an assistant general manager. my vote; as if, would be James Ager Worthy:
James Ager Worthy (born February 27, 1961) is a retired American professional basketball player and current basketball commentator, television host, and analyst. Named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, “Big Game James” was a seven-time NBA All-Star, a three-time NBA champion and the 1988 NBA Finals MVP . A standout for the North Carolina Tar Heels, the 6 ft 9 in (2.05 m) small forward was the MOP of the 1982 NCAA Tournament and #1 pick of the 1982 NBA Draft. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Worthy was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, where his 21.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game during his senior season led an Ashbrook High team to the state championship game. A high school All-American, he was also selected to play in the 1979 McDonald’s All-American game that featured future Naismith Hall of Famers Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins and Ralph Sampson.
Just do it!!
David H – The assistant GM position is an awesome suggestion. I like it very much.
I wonder if Phil would be interested…. hehehehehe.
Darius Soriano says
David and Manny,
I hate to burst your bubble, but the Lakers already have an assistant GM: http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/120531_glenncarraro.html
david h says
thx darius; definitely bubble bursted. especially like the expresssion on kupchak’s face……if a picture is worth a thousand words…..
i read the article and still begs the question, who’s glenn carraro? i’m sure he’s got his heart in the right place.
With Worthy, i contend, laker nation would live happily ever after, even as an assistant to the assistant.
Go Lakers !
rr..etc.. Iam a Laker fan longer then most here(since the 60’s) I do respect Kobe as a player..I respect his hard work….I just have trouble with some of the things that he has said….and done.Iam old school….I dont believe in saying “Its my team”…I dont like the idea that he puts himself in the games without the coach’s blessings….Iam not in the minority on not liking his selfish ways. All I said was..it will be interesting if Kobe takes less money or not…All he had to say was…”Too early to be talking salaries” but instead made a statement that made it seem to contradict what he claims to be about…Kobe is going to need to learn at some point he will not be able to dominate the ball…If he can become a different player as he ages..he could play another 5 years…Read Nash’s quotes and you will understand the “Kobe” problem…
Your post is a textbook example of why people who are extremely emotional about Kobe on both sides should generally avoid trying to analyze his career.
The Lakers were 9th in O last year–not as good as many thought or hoped, but good.
However, they were 20th in D and only got that high because Howard’s back improved late. So, the real Kobe Problem was that he roamed and dogged it too much on defense and can’t stay in front of his man anymore. I criticized him for this, and backed up others, including Darius, when they did as well. And, while Nash doesn’t have the first problem, he certainly has the second one…big time. If Nash wants to talk about something that is wrong with the team, he should start with the perimeter D.
Would the Lakers O have been better if Kobe had shot less? Maybe. But it is also up to Nash as the PG and MDA as the coach to tell him that. And in any case, the Lakers had trouble last year mostly because their D was lousy overall, they had a lot of injuries and old guys, and they couldn’t defend in transition or disrupt on the edge.
So, like with most problems, the Lakers have Team Problems. Kobe is part of some of those problems. But the hyperfocus on him is a weak approach to talking about the team.
This thread appears to have 2 main themes – Kobe and Jim Buss. Very interesting for me because I have strong opinions on both : ) That said – when people bash Kobe, I generally do not say much directly to them. If I think they have facts wrong I will, but usually if it is just a general dislike of Kobe, I would only respond with a pro-Kobe statement. Perhaps even a Kobe Alert : ) What I do not do is make excuses for Kobe. For two reasons: One he is above that and the easiest way to rebut any criticism is with positive facts and accolades. Second, the legitimate criticisms there are – have “some” truth to them. He can be hard to coach (the greatest coach of all time called him “un-coachable”). He can be hard to play with as both Shaq and Dwight have implied. So – again – I do not argue those points. I simply state positive things about Kobe.
Now let’s flip over to Jim Buss (and MD could apply here as well). I play the role of the skeptic on those subjects. I think there are some clear reasons and facts to back up my position. MD’s recent track record is not good (here or in NY), he has never been to the Finals, and has missed the playoffs entirely in 5 of 11 years. The two years Jim has been in charge have also not been good. Jim is 0-1 on big free agents, 0-2 on coaching decisions, and he got politically screwed by the commissioner with the VETO (his big accomplishment). That is quite the resume. Let’s not even go into the “education and experience” section. I would love it if someone wrote positive facts about either guy, because that would mean there are positive things to say. Rather what I always see is simply things like: “give him a chance” (5 years is more than a chance), “he is not that bad”, “he is still learning”, “it doesn’t matter because we are stuck with him”. Well at least in D’Antoni’s case he dresses well (just wanted to close on a positive note).
MannyP: Guilty as charged ! Why would I include quotes that do not support my position? : )
CraigW: The Lakers are my team. They are mine. They do not belong to Jim Buss. He is just renting them. The fact that I have the same power over decisions as Jeanie Buss has, does not diminish the fact that they are mine ! : )
david h: “rule #1: laker fans are number one” Indeed
david h again : “but the missing ingredient in jim buss appears to be he lacks his father’s touch” Yes – indeed again – I have always said that I could have played in the NBA – if only I had Kobe’s touch.
Darius – How about, “Senior Consultant and Assistant to the Assistant of the General Manager”? Or maybe just “Jeannie’s Other Half”?