Midway through the 2016-17 season, Los Angeles Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss made the tough decision to relieve her brother, Jim Buss, of his role as general manager just a day before the NBA trade deadline. Just over a year later, Jeanie is enjoying the fruits of her labor now that the Lakers have signed LeBron James.
After years of getting turned away by some of the league’s biggest stars, Jeanie, along with team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, went out and got the biggest fish in free agency in James. While Jeanie surely got a flurry of congratulatory texts that day, it’s hard to imagine one stood out more than the one she got from Kobe Bryant.
In an interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Bryant confirmed he sent Jeanie a gif from HBO’s Game of Thrones the day after James committed to the Lakers, and explained his reasoning for doing so:
Rich Eisen: I had Jeanie Buss on my show last week, she said that you sent her a text when LeBron came to the Lakers of her as the Mother of Dragons, you sent her a Khaleesi photograph?
Kobe Bryant: I did, I did. I sent her a gif of Khaleesi riding in on thousand ships behind her with Tyrion next to her and I said ‘This is what you are.’ When I spoke to her about making a decision (to let go of Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak) I told her ‘At some point Jeanie, you have to become Khaleesi. You got to be the Mother of Dragons. You’ve got to claim what is rightfully yours and go for it.’ So I felt like that was appropriate to send her that gif (when LeBron signed).
The comparison, of course, comes from the fact that *SPOILER ALERT* Khaleesi mercilessly kills her brother on her quest for the throne. Jeanie didn’t kill Jim, but her bold move was very Khaleesi-esque. So far, it looks like it has paid off, with LeBron as the proverbial dragon to lead her newly sparkling kingdom back into battle.
However, Jeanie isn’t quite done making moves yet. Even after the Lakers signed James, she wanted to make it clear she wasn’t satisfied with just adding big name players.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” she told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times in July.
Training camp tips off in less than a month and — like the fans of Games of Thrones — we can’t wait for the new season to start, and all the plot twists and dramatic tension it’s sure to bring.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.