Over three years ago, Jeanie Buss shook the Lakers front office up with the hope that a few fresh faces would lead to the team getting back to its rightful place atop of the Western Conference.
While there were definitely a few hiccups along the way, the Lakers are currently six wins away from winning their 17th title in franchise history, which would finally even the score between them and their bitter rivals, the Boston Celtics.
The job’s obviously not finished, as the late, great Kobe Bryant once said, but Buss told “Sedano & LZ” of ESPN LA 710 that she’s enjoyed being part of a winning organization again:
“I’m having such a great time watching them, you know this new coaching staff and their ability to bring out the best in every player. And watching Anthony Davis, the joy he has in playing and winning that game and being back in the playoffs. I had forgotten what that was like since it’s been seven years, which is hard to believe. And it’s been 10 years since we’ve been this far in the playoffs. So it’s brought back a lot of great memories of some great Laker teams that we’ve had over the last 20 years.”
Buss partially credits the Lakers’ success to the signing of LeBron James in 2018. When James signed his four-year, $154 million deal with the Lakers, they had just come off of a 35-win season and there wasn’t a player anywhere near James’ caliber on the roster.
Jame’s motives for signing with Los Angeles were called into question at the time, but he’s shown his commitment to the organization through his play and recruitment efforts. Buss is happy to call him part of the Lakers family:
“Having a player like LeBron is ... he makes me so proud. His work ethic, his dedication to the game, what he brings day and night is inspirational to teammates, to the staff, to the city. I couldn’t be more proud that he’s a Laker, and that he’s setting new records even at this stage of his career, and he’s just been wonderful to work with.”
Buss probably didn’t dream of James hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando when James signed with the Lakers, but a championship is a championship, and they’re as close as they’ve been in a decade because of the work everyone in the organization has done over the last three years.
Her father Dr. Jerry Buss would be proud.