Possibly the most well-known franchise owner in NBA history is Dr. Jerry Buss. The Los Angeles Lakers’ owner since Jack Kent Cooke in 1979, “The Owner who Made the NBA Cool Again,” devoted his life to the organization. In his first year, he selected Magic Johnson, and in 1996, he traded for Kobe Bryant, which were the two main factors that aided him in doing it.
The Lakers had fallen into mediocrity in the 1990s after selecting Magic early in the draught and establishing the franchise for success. Even though the team signed Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent, they weren’t yet prepared to compete.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded for Kobe Bryant the night of the 1996 NBA Draft. Getting Kobe wasn’t a surefire way to win, though. But Buss trusted Jerry West’s counsel and authorized the lottery draught of the young adolescent from Lower Merrion High School.
More than anybody else, Jerry Buss changed basketball as a sport. The late Lakers owner is acknowledged by Jerry West for his contribution to the NBA. The youngster went on to become the NBA’s mascot and a purple-and-gold legend. This undoubtedly gave the owner who selected him a cause for great pride and created a strong bond with the athlete.
Jerry Buss Considered Kobe Bryant his son
Even still, Buss, a father of six, continued to regard Kobe as a member of his family. Bryant, a native talent, served as the Laker franchise’s blue-eyed boy for a full two decades. The owner was obviously a fan. After all, Bryant was bringing truckloads of fans to the LA franchise.
Under Buss’s ownership, 5 of the franchise’s rings bore the Mamba’s imprint all over them. Bryant was the main draw in Los Angeles during his career and retired as probably the best Laker of all time. And Jerry Buss doesn’t appear to have been surprised by it.
“Kobe Bryant was unique, that much is true. Buss said he was his son and vowed never to exchange the lifelong Laker. He predicted that Kobe will eventually reach a level that perhaps only two or three players have ever attained. Buss stated of his budding star early in Bryant’s career, “And I want to be around to watch him when he hits his peak, which is still many years away.
Even in Kobe’s early career, it was obvious that he had the talent West had praised. However, it would seem that he had the support of his owner before also becoming “The guy”. When the time came to pick a side on Bryant, Buss also maintained his word. Shaq and Kobe’s relationship broke broken at that point, and they decided not to coexist.
Why did the Lakers have to pick between Kobe and Shaq?
It was forbidden to trade the Mamba under any circumstances. And it’s obvious that not even a Shaq-sized problem was alluring enough.
After a demoralizing loss to the Detroit Pistons in 2004, the Lakers made the decision that enough was enough. Success kept Bryant and Shaq together even if they hadn’t been getting along. It would seem that the management team’s breaking point came after a 4-1 loss to Detroit.
The significant problem then surfaced. What generational superstar should they center their star duo around? However, the management was highly confident in their choice for the future. Kobe was destined to win.
The decision initially seemed ambiguous, but as Shaq added another ring to his collection, the tide did turn. Bryant solidified his status as a Laker legend by winning the championship on two further occasions. A win-win situation if there ever was one, Buss was validated and allowed to keep his word.