When Lakers legend Kobe Bryant advised Jeanie Buss to pursue LeBron James only after she got rid of the chaos surrounding the front office management.
The LA Lakers were going through a rough patch post their 2010 championship. The franchise was in a mess, especially when it came to its front office. Lakers owner Jerry Buss died in 2013, leaving behind equal shares of his 66% stake in the franchise among his six children.
However, the Buss family would face a lot of internal issues during the time. Siblings Jeanie and Jim Buss were involved in a major court battle. Nonetheless, the court’s decision went in favor of Jeanie, who would then fire her brother.
Jeanie Buss would then transform the Lakers organization that had become a laughing stock in the league. The purple and gold team didn’t make it to the post-season between 2014-19.
During the 2018-19 off-season, Jeanie decided to pursue megastar LeBron James, who was set to become a free agent at the time. It was Kobe Bryant’s advice that helped Jeanie draft a pitch to James inviting him to LA.
Kobe Bryant’s guidance to Jeanie Buss to recruit LeBron James.
There is no doubt that the LA Lakers are one of the most prestigious teams in the NBA. However, the franchise had hit a rough patch between 2013-19. The Lakers found themselves in the lottery for consecutive years.
Thus when Jeanie had complete control of the Lakers in 2017, she took the reigns of the franchise in her hands to make the team an attractive destination. Buss signed 5x NBA champion Magic Johnson as the president of the Lakers basketball operations.
Jeanie then pulled off one of the biggest moves of the last decade by signing superstar LeBron James to the LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant played a constructive role in this recruitment.
I’ll tell you, when Jeanie Buss came to me and said, ‘I really want to go after [LeBron], I said, Jeanie, he’s not coming here until you clean up this sh*t here, Bryant said, per The Undefeated. The last thing LeBron wants to do is come to an organization that has a lot of infighting, a lot of the stuff going on.
Jeanie Buss’ masterstroke of signing LeBron James proved to be successful, as the franchise would win their first NBA championship after 10-years in the 2020 Orlando Bubble. King James would win his 4th Finals MVP and establish himself as a Lakers great.