Team Owner: Buss Family
President of Basketball Operations: Jeanie Buss
Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations: Jim Buss
General Manager: Mitch Kupchak
Vice President: Magic Johnson
The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most recognizable sports organizations in the world and the Buss family is a vital reason as to why. In 1979, Gerald Hatten “Jerry” Buss purchased the Lakers and ignited the franchise into history as he drafted future hall-of-famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, with the #1 pick soon after. But, I cannot give Buss all the credit.
Former Lakers guard and then general manager, Jerry West, had an eye for talent, hence his position as general manager. Buss, along with West, went on to draft James Worthy, Nick Van Exel, Vlade Divac, who would be traded in 1996 for Kobe Bryant (thank God), Derek Fisher and Luke Walton, the Lakers newly hired head coach. Did I mention the players they signed in free agency? Brian Shaw, Rick Fox, Gary Payton, Karl Malone and Shaquille O’ Neal. Everyone listed above, besides Payton and Malone, won a ring with the Lakers (I still am not sure how the Lakers lost in 2004 with Malone, Payton, Shaq, Kobe). But, that is another story.
In addition to on-court talent, the Lakers hired legendary coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson who played a tremendous role in the team’s success. Riley brought four championships to the franchise and Jackson added five more including a three-peat from 2000-2002.
34 years as the owner of the Lakers and ten championships to show for it. After Buss’ passing in 2013, his children, Jim and Jeanie, took full ownership of one of the greatest franchises known to sports. Yes, players play the game, win games and draw the, “Oohs,” and, “Ahhs,” from the crowd, but, a team’s front office is just as important as its players, and for the Lakers, their front office is second to none.