Why LA Lakers Rebuild Around Kobe Bryant Will Define Jim Buss’ Legacy

Jim Buss isn't his father. And that's fine. He doesn't need to be. It's preferred that he doesn't spend his days with the Los Angeles Lakers cowering in the shadows of Dr. Jerry Buss. He should make his own name instead.

Building his own reputation will begin much like Dr. Buss' reign ended—with Kobe Bryant.

What happens between now and the Black Mamba's exodus will forever shape how the son of a franchise-building mogul is perceived. Buss hasn't done enough to warrant our unique praise, and what he has done leaves much to be desired.

Under his watch, Purple and Gold passed on Phil Jackson in favor of Mike D'Antoni. A $100 million product barely made the playoffs. And the Lakers couldn't convince Dwight Howard to stay in Los Angeles, a failed mission Jeanie Buss has already admitted her father could have salvaged.

Her singular assessment is a stance many have taken to define her brother. Not as criticism for a lone decision, but as an all-encompassing sign of incompetence. Nepotism put Buss in charge. Not skill. Placing him at the helm is one of the (very) few makes Dr. Buss ever made. That's what some are saying.

"If he didn't think I was capable of doing this, I guarantee he wouldn't have put me here," Buss said of his father, as quoted by ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne. "He would have arranged something else."

The time has come for him to prove it, to prove Dr. Buss right and any existing skeptics wrong.


Life After Dr. Buss

Los Angeles hasn't moved on from its previous pioneer. Not really.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Buss was a safety net. The Lakers were never rebuilding. Even in a losing season, we all knew a return to prominence was just around the corner.

To a point, the Lakers are still functioning under that same guise. It's just assumed that they'll right this ship—in ...

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