“They would’ve probably had a better relationship if my dad hadn’t been sick,” Jeanie Buss said in a wide-ranging interview with hosts Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson on ESPNLA 710 Thursday. “When it came time to try to convince Dwight to stay, we lost the best closer in the business in Dr. Buss.
“Putting up the billboard maybe wasn’t the right thing. But we maybe have to learn to do things differently because Dr. Buss isn’t here anymore. People said [of the billboards], ‘Oh, that’s not the Laker way.’ Well, the Laker way isn’t the same, because Dr. Buss isn’t here.”
For most Lakers fans, the key discussion point this summer was billboards. In many ways, these gigantic advertisements have become a dinosaur of the marketing hemisphere. As the world moves deeper into an interactive age, billboards have become digitized, randomized and monetized for maximum possible consumer interface and of course, maximum possible profit. The peel and paste posters of yesterday are increasingly becoming relics of a technological age we no longer live in. In this way, it’s fitting that the Lakers fans would be so up in arms about something with an ideology that’s no longer relevant.
Still, the debate in LA raged on. How could the Lakers–the Lakers–be reduced to begging a superstar player to stay in Los Angeles? For decades, men have sold out on entire cities, walked out on friends and left behind millions of dollars to play for teams much worse than this current incarnation of the Lakers. This franchise typically doesn’t have to go to any tremendous lengths to try and sign (or re-sign) any player, regardless of his skill level. It’s been the place where NBAers have longed to land, in pursuit of wealth, fame and of course, championships.
And for the rest of the summer, Lakers fans everywhere have raged about how the organization could seemingly have forgotten who they were. Even before their former All-Star center left to join the Houston Rockets, the fan base lamented how their favorite team seemingly threw itself at the foot of a singular player. The whole episode seemed to betray the notion of who the Lakers had been for the past 33 years under stewardship of the Buss family. But rather than turn their confusion upon the team, a curious thing happened: the Lakers fans turned their resentment towards the free agent.
(Read on at Silver Screen and Roll)