In her new memoir, “Laker Girl,” Jeanie Buss says she was “stunned” that the the Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson as head coach.
“My first thought was, what was the rush?” writes Jeanie. “Why did they have to make a decision tonight?”
Jeanie wasn’t the only one who felt “stunned”. Like me, most Lakers fans were not only stunned but were also angered at D’Antoni’s hiring. That anger was clear when Lakers fans chanted “We Want Phil” at more than one Lakers game following D’Antoni’s hiring. Many Lakers fans–yours truly included–are still calling for D’Antoni’s firing.
Jeanie blames her brother Jim Buss for the decision to hire D’Antoni. And she’s right to do so.
“The story going around is that my dad pushed for D’Antoni because he wanted to go back to playing Showtime basketball,” writes Jeanie. “But there was only one Showtime, never to be replicated. My dad knew that.”
As a Lakers fan, it’s a relief to hear Jeanie contradict Jim’s comments about the decision to hire D’Antoni being their father’s. As I’ve already written in a separate column, it is shameful that Jim blamed this mistake—yes, hiring D’Antoni was a mistake, a big mistake — on his father, a man who was at the time lying on his deathbed.
If you’re upset with the Lakers for hiring D’Antoni (and if you’re a Lakers fan I’ll assume that you are), then you’ll probably be even more upset now that Jeanie has admitted she believes that Phil had resolved to accept the job as head coach.
The night after Jackson’s meeting with Jim and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, Jackson “put on his Lakers Hawaiian shirt, the one he had often worn during the season. It was clear…he was getting mentally ready to return to his old job.”
I commend Jeanie for expressing her feelings about the management of the Lakers. And you should too. She showed courage in confronting her brother on issues that involve the future of the Lakers organization.
Jeanie’s memoir proves that Jim lied to Lakers fans when he blamed D’Antoni’s hiring on his dying father. The memoir also validates Jim’s ineptitude as head of basketball operations for the Lakers.
Thanks to Jeanie, if the next few Lakers seasons prove as horrendous as their 2012-13 campaign, Lakers fans know who to blame.
Lucas Rubio is a columnist for RantSports.com.Follow him on Twitter @PlayerzLeague.