The Los Angeles Lakers is one of the most historic franchises in sports history. With close to 76 years of histry, the team has played home to some of the greats like, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson and more.
It’s favorable location aside, there are many reasons why the Lakers are an attractive prospect for any baller. A particular one being the way they treat their superstar players.
Just ask Shaquille O’Neal. Diesel was given first-class treatment for quite a while, and then he got to see Dr. Jerry Buss do the same for the Black Mamba.
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Shaq once saw Lakers owner Jerry Buss give Kobe Bryant preferential treatment by forcing the coach to put him back in the game
For eight seasons, Shaquille O’Neal was the king of LA. The Lakers was his team and he was the shot caller on the roster. However, as time went on, even he could tell that the power dynamics were changing, particularly in favor of Kobe Bryant.
Shaq’s first sign was, as he described in Shaq Uncut, the time when he saw the Black Mamba receive preferential treatment from team owner Jerry Buss. How? Well, Buss once forced then-coach Del Harris to give Kobe more game time.
“One of Buss’s cronies would come up in the middle of the game and tap Del on the shoulder. He’d tell Del, ‘Put the kid back in the game.’ I never knew what the guy’s name was, but there he was, always lurking around our bench, talking to our coach while we were trying to beat San Antonio,” as per O’Neal’s autobiography Shaq Uncut.
Longtime Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss passed away today at 5:55am after a long illness. He was 80. #RIPDrBuss pic.twitter.com/WABLd1Gb
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 18, 2013
Buss truly was a heck of an owner and changed the game of basketball. As he prioritized his superstars over anything else.
Buss’ decision to support Kobe led to the Lakers winning their 15th and 16th NBA Championships
Jerry Buss’ decision to back Kobe Bryant was the right choice. The Black Mamba is perhaps the greatest Laker in NBA history and was key in bringing in the purple and gold’s 15th and 16th NBA titles in 2009 and 2010 consecutively.
#OTD in 2010: @Lakers win their 16th NBA championship w/ an 83-79 win in Game 7 over the Celtics.
It was Kobe Bryant’s fifth & final title. pic.twitter.com/52z4SJX4SL
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 17, 2017
Safe to say, that given how things panned out, the Lakers have no regrets about their decision to support their superstars and will likely continue to do the same for years to come.
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