Phil Jackson on Jim Buss: He 'vaulted into position through his inheritance'

Jim Buss with his late father Jerry Buss in 2011. (Getty)
Jim Buss with his late father Jerry Buss in 2011. (Getty)

Phil Jackson and Lakers basketball boss Jim Buss clashed a lot over the last few years. Buss gradually took over a larger and larger control of basketball operations as his father got older before he passed away last year. In that time, he made more roster decisions, and was widely reported to be the driving force behind the decision to "let Phil Jackson retire" in 2011. Buss wiped the organization clean of all Jackson influence after that. 

When the plan after Jackson failed to net results, Jackson was considered for the open position to return. But instead, Buss called Jackson in the middle of the night to tell him he'd hired Mike D'Antoni, which didn't go over well with the Hall of Fame coach or the fans. (Or Magic Johnson. Or Buss' sister and Jackson's then-girlfriend-now-fiancée Jeanie Buss. Or..)

So yeah, things have been a little awkward. At a festival Q&A over the weekend, Jackson was asked about Buss, and in peak Zen Master, Jackson threw shade in the most oblique way possible. 

On Lakers executive Jim Buss: “Jimmy Buss is a person that’s vaulted into position through his inheritance, his father’s position,” Jackson said. “I think he’s coming to terms with one of the realities of this job. That’s all I can offer.”

via Phil takes playful shot at Spike Lee - Knicks Blog - ESPN New York.


Those are all factual statements. He did reach his position by virtue of his inheritance. He is coming to terms with the realities of the job (after the 2012 super team fell apart in the most amazing way possible). 

But... I mean... that's cold. That's effectively saying "This guy didn't earn his position or power, he's not his father, and now he's finding out why he should have listened to me." 

The Lakers are expected to struggle for the second straight season this year, and are widely expected not to make the playoffs. The Knicks are widely considered a coin flip for the 8th seed in the East. 

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