Lakers’ Jeanie Buss Reveals Why She Didn’t Want Phil Jackson to Coach Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal

Published 11/05/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA APRIL 24, 2010–Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has a few words with Kobe Bryant in Game 4 of the Western Conference Playoffs in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


NBA fans generally consider Kobe Bryant as one of the all-time great NBA legends. Los Angeles Lakers fans worship Kobe because of the success that he brought to the franchise. Kobe led the Lakers successfully alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone, Gary Payton. The Lakers hired Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson to guide this team of NBA legends.

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Jeanie Buss, the owner of the Lakers, recently disclosed her initial thoughts on her father Jerry Buss, hiring Phil Jackson as head coach to train Kobe and O’Neal. She took over from her father as the president after he passed away in 2013.

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Buss said, “Phil sat out that year and my dad made the decision that he wanted Phil Jackson as the coach. And then he told me he was going to pursue Phil, and I begged him not to. And only because I felt Shaq was the star. You had Kobe, winning the Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie and coming into his own.”

She justified her reasoning, saying, “Why would you want to bring in another big personality? Wouldn’t it be better to have a coach that would be low-key and let the stars be the stars? But my dad said, he goes, “I have to win a championship with this team.” And when he met with him and signed Phil to a five-year deal, you can literally see me at the press conference. There is some footage of me; I’m literally rolling my eyes”

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Kobe Bryant and his talismanic accomplishments with the Lakers

Kobe Bryant picked up a lot of individual feats while also helping the Lakers triumph as a team. The “Black Mamba” won five NBA championships with the Lakers with three of them between 2000 to 2002. The former Lakers talisman tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

DENVER, CO. MAY 25, 2009––Lakers head coach Phil Jackson talks with Kobe Bryant in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in Denver Monday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Kobe played a decisive role in the 2009 and 2010 championship Finals with the NBA naming him the Finals MVP in both those seasons. The 2008 NBA MVP spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers. The Lakers retired his jersey numbers; No. 8 and No. 24 will never be worn again in purple and gold.

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Shalom Saldanha

132 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the 'Greek Freak'.

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