Courts to Determine Lakers’ Fate in Buss Siblings’ Battle

Jeanie Buss of the Lakers (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

The children of late Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss brought their battle over the team into the public spotlight when controlling owner Jeanie Buss moved for a restraining order against her two brothers last Friday.

Family trusts for the three siblings — Jeanie, Jim and Johnny — make up 66 percent of the team’s ownership, according to the Los Angeles Times. That allows election of three of the team’s five board members. In late February, Jeanie replaced her brother Jim with Magic Johnson in the position of the team’s vice president of basketball operations. Three days later, brother Johnny gave Jeanie notice that there would be a March 7 Board of Directors election meeting.

The brother promoted four names as potential board members, according to court documents cited in the report. None of the four was Jeanie. Jeanie’s role as controlling owner requires her to hold a position on the board. The Times reported, “The trusts mandate the co-trustees — Johnny, Jim and Jeanie — take all actions to ensure Jeanie Buss remains controlling owner of the Lakers. She has occupied the role since their father, Jerry Buss, died in 2013.”


Court filings indicate the Buss family could lose control of the team if Jeanie Buss does not retain the position of controlling owner.

The motion for temporary restraining order was withdrawn Friday and a judge set a trial date of May 15.

The Lakers have performed poorly over the last several seasons, despite a roster of veteran all-stars. They last won the NBA championship in 2010, and fell short in 2011 after being swept in the Western Conference semi-finals by the eventual winners, the Dallas Mavericks.

The team’s base has been frustrated, creating a new local opportunity for the vastly improved Los Angeles Clippers, despite that team’s own ownership challenges in recent years.

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