Acclaimed author Roland Lazenby, who wrote probably the two best books about the Lakers ever published, recently blogged of concern Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss had about 75-year-old Lakers Owner Jerry Buss.
As for those teen-aged girls, Buss has long dated hundreds of them, usually only once or twice each, and then collected their photos in albums. He has not been above boasting about his conquests to some media and associates.
Buss and his elderly friends gather in his owner’s box at Lakers games with their young dates, a sight that’s increasingly hard for Jeanie Buss, the owner’s daughter and Phil Jackson’s girlfriend, to stomach.
One Lakers insider contends that only in Los Angeles could a team owner get away with such antics and basically get a free pass by the media.
Informed fans in this town have always known about the Hefner-esque lifestyle of Jerry Buss, which is particularly disturbing for some as he entertains his anonymous teenie du jour in the owner’s box during Lakers games.
Though I’d never heard the creepy part about Buss collecting “their photos in an album.”
While it isn’t hard to imagine that Jeanie and Phil are turned off by an elderly man
seducing hosting barely legal girls at his place of business, their concern could also be viewed as ironic and perhaps even a little absurd.
Almost as strange as Buss’ penchant for young girls is the 65-year-old Jackson dating Jeanie Buss, the 38-year-old daughter of club owner Jerry.
(He’s 65 and the coach. She’s 38 and runs the team.)
As Lazenby knows, there’s also plenty of people concerned about how that relationship could affect the franchise.
Remember this is also the same Jeanie Buss who posed nude for Playboy inside the former home of the Lakers, the Forum, and still displays one of the pics from that nude pictorial on her Twitter page.
(She modeled nude inside Lakers home arena, displays pic on Twitter page)
She also oversees the business side of the franchise. Mostly likely that’s a touch bizarre to the unaware among you.
Not a stretch to say that many knowledgeable Lakers observers chuckled when they read about Phil and Jeanie judging Jerry’s alt-lifestyle.
Lazenby’s contention that Los Angeles is the only market where Jerry Buss could get away with that behavior is also, in my humble opinion, incorrect. Yes, the media here is extremely laissez-faire, but why couldn’t Buss get away with the same thing if he owned a team like Miami? For all I know, his behavior would be embraced.
When you’re in the position Jerry Buss is in, societal rules don’t apply to you. You can do things in public that would ordinarily be regarded as asinine because our culture values celebrity over all else. Hugh Hefner is regarded as a hero to many men, though in reality he’s a lecher living in a home that doubles as a brothel.
There’s something in our DNA that causes most of us to reflexively fawn over celebrities. The best example I can give about the allure of fame is that in most cases, it is more powerful to people than money.
Take the nightclub Mansion on South Beach Super Bowl week. If a bouncer sees me (offering $1,000 cash) standing next to a perishable celeb like Snooki from Jersey Shore behind the velvet rope at the same time, who do you think is going to get in first?
If you don’t know the answer, you’ve never tried to get into a hot club.
The vast majority of seemingly normal individuals turn off their brains when they see or deal with someone who is famous. So to say that Jerry Buss couldn’t get away with that behavior anywhere, including a mosque in Mecca, is to be detached from what matters most to the majority of us.