The Los Angeles Lakers are without a doubt one of the most iconic NBA franchises in the history of the league. There are many amazing players who contributed to making the Lakers reach this place in the eyes of fans.
But apart from the players, there was another important figure who helped the Lakers grow beyond the fans' wildest imaginations. It was none other than the former owner of the franchise, Dr. Jerry Buss. Buss bought the team back in 1979 and at the time, it was viewed as a terrible decision by many.
However, Buss was certain that he could help the Lakers reach great heights, and he did just that. During the 1980s, the Lakers ended up winning five NBA titles. But after the 'Showtime' era, the Lakers were back to struggling for a couple of seasons.
That all changed when Buss brought Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant to the team. Although it was a gamble, it helped the Lakers in winning three NBA Championships.
Shaquille O'Neal Was Shown The Door By Dr. Buss
Since Shaq was the primary reason why the Lakers won those three rings, it was clear that Dr. Buss wanted to keep O'Neal happy. Unfortunately, in 2004, Jerry Buss had to make a tough call and trade Shaq because the Lakers couldn't afford his salary.
In the ongoing Lakers documentary on Hulu, Shaq revealed this and very calmly accepted Dr. Buss's decision.
Via Sports Illustrated:
"Mr. Buss called me and said, 'Hey man, I love you. Understand that you don’t want to take less money; Miami is interested.' Ok, I’ll go to Miami. Thank you, sir, cool with me …Business of basketball!"
The news of Shaq getting traded was too much to digest for many, including the then head coach of the Lakers, Phil Jackson. Jeanie Buss revealed that when Jackson questioned Dr. Buss' decision to trade O'Neal, he fired Phil as well.
That's how the Lakers' dynamic duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal was broken up. While Shaq won a ring with the Heat in 2006, the Lakers won their next two rings in 2009 and 2010.