Jeanie Buss Reflects on Kobe Bryant in Cryptic Tweet: 'He Understood Team over Self'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 4, 2022

EL SEGUNDO, CA - September 20: Jeanie Buss, CEO / Governor / Co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, holds a new Lakers jersey as the Lakers host a 2021-2022 season kick-off event to unveil and announce a new global marketing partnership with Bibigo, which will appear on the Lakers jersey at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers governor Jeanie Buss reflected on Kobe Bryant's legacy Sunday while potentially sending a coded message about the franchise's machinations behind the scenes.

"I miss KB. He would understand and explain everything that I’m not allowed to," Buss tweeted. "Honestly he was the greatest Laker ever. He understood team over self."

Jeanie Buss @JeanieBuss

I miss KB. He would understand and explain everything that I’m not allowed to. Honestly he was the greatest Laker ever. He understood team over self. Meaning your rewards would come if you valued team goals over your own then everything would fall into place. All can reply.

Some will inevitably take issue with Buss' belief that Bryant "understood team over self."

Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal famously didn't get along as teammates, and O'Neal eventually requested a trade. Bryant also briefly pushed for an exit himself before backtracking, and he considered signing with the Los Angeles Clippers at one point.

More than anything, though, many will wonder what Buss is "not allowed" to say and if it has something to do with a certain 18-time All-Star and four-time MVP.

LeBron James will be a free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season, and he doesn't appear to be in a hurry to sign an extension.

Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus reported June 13 that people outside the Lakers "do not expect the team to get clarity from James ahead of the draft and free agency."

During an appearance on Get Up on June 30, ESPN's Brian Windhorst added that James is "just going to be a spectator for the next six weeks and see what the Lakers are able to do." He explained how that was "not necessarily a vote of no confidence in the Lakers" but more about ensuring LeBron and the Lakers have maximum flexibility.

Getting a firm commitment from James would help the Lakers' long-term planning. Otherwise, they may further hamstring their future by making moves to win now, only for LeBron to leave in a year.

Of course, Buss might have had a different intended target, though it's tough to see what issue she might have with Russell Westbrook or Anthony Davis. Maybe she's frustrated with general manager Rob Pelinka, who as Bryant's former agent might have received criticism differently compared to when it's coming from the team governor.

Perhaps there wasn't any subtext to Buss' post.

But the timing is odd since the Lakers are in the midst of free agency and reportedly working on a trade for Kyrie Irving.

As much as the Kevin Durant saga has gripped the NBA world, the Lakers are still capable of creating drama like no other team in the league.