Kobe Bryant used Daenerys Targaryen’s story to push Jeanie Buss into cleaning house
Before the Los Angeles Lakers ascended into prominence with the signing of LeBron James, an undecided owner Jeanie Buss sought the advice of a recently-retired Kobe Bryant, who used alliteration from the famed HBO series Game of Thrones to inspire her into making one of the most pivotal decisions during his stint with the franchise.
Bryant, ever the Yoda-like wise owl of the NBA, wanted Buss to acquire James, but knew he wouldn’t come until he saw a complete change of direction organizationally, a move that would require swift, but stern action from the lady in charge.
The Black Mamba brought up a comparison to Daenerys Targaryen, the legendary queen that controls dragons and played a vital part in the demise of her own brother during her rise to the throne.
Like Targaryen, Buss would have to get rid of her hapless brother Jim, along with longtime Lakers shot-caller Mitch Kupchak, relieving them of their duties after years of failure costed them several postseason trips and the glory they once had as a signature franchise.
Bryant, whose story-telling rivals only his manically-competitive style of play, noted the ruthless decision Jeanie Buss had to make before taking a stab at reeling in James.
“At some point, the mother of dragons just has to accept the fact that she has three big-ass dragons,” Bryant told Sam Amick of The Athletic, comparing Buss’ situation to Targaryen’s in Game of Thrones. “Jeanie has always been reluctant to take the reins. I think she was very concerned or conscious about respecting her father’s wishes, of how responsibility of the team management would divvy up, and I could tell it had always been something that was kind of hamstringing her a little bit.”
So Bryant told her, “Cut it all out at once. I know it’s hard to do, but if you want to turn this ship around, and turn it around sooner rather than later, then you’ve got to make those hard decisions.”
Buss would shake the NBA by firing her own brother and waving goodbye to Kupchak, shortly replacing them with longtime icon Magic Johnson, one of the most revered players in franchise history and Bryant’s former agent Rob Pelinka.
The move stirred controversy, but had a clear plan of attack — grow through youth and seek out another star to take over Bryant’s mantle — an opportunity that ultimately appealed to James, now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.