Los Angeles Lakers’ Buss Drama Just the Latest Family Upended by Business Decisions
Since longtime Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss died in 2013, the Los Angeles Lakers have been going through the bleakest chapter in their history. (This year they’ve lost 2/3 of their games… and it’s a significant improvement on the previous season.) Ultimately, Laker exec Jeanie Buss decided to make a change: she fired her big brother, Jim. Here are some occasions where the family business led to uniquely awkward future family gatherings.
So Long, Son: Darryl F. Zanuck Fires Richard. Darryl was an Oscar-winning producer and studio executive with films including All About Eve and The Longest Day. Richard followed in his footsteps, also winning Oscars and making classics including Jaws. But Richard did detour from dad’s path on one occasion, because his father fired him from Fox after Richard greenlit box office bombs like Dr. Dolittle. Richard remained sympathetic to his parent’s situation: “It was hard to see my father go through that. I recovered from being fired, I don’t think he ever did.”
Bad Moon Rising: Fogerty vs. Fogerty. It can be argued Creedence Clearwater Revival is America’s greatest rock band, and they might have produced even more classic music if not for spending as much time in court as recording. The tension was particularly intense between lead singer John Fogerty and his rhythm guitarist brother, Tom, who dropped out in 1971. (Their debut album had only come out in 1968.) While sibling band rivalries aren’t uncommon—see the Kinks and Oasis—they took it to a still unequalled level. Legal battles involving John, the rest of the band, and record labels resulted in a surreal moment when John was sued for plagiarizing one of his own songs. Tom even sued John directly, leading to such bitterness that they only started briefly speaking again before Tom’s 1990 death from AIDS. Writing about his brother 25 years later, John noted Tom’s “reasoning wasn’t based on the laws of the universe.”
Deal’s a Deal: Doug Gilmour Gets and Gives Away a Son. As general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs, in 2013 the retired NHL Hall of Fame player Doug Gilmour had the pride of drafting his 16-year-old son, Jake. Then he immediately traded him to the Niagara IceDogs. Doug later explained the move this way: “If he played in Kingston, people would say you’re only there because of your dad. I said: ‘Jake, I want you to play in a situation where you’re on your own and you make it on your own,’ and his mother agreed.”
Knicks Getting Nasty: A Family Fight. Owner Jim Dolan is a Knick with a knack for picking battles best avoided, such as disastrously sending a sexual harassment suit to trial and losing huge. Most recently, he briefly issued a Madison Square Garden ban for life on beloved former player Charles Oakley. Then again, maybe Oak should take this as a sign of affection, because Dolan’s even been involved in an epic power struggle with his own father. This proved an all too rare win for Jim, who convinced Cablevision’s directors to put the the Voom satellite business up for sale over his father’s objections.
Worst Gift Ever: Kushner Craziness. Ivanka Trump’s father-in-law’s battle with his sister’s husband took several twists that are too strange for fiction. A feud over some of the family businesses led New Jersey real estate mogul Charles Kushner to hire a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law. He also recorded it, sending the tape to his sister. He wound up going to prison for related charges and—to ensure maximum weirdness—was prosecuted by Donald Trump’s future presidential opponent, Chris Christie, all setting the stage for the worst Thanksgiving ever.
—Sean Cunningham for RealClearLife