John Black Rumors
“I think the 3-point shot has forced everybody to be versatile in the game,” he said. “Prior to the 3-point shot, as a center, I never left the paint. If I got a rebound on the defensive end, coach would say give it to the guard and go down to the offensive end and get in position for whatever play we’re going to run. “Now, people learn how to play the game differently. The young man from Milwaukee — (Giannis) Antetokounmpo, oh my goodness. He gets it off the defensive board, and he’s almost seven feet. He turns into a guard and attacks the offensive end of the court. “If I tried to do that, I would have been sitting on the bench. I would’ve been over there with John Black (Lakers former VP of public relations) keeping stats.”
Then it was time for the forward to address the rest of the assembled media — except NBA officials didn’t want that. The league thought of him as a loose cannon and didn’t know what he might say on the podium in an interview that was to be broadcast live. “They were scared to death to take him in the press conference room,” said John Black, who was then the Lakers’ vice president of public relations. “But I was like, this guy is pretty much the star of the game, he hit that huge shot, this was his moment of glory.”
“They had unprecedented and, by far, greater access than anyone else ever,” said John Black, who led the Lakers’ public relations department for 27 years, last serving as vice president. “We certainly allowed them to do everything we could within what the league would allow, and sometimes, with a wink and look-the-other-way, allowed them even more.”
On Feb. 21, 2017, Kupchak’s 92-year-old mother was visiting from New York. That morning, two days before the NBA’s trade deadline, Kupchak received the call informing him that he had been fired along with Jim Buss and John Black, the team’s longtime head of public relations. “I kind of knew that the situation was tenuous,” Kupchak said. “There was a lot going on. … It was a challenge. And nothing lasts forever, so I really was not that surprised.” Soon, he was in the car with his mother and sister, navigating the 405 Freeway toward LAX. “I had to take them to the airport like an hour after I got the phone call, so that was tough for them,” he said.
In addition to the changes made within the basketball department, the Lakers also announced they have parted ways with John Black who had been the Lakers Vice President of Public Relations. Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris will immediately begin a search for a replacement. Jeanie Buss added, “We thank John for his many years of service.”
Instead, the Lakers have benefited from taking the initiative to make their games accessible to a Latino audience, starting with broadcasting games in Spanish. “We’ve been doing that for 22 years now,” Black said. “We were the first [NBA] team to do that.”
“Kobe Bryant was fluent in Spanish, and that was popular,” Black explained. “In his press conferences, he would take questions in Spanish and Italian.” According to the NBA’s Manteiga, for the past two seasons Bryant’s jersey has been the best-selling one for the Lakers. Even now, the Lakers have players who can communicate directly to Spanish-speaking fans: Jose Calderon and Marcelo Huertas are from Spain and Brazil, respectively. “We utilize their ability to speak Spanish,” Black said.