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Lakers return $4.6M received from small-business program

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss

EL SEGUNDO, CA - JULY 13: Jeanie Buss upstairs before presentation of Anthony Davis as new player of Los Angeles Lakers on July 13, 2019, at UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, CA.(Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Lakers are estimated to be worth $4.4 billion. They are among the NBA’s highest-revenue teams. They have access to the league’s $1.2 billion credit line.

They also received $4.6 million from a program ostensibly meant to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

The Los Angeles Lakers have returned approximately $4.6 million that they received from a federal government program intended to help small businesses weather the economic burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the team said in a statement to ESPN on Monday.
“The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program,” the Lakers said in a statement to ESPN. “Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

Are the Lakers – owned by Jeannie Buss – benevolent for returning the money or conniving for applying in the first place? That’s in the eye of the beholder. The Lakers are a business. They’re also a business built on developing a strong connection with fans, something seen as deeper than transactional.

But it’s clear the Payroll Protection Program is rife with issues.