Jerry Buss Remembered

On February 27, 2013, in Sporting News, by Buddy TB

Dr Jerry BussOne of the good guys has left us.

One of the true heroes of professional sports is gone.

Dr. Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, has passed away at the age of 80.  He left behind a legacy that few, if any, professional team owners will ever match.  He took the Lakers from a normal, everyday professional basketball team and transformed them into one of the most exciting..and the most marketable….teams in pro sports today.

Dr. Buss was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. During his 33 year tenure as owner of the Lakers, they won 10 NBA titles.  No other NBA team has done that. His daughter Jeanie Buss has taken over the leadership of the Lakers on the business side and his son Jim will manage the basketball end of things.  Players and fans in Los Angeles are hopeful that the Lakers will remain in the hands of the Buss family where they have enjoyed so much success.

Jerry Buss was known for developing close relationships with his players and coaches.  When Magic Johnson came out to Los Angeles from Michigan, Buss became a father figure to him and introduced Johnson to places and people that took him way beyond anything offered in the mid west.  Hockey games, horse races, track meets….you name it.  If Ervin was in the least bit curious, Mr. Buss rounded up tickets and away they went.

Kobe Bryant came to the Lakers when he was only 17 years old and developed a relationship with Jerry Buss that remains strong even in death.  Kobe has never really considered leaving the Lakers for another team and Mr. Buss had to have been one of the major reasons for that.  Kobe told the press at the NBA All Star game…just prior to Buss’ death…..”He’s meant everything to me in my career in terms of taking a risk on a 17 year old kid coming out of high school and then believing in me my entire career.  And then for the game itself, the brand of basketball that he implemented in Showtime carried the league”.

When Buss purchased the Lakers way back in 1979, the team was estimated to be worth around $16,000,000. In a recent Forbes article, the Los Angeles Lakers were valued at over a billion dollars.  That is what is called making good on an investment.

Rest in Peace Dr. Buss.

 

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