The city of Los Angeles lost one of its best champions. The NBA lost one of its greatest owners. The sports world lost a giant. With the passing of Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, following the heels of the NBA All-Star game, the basketball world lost its front man in style, substance and success. No other owner in NBA history can boast what Buss has done and what he has meant to the league’s graduation to must-see television.
Buss not only brought championship banners to the Staples Center, he brought Hollywood down to a front row seat of glamour and pizzazz. Since Hollywood is the land of stars, Buss made sure through the Lakers would personify the magnetic aura of celebrities, stars and showmanship. When took over the Lakers after purchased the team from Jack Kent Cooke, he wanted to give Los Angeles’ fans bang for their buck.
The fans have gotten more than their money’s worth as the Lakers have won 10 NBA titles under the watch of Buss, bringing the franchise’s number of league titles to 16. No other owner could make that boast. More than winning titles, though, Buss and the Lakers changed the way fans around the world viewed professional basketball, bringing the electric “Showtime” era to the then named Great Western Forum with Earvin “Magic” Johnson orchestrating his high-flying, speed-to-burn choir with charismatic flair.
Just about everything the Lakers did and looked reflected the City of Angeles. More importantly, the Lakers took o the persona and image of Buss. Dr. Buss didn’t do boring. He wanted excitement. He liked his teams to be exciting. He wanted to win but he wanted them to look good dong it. The Lakers became the eye-candy of the NBA under Buss.
When you think about the Lakers, you think about the beautiful and dazzling Laker Girls. You think about the GQ-looking coach in Pat Riley. You think about Johnson waving his wand and leading the Lakers to nine NBA appearances in a decade, winning five championships along the way. You think about The Logo Jerry West making the right moves as general manger to keep the team one step of the rest of the league.
You have to think about the vision of Buss to move the team from the antiquated Inglewood-housed Forum to downtown Los Angeles, where the hub of the city has been immensely revitalized is a featured attraction for large-scale Hollywood events such as the Grammys, Espy’s and other high-tier events. When you think about the Lakers you think world-class organization, from management to the players and all the way down to the hourly employees.
Buss was a risk-taker. He didn’t believe in standing pat, which is probably the biggest reason why the Lakers have always maintained a standard of greatness. He went after Phil Jackson and was able to land the Zen Master, who led the Lakers to their last five NBA titles.
Buss didn’t want ugly ball. He wanted glitz with gamesmanship. He wanted players that represented the Purple and Gold to embody high-character off the court as well as entertaining fans with their basketball wizardry on it. Thanks to Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers have become a model franchise for others to follow. Outside of Staples center there are statues of Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn, boxer Oscar De La Hoya and hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.
You can be sure that the likeness of Buss will soon be on display as well.
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. A news and sports reporter, Dennis has written about social justice, civil rights, education, politics, and crime. He also covers the NFL, NBA, MLB as well as other sports. Based in Southern California, Dennis earned a journalism degree with a minor in criminal justice from Howard University. The real HU!!