Tribute to Jerry Buss
Long time Lakers owner Jerry Buss died early Monday morning (February 18, 2013) from an undisclosed form of cancer.
Buss was arguably the greatest owner in sports, and certainly the greatest history in the NBA. In 1979 Jerry Buss bought the LA Kings NHL franchise, The Forum, and the LA Lakers for 67.5 million dollars from Jack Kent Cooke. Buss would quickly sell the Kings and beginning building the Lakers into an NBA powerhouse. In 1999 Jerry Buss moved the team to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, where we know the team today. Buss also brought the WNBA to LA with the Sparks and saw them win two championships before selling the team in 2006. Buss also owned a tennis team (Los Angeles Strings) and a soccer team (Los Angeles Lazers).
In his 33 years with the team Buss has unparalleled success. Eighteen division titles, sixteen NBA Finals appearances, and ten NBA championships. He brought big names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles, not to mention bringing Phil Jackson to the City of Angels.
Jerry Buss was not only great for LA, but great for the NBA. Every league needs a marquee team that everyone loves or loves to hate. The NFL has the Cowboys, Major League Baseball has the Yankees, and the NBA has the Lakers thanks to Dr. Jerry Buss.
Without Jerry Buss we may never have the Larry Bird, Magic Johnson rivalry. We would definitely never have had the fortune of seeing Shaq and Kobe dominate the league. Jerry Buss has brought the Lakers (16) to within one championship of tying the Celtics (17) for most all time. When Buss bought the team in 1979 the Lakers only had six titles, and the Celtics had thirteen and were far and away the best franchise in basketball. Jerry Buss has made the Lakers THE destination for players in the NBA and the best show in Hollywood. The city of Los Angeles is now and will always be a Lakers city because of Jerry Buss. Recently the Lakers have struggled and some have questioned if the Clippers can take over the city, but realistically they aren’t even close to surpassing their purple and gold neighbors and will always be the red (and blue) headed step child. The city of LA and the NBA owe a great debt to Jerry Buss and we should all be thankful for everything he has done for the league. Even if you love to hate the Lakers, without Jerry Buss you would never have the opportunity to chant beat LA, because beating LA wouldn’t mean what it means today.
Jerry Buss’ legacy will always be that his players have always loved to play for him and knew that this man would do whatever it took for the Lakers to win a championship. If Jerry Buss was running the team today I doubt that their would be any question about whether or not to stay in LA, and this team would be playing up to its full potential, because that is what Jerry Buss did, he brought the best out of everyone in the Lakers organization from the star players to the last man on the bench.
People all around the NBA have come out after news of his death, telling us how much Jerry Buss has inspired them to be who they are today.
The Lakers have gone nowhere but up under his ownership, turning a piece of a 67.5 million dollar investment into the $1 Billion franchise the Lakers are today.
Thank you Jerry Buss for everything you have done for the NBA and more!
Written By: Kyle Newton
I am a senior at USF, producer for NBC Sports Tampa Bay, and Senior Editor for 110sportztalk.com
Follow me on twitter @NewtSports for all of the days sports news, rumors, and of course jokes!