Readers share their favorite memories of Lakers owner Jerry Buss
On Thursday, I asked Lakers fans to share their favorite memories of team owner Jerry Buss, who will be inducted Friday into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. I already explained how Buss set the standard for winning, but below are some more insights on what has made Buss such a great owner.
"My favorite memory of Jerry Buss was when he sided with Magic and fired Paul Westhead. He placed Chick Hearn's side kick color commentator as the new Coach, Pat Riley who got in return a Championship on autopilot coaching in 1981-82 season." -- Edwin Gueco
"My favorite thing was when he televised the games and let us watch them on cable. That really created a following for the Lakers. And of course, made my life more complete....." -- Fatty
"Best memory of Buss ... When he signed Magic to 25 year contract for 25 million. It was unheard of at the time, but Dr. Buss was showing his commitment to winning. 10 titles in 30 years is beyond comprehension. Yet his thrist for more hardware is as strong as ever as witnessed by paying excessive luxury tax to sign LO in 2009 and Fish, Blake and Shannon this summer; and agreeing to carry 14 players..Yes, Dr. Buss spends the necessary money to have a great team, but he also hires competent people and let them do their job. I also appreciate Dr. Buss because unlike a lot of big spending owners (Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban) he realizes that he's not the show - - but the players are." -- LRob
"Regarding Dr. Buss; you are the best owner in the history of the game and through your vision ensured that there will continue to be a game. You have always done right by the team and put the best players out on the court, even if it hurt your pocket book. You have brought tremendous joy to and have instilled great pride in multiple generations of fans." -- Hogan
"Congratulations Dr. Buss ... you definitely deserve to go into the NBA Hall of Fame... All your innovative ideas, commitment to winning, and aggressive spending for the best talent, has made the Lakers the best franchise in the league...As a loyal fan, I thank you for the exciting, memorable, and historic Laker moment you have provided...The Lakers are one of the bright spots in people lives, in these times of struggle..." -- LEWSTRS
"It is really difficult to write anything about Jerry Buss in such a limit paragraph. I remember seeing him here in Bakersfield Robobank for the pre-season lakers games two year in a row. You would think the owner would a least seat next to the team or court side . Wrong? He's seating at a regular seating like me and you. I approached him for an autograph and thanks him for bringing the Lakers in town. When I see him in person, I can tell right away that he put the team first in term of winning and the fans second. He is just a winner and the best owner in sport history. no doubt......God Bless you...." -- JAY WOO
"Jerry Buss' greatest achievement might just be Jeanie, who appears to have kept Phil in the fold longer than he might have otherwise." -- Rick Friedman
"Dr. Buss: thank you for your vision, unparalled excellence and creating a worldwide brand name. All of this has been done without the pomp and circumstance of Mr. Al Davis or the overbearing audacity of Mr. Steinbrenner (RIP). Dr. Buss' passion for the game of basketball has transcended all other NBA franchises with class and unwavering support. The mission remains the same today as it did more than 30 years ago, WIN! In the crazy backdrop of Hollywood glitz, glamour and $$$, you could have easily been tangled in its web. Instead you embraced it. And while there have been a couple dry spells, your steadfast guidance endured. Like the poker player you are, you take risks and know when to pounce or fold. But in the end, you strategically place pieces together to form a TEAM. It's always been about the TEAM and that is why you have such loyal fans today. Thank you Dr. Buss!!! Cheers to many more champions, banners and parades!" -- PsychedLakerGirl
"Here's the HOF speech For Dr. Buss: 'Thank you for this great honor. My remarks will be brief. A great man once said he didn't deserve the honors being bestowed on him, because in fact, "I have stood on the shoulders of giants." And so have I. Here today, I stand before you on the shoulders of Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Kobe Bryant .. .and yes, you too, Shaquille O'Neal. Together, shoulder to shoulder, you have all carried me to this place, this point on the arc of my life. If I deserve anything at all for that journey, I would be satisfied enough if even one fan of the Los Angeles Lakers said, "He did everything he could to make their burden lighter and our joy greater." Thank you. -- CornerJ
"Dr. Buss has facilitated the creation of three of the greatest Laker ... no, make that NBA teams in history. He's shown a knack for timing and recognizing when a player makes a team what it is (Magic, Shaq, and Kobe) and when a player's ego is more of a detriment than a benefit (Shaq). More than any other owner, Dr. Buss understands both basketball and the business of basketball and is able to balance when to keep a team together just to keep the money coming in, and when to blow a team up to ensure that titles will roll in." -- Jolly Rancher
"Dr. Buss - I love you. You have always had the audacity to win. You did whatever it took to keep the parades moving down Figueroa, and the Larry O here in LA where it belongs. As a true Lakerholic, I am forever in your debt. Thank you and congratulations!" -- justanothermambafan
"Dr. Buss deserves a place not only in LAKERS-lore, but also NBA-lore. It has been universally reported for decades now how the Lakers-Celtics/Magic-Bird rivalry revived, if not saved, the NBA back in the '80's. But credit to Buss is much more deserved here than what most reporters ever mention.
It was LAKERS SHOWTIME that really was the catalyst for the NBA revival, moving the spotlight away from drug scandals (Phoenix traded almost their entire TEAM over an 18 month period to cleanse their organization!) and brutality on the court (fights were common and horrible images that fanned racial sentiments).
It was LAKERS SHOWTIME that changed the landscape of TV contracts. When LA beat Philly in 1980, I remember following most games via the dreaded "tape-delay" at 11:30 PM local time in LA. (That's right,,, 11:30 PM!) In fact, I remember talking to my dad the evening of Game 6 when LA beat Philly thanks to Magic's best game ever. That game was tape delayed in Hawaii!" -- LakerMike
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Jerry Buss at the Hollywood Bowl. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times