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Jerry Buss' Showtime Lakers inspired a young Kobe Bryant

February 15, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Jerry Buss takes center stage, along with Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, during the team's ring ceremony after claiming their 16th NBA championship the previous spring.
Jerry Buss takes center stage, along with Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

With news that Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss is ill, Kobe Bryant said he and rest of the team are trying to "maintain a positive outlook."

Bryant had high praise for Buss.

"He's extremely, extremely intelligent and extremely patient," Bryant said. "He has his goals. He knows exactly what he wants to do and how he wants to construct the ball club."

The Lakers have gone to seven NBA Finals with Bryant, winning five titles. Bryant said he's felt Buss' influence for nearly his entire life.

"The brand of basketball that he brought here with Showtime and the impact that has had on the sport as a whole -- those vibrations were felt to a kid all the way in Italy at 6 years old before basketball was even global. His impact has been felt worldwide," he said.

Bryant spent many of his formative years in Italy as his father, Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant, played overseas. Magic Johnson was Bryant's favorite player growing up.

The Lakers have won 10 championships and made 16 NBA Finals appearances since Buss purchased the team in 1979.

"He's just extremely, extremely smart going about it," Bryant said. "It's very rare to find that kind of owner than can seemingly not make any mistakes. It's pretty impressive."

The percentages are staggering. Buss' Lakers have gone to the finals 48.5% of the time, winning a 30.3% overall (not including this season).

Meanwhile, the current Lakers squad is 25-29, sitting in 10th place at the All-Star break.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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