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Who will replace Jerry Buss as best owner in pro sports?

February 19, 2013
  • Jerry Buss flashes the No. 1 sign as his Lakers team is honored with a parade on May 19, 1980. It was the Lakers' first title with Buss as owner.
Jerry Buss flashes the No. 1 sign as his Lakers team is honored with a parade… (Associated Press )

A day after the death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss who they consider to be the best owner in pro sports.

Check back throughout the day for their responses and feel free to join the conversation with a comment of your own.

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times

The NBA retains the distinction of having the best owner in pro sports even after the passing of Jerry Buss. His name is Mark Cuban. Not only do his teams win (with the notable exception of this season), but he pampers his players, speaks his mind and is always looking for ways to improve and innovate.

Besides, what other owner has appeared on "Entourage" and "The Colbert Report" while also starring in his own reality television show, "Shark Tank"? Cuban is a man of the people despite his extreme wealth. He interacts with fans, is super-accessible and attends just about every road game.

Yes, he can be a little too mouthy at times, but I'll take that approach over the largely anonymous owners who remain cloaked in the security of their luxury suites.

[Updated at 11:21 a.m. Feb. 19:

Jeff Otterbein, Hartford Courant

The best owner in professional sports might just be Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots.

He bought the team in 1995, possibly saving it from relocating to St. Louis. He built a winner (three Super Bowl titles). He built a new stadium in Foxboro, Mass. His philanthropic interests are extensive, with millions of dollars going to various causes. He helped end the 2011 NFL lockout.

Year in and year out, the Patriots are a playoff team, so the fans get a winner. They also get an experience when they go Foxboro in or out of season. Patriot Place is a mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex adjacent to the stadium. The Hall at Patriot Place is a museum that honors the team and the sport.

If you’re from Connecticut, Kraft can be viewed differently because he said he was moving the team to Hartford and then stayed in Foxboro. That still stings.

But the Patriots, for so long so inept, are now an NFL brand, and Kraft has been the owner behind that.

Jeff Schuler, Allentown Morning Call

The Rooney family has owned the Pittsburgh Steelers since the franchise joined the NFL in 1933. Founder Art Rooney went 40 years without reaching the playoffs, but beginning with one of the most controversial plays in football history (this from a bitter, bitter Raider fan), since 1973 the Steelers have compiled one of the most successful postseason resumes in pro sports, producing six Super Bowl championships.

Even as control of the franchise has passed from Art to his son Dan to his grandson Art II, it's tough to find anyone in Pittsburgh who complains about the management of the franchise on or off the field.]


Photos: Jerry Buss through the years

Lakers expect to remain a Buss family-owned business

To Magic Johnson, Jerry Buss was friend, mentor and 'second father'

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