An image of Jerry Buss looks down on the statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Jerry Buss was one of those few men who seemingly recognized that owning a sports franchise is different than owning any other type of business. He appeared to disdain the mantle of chief executive, choosing instead the role of shrewd yet generous steward serving the millions of us who have always felt that in some small measure, the Lakers are actually "ours."
Most teams have fans that feel that way but few of them possess owners so driven to succeed, so willing to invest their money to do so, and then ready to unassumingly stand to the side when the championships arrive and let the fans revel with "our" team.
Southern Californians and Lakers fans the world over owe a huge debt to this gracious benefactor whose actions raised the bar for future franchise owners. He is wholly irreplaceable.
What made Jerry Buss such a successful sports figure? He had a doctorate in chemistry. And as the present day Lakers painfully remind us on a daily basis, this remains the most important component in building a winning franchise.
Marina del Rey
I had the good fortune to have known Jerry Buss pretty much my entire life, as my dad was one of those PhD aerospace engineers Buss teamed up with in the early days because they thought they could do real estate and sports better than the people already in those fields. I'm sure many will write in about what Jerry meant to Los Angeles and basketball, but I want to say that he was one of the kindest, most generous and respectful people around and in general the coolest guy in town. He was always generous and talkative to guests I brought around the Forum or Staples and was extremely welcoming to my family. He was a fantastic, warm individual.
Lakers fans everywhere will miss him, but those lucky enough to have known him know we have lost someone truly special. I repeat, the coolest guy around.
Jerry Buss captured the feelings of Lakers fans. In 1985 after the Lakers beat Celtics to win the championship, Buss quipped, "One of most odious sentences has been eliminated from the English language: 'The Lakers have never beaten the Celtics.'"
Thanks for 34 great seasons, Dr. Jerry.
In a sports town that has suffered at the hands of such owners as Frank McCourt, Georgia Frontiere, Donald Sterling (despite current success), Bruce McNall, and others, Jerry Buss was a true visionary who walked the walk, took the Lakers to NBA heights, and changed the NBA forever. In a world where most local sports owners were self-centered and showed no respect for the city or the fans, Buss stood out, and he left an indelible stamp on the local sports landscape.
His example is a blueprint for what any sports owner should aspire to. RIP, Dr. Buss.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Buss a few times in the '90s, at Del Mar, when his son, Jim was an aspiring trainer. They would both hang out in the infield together, I'd chat Mr. Buss up, as I am a huge Lakers fan. It was amazing how unassuming and down to earth he was. He was a regular guy, just enjoying a day at the races with his son. A remarkable man and owner. RIP, Dr. Buss.
Sad news to hear the innovative creator of Lakers Showtime has left us. End of an era in Los Angeles. I just hope it's not the end of the Lakers as we've known them too.
Playa del Rey
Jerry Buss said he wanted Los Angeles to be synonymous with the Lakers. Four years ago my wife and I visited Florence, Italy, when I lost her in a crowd near the Uffizi Gallery. Panicked, I paced back and forth until a young Italian approached with a petition to clean up the environment. I told him I was an American and had lost my wife. He asked me where I was from and I told him Los Angeles. With an excited smile, he shouted "Lakers!" A few minutes later he pointed me out to my wife in typical Italian fashion: "Your boyfriend is over there."
Jeanie Buss running the Lakers? I first met Jeanie when she was running the Los Angeles Strings of World Team Tennis. Attendance at the Forum was averaging 750, and I met with her with a plan to double or triple paid attendance at minimal cost.
She declined to hear my proposal, stating, "If I was doing a bad job, my dad would fire me."
Jerry Buss will be missed!
Harris J. Levey
Anyone with any remaining doubts about the judgment of Jimmy Buss had them answered by the last-minute performance by his buddy Greg Tomlinson during Thursday's memorial for Dr. Buss.
Jimmy needs more maturing than the Lakers can afford. What has he been doing these years he supposedly has been in training?