Feb. 15, 2013

Jerry Buss: Appreciated and Deserving

You may love the Lakers like me, or despise them, BUT...You don't have to know the history of Dr. Jerry Buss and the Lakers to appreciate a true sportsman in love with his team and his sport.

You would NEVER accuse Dr. Buss and his family as coming from "leave It To Beaver" or "Father Knows Best," but he is a true family man in his own way. ALL of his children either work for or have worked in the family business.

Buss, the high stakes poker-playing, former chemist-turned real estate mogul, bought the Lakers in 1979, along with the hockey Kings and Fabulous Forum from Jack Kent Cooke for $79 billion. Needless to say even after selling off the Kings and then the Forum, the Lakers are worth a lot more 34 years later.

Buss brought in Magic Johnson, Shaq, Kobe, Phil Jackson to spearhead the salad days of the franchise. Buss has 10 Larry O'Brien Trophies for good reason. He has brought the sport forward by keeping his team on the cutting edge throughout the past several decades. There have been VERY few seasons like thius one (2012-13) when they weren't a top dog in the league. They will be fortunate to even make the playoffs this year and Dr. Buss is VERY sick with cancer. Many former and active players have visisited the ailing owner in the hospital.

We know his illness is most serious for ONE precious fact. Buss has not attended even one game this season yet. He is usually up there in his luxary suite with a couple of blondes and poker buddies. I hope he is able to be at Staples Center when Shaq's jersey is retired April 2. Shaq, despite his uneasy history with Buss in the past will go down as a Laker great and enter the Hall of Fame as a Laker. That says a lot about Jerry Buss. He is a class act. 

He has handed the team down to his family and they are struggling to find their way right now. I hope they do VERY soon. It would be nice to see Dr. Jerry Buss get one more ring before he checks out.