The death of Dr. Jerry Buss affects any L.A. sports fan. I kept reading and watching the sad news on Monday as a way for the loss to sink in even though his absence in the public eye the past two years was an unspoken foreshadowing of what transpired.
If it weren’t for Dr. Buss, the City of Los Angeles would have had few professional sports championships in the past 30 years.
Think about this. Since 1979, the Dodgers have been in the World Series two times; the Lakers 16 times (winning 10 times). It was only last year when the L.A. Kings won their first Stanley Cup championship. And we haven’t had a pro football team for quite some time.
As a lifelong Lakers fan, who as a boy suffered (along with Jerry West) through all the NBA Finals losses to Boston, the 1985 title was the sweetest one since it was the first win against the Celtics, and it occurred on the hallowed or haunted Boston Garden parquet floor.
We were very fortunate to have had the best sports owner in history here in Los Angeles helming the Lakers. How many other sports team owners would be willing to freely pay millions of dollars in luxury taxes just to ensure even more championships?
Of all the wonderful sentiments expressed this week about the legacy of Dr. Buss, Magic Johnson’s comments closest echoes my feelings, that the two worst deaths for Lakers fans have been the loss of Chick Hearn and Jerry Buss. Magic said that as long as he lives he will make sure that Dr. Buss’s memory lives on. “The refrigerator door” may be closed, but let’s hope Jim and Jeannie Buss carry on to fully stock that fridge.