Dr. Jerry Buss: The man who built the Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Lakers owner Jerry Buss (R) and guest attend the 20th Anniversary Of The Magic Johnson Foundation Press Conference held at the Staples Center on November 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Lakers owner Jerry Buss (R) and guest attend the 20th Anniversary Of The Magic Johnson Foundation Press Conference held at the Staples Center on November 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images) /

You can thank Dr. Jerry Buss for the Los Angeles Lakers you know and love

Sometimes in life, certain people come along that have the ability to take something and change it and turn it into something much greater. They have a vision of what something could be. These are the kind of people that build something that can stand the test of time and will always be remembered.

Many great people have done this in every field. When it comes to the world of sports and professional basketball, Jerry Buss was at the forefront. He was an innovator.

Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into what they are today

Buss had a vision that going to a basketball game should be somewhat entertaining. Under his ownership, the Los Angeles Lakers added the now-famous Laker Girls, a house band to play live music during the breaks in the games as well as fanfare.

He made going to a sports event, a well entertaining experience where the fans got a lot of bang for their buck. This of course attracted the attention of various celebrities in Hollywood as well as many millionaires and moguls and inspired the Showtime era.

He hired the best people and let them do their thing. Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Jerry West, and Mitch Kupchak were some of the names that he brought in to get the franchise to where they needed to be and it sure helped.

Buss knew that he had to let the people whom he hired do their job (this seemed to work out pretty well). This is something that a lot of successful owners have done for their franchises.

In his 34 years of ownership, the Lakers won 10 NBA Championships with teams that had great talent such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant, as well as so many other wonderful players who have always spoken highly of him.

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Jerry Buss will always be remembered for not just being a successful businessman and a professional sports team owner but as being an ultimate game-changer. He set a precedence for a sports organization and I feel many other owners took a page from his book.

His daughter Jeanie Buss and her brothers took over for Jerry when he died, as he left his 66% controlling ownership of the Lakers to them. Of course, things were a bit rocky for the team for a while as Jeanie terminated Mitch Kupchak and her brother Jim stepped down from his position as VP of Basketball Operations.

She went on to hire current general manager Rob Pelinka, as the Lakers have found much luck with him as he has made some great moves to get the team to where they are today.

The impact of Jerry Buss on the Los Angeles Lakers and sports:

Dr. Jerry Buss did something important. He made the Los Angeles Lakers a brand name similar to what George Steinbrenner did with the New York Yankees. He also instilled in the organization a sense of class, and showmanship, and made it known that to be a part of the Lakers organization is a special privilege.

If you have never had the privilege of going to a Lakers game when they played in the Great Western Forum or where they currently play in the Staples Center then you must. I experienced this for myself. I’ll never forget it.

A few years back, my father was doing business in LA. My brothers and I came out to visit him for a few days and we got tickets to a Laker game. It was still when they played at the Great Western Forum. I remember walking in there, feeling as if I was in another world. My head jerked from side to side as I took everything in. Not long after we got to our seats I experienced something most fans don’t get anywhere else but in LA.

I saw Charlie Sheen walk past me.

Sitting down below in her usual seat was Dyan Cannon. Then of course were the beautiful Laker Girls doing their various dance numbers during the break. A live music band would play music throughout the game.  The lights and flare were amazing as was the game. Looking up to see the numbers of the retired Lakers was amazing. Plus, I got to see Chick Hearn in his booth too.

The best thing though that has always stuck with me was hearing Randy Newman’s famous song, “I Love LA” come on after the win. Altogether, it was an experience unlike any other when it comes to a sporting event.

Years later, I saw the Lakers in New Jersey as they took on the Nets. My father and I had great seats. Dr. Jerry Buss came out of the tunnel as he followed the team. We saw him and screamed his name as well as, “Best owner in sports.” He turns toward us, smiled, nodded and pointed.

Next. Nobody will come close to Chick Hearn. dark

Thank you, Dr. Jerry Buss.