It came as a bit of a shock to most basketball fans that Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss had been battling cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for the past several months, but some reports from his family indicated that he was “doing fine”. Sadly, it turns out that was not the case.
Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away this morning. A sad day for L.A.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 18, 2013
This is obviously a sad day for Lakers fans and NBA fans in general, and there will be plenty of information and reports coming in today and this week as to what happened, as well as the well wishes of the countless players, coaches and fans that he has touched along the way. Prior to the NBA All-Star Weekend, Kobe Bryant touched on the enormity of Buss’ presence in the grand history of the league, and I think that the Mamba’s words were a great start in helping people truly understand the Buss legacy.
“It’s beyond measure,” Bryant said. “I don’t think there’s any way to really define it. What he’s done, it’s tough to really find a match for that in any sport. He’s been a model of consistency.”
“He’s meant everything to me in my career, taking a risk on a 17-year-old kid coming out of high school and believing in me my entire career,” he said. “For the game itself, the brand of basketball, ‘Showtime’ carried the league. You think about the rivalry that took place between the Lakers and the Celtics, and what that did for the global outreach of the game.
“It reached me, and I was in Italy.”