The news of Dr. Jerry Buss’ passing on Monday morning has placed a somber feeling around Los Angeles and among Lakers fans everywhere. While there is sadness, we are reminded of all the phenomenal and amazing moments he brought to the Lakers and the City of Angels since 1979.
Lakers from past and present have shared their thoughts and insights of Dr. Buss and what his impact was on them personally. Former Lakers player and executive Jerry West shared his feelings of Jerry Buss on Monday night.
“This is an extremely sad day for me,” said West. “As I have said many times, I have been blessed to work for Jerry Buss, the most successful owner in basketball history. His incredible commitment and desire to build a championship-caliber team that could sustain success over a long period of time has been unmatched.”
“With all of his achievements, Jerry was without a doubt one of the most humble men I’ve ever been around. His vision was second to none; he wanted an NBA franchise brand that represented the very best and went to every extreme to accomplish his goals,” continued West. “His achievements as an owner are legendary and will never be duplicated: 10 NBA titles and 16 trips to the NBA Finals. Jerry was an innovator in the sports world and many sports franchises have tried to follow his recipe for success and his vision of making NBA basketball as much about sports as entertainment.”
“Our relationship has always been very unique; Jerry was always supportive of the many tough decisions that were made during our time together,” said West. “I will particularly remember fondly our walks together during training camps, which were some of the highlights of my time working with him and the Lakers. I was blessed to have the opportunity to work for him and I will miss him dearly. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Buss family and the Lakers organization. We lost a great man today and a legend in our business.”
Jerry West was hired as the General Manager under the helm of Dr. Buss. Along with Buss, he put together the Showtime era that claimed five championships. West and Buss then acquired Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson to create yet another Laker dynasty. West won one more ring as an executive in 2000 before leaving the Lakers.