The stories, insight, thoughts and feelings that are being shared from people that knew and worked with Dr. Jerry Buss only add to the proof that he was a legendary owner and man. While his presence simply can never be replaced, there is an opportunity to move forward while respecting his philosophy and vision of how to run the Los Angeles Lakers.
After practice on Tuesday, the Lakers held a mini-presser to discuss Dr. Buss, his passing and going on from here. Many have questioned what direction the Lakers will take after the great Jerry Buss passed, and Mitch Kupchak touched on that subject with the media. Lakers Nation’s reporter Serena Winters was there to report the following.
Kupchak on his personal working experience with Dr. Buss:
“He brought me here in 1981 as a player and here it is 32 years later.” It’s a weird feeling, although I wasn’t kept in the loop on his progress on the last couple of months…I could tell that the last month or so wasn’t good. Yesterday was an empty day, I couldn’t seem to find a place where I was comfortable, a room, a place, a car a house….a major loss personally for obvious reasons, a man that brought me to Los Angeles as a player and for some reason kept me on an additional 27 years which is unheard of in this business. The family members were my age when I came here.”
Kupchak then went on to talk about Dr. Buss’ character and approach to ownership, saying:
“He was never a man that was in the office at 9 in the morning you might see him leaving the office at 9 in the morning but you didn’t really see him walk in the office at 9 in the morning, his hours were unusual and with the family members its more predictable. Jimmy and I stay in much closer contact than his dad and I did and Jeanie the same. Shes in the office everyday, normal executive work hours. He was a little different in his approach to business but always accessible.”
“He was a loyal man and I guess the one thing he always came at a problem from a different space, you could think that you had all the angles covered in an acquisition or trade or free agent or problem and you’d sit down with him and out of the blue he’d come at ya from a different angle, a very unique angle, most of the time the conversation that followed was productive he would never say he was right all the time. He had a unique way of looking at almost every problem that I was never able to exactly or precisely predict what I was in for when I went to meet with him.”
Kupchak discussed moving forward without Dr. Buss at the helm, stating:
“He can’t be replaced. There’s no way to replace him. We’ll just have to attack it our own way.”
“Nobody understands what this franchise means to Los Angeles more than Jeanie and Jimmy and the family.”
“We have a great opportunity to carry on his legacy.”
In fitting fashion, the Lakers face the Celtics tonight at Staples Center, in what is sure to be an emotional game. There will be a private memorial service tomorrow at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles for Dr. Buss.