Back in 1979, Dr. Jerry Buss bought the Los Angeles Lakers franchise and his first move as the new owner was about as good as any he made in his 33 years of ownership.
Buss selected Magic Johnson with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft and forever changed the storied franchise as a result. Interestingly enough, Magic had other intentions telling Dr. Buss’ daughter, Jeanie, he was only going to stay in Los Angeles for three years.
Jeanie said the following about her first meeting with Magic in a post she wrote for CSQ.com:
“I showed him to the living room, and we chatted for a few moments. He told me matter-of-factly that he appreciated being drafted by the Lakers but that he was only going to stay for three years because he wanted to go home to Michigan and play for his hometown team – the Detroit Pistons.”
Incredible to think that Magic was set on going to the Detroit Pistons before meeting Dr. Buss. Ironically enough, the Pistons GM at the time, Jack McCloskey, offered the entire Detroit roster to Los Angeles for the Michigan State star. Obviously, the Lakers didn’t take the deal and the rest is history.
Dr. Buss told Jeanie not to worry via CSQ:
My dad didn’t bat an eye. He told me, “Jeanie, don’t worry. He may say that today, but the first time he puts on a Lakers’ uniform and steps out on the Forum floor, he is never going to leave.”
For lack of a better word, Dr. Buss was a genius when it came to making all the right moves for the Lakers franchise. Buss went on to win 10 NBA titles and became arguably the greatest owner in professional sports as a result.
Every move the late owner made always seemed to pay off in one way or another. Some of the greatest players in NBA history wore a Lakers jersey during his time as the owner with the team acquiring players like James Worthy, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol.
Kobe Bryant On LeBron James, Championships – Also Says He’s 100%