Images: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss recently passed away and a memorial for him was held in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre on Thursday, where Buss’ friends and family came together to remember the NBA legend.
According to The Los Angeles Times, high-profile friends of Buss that attended the memorial included Phil Jackson, who “won five championships and advanced to two other NBA Finals while coaching the Lakers for owner Jerry Buss,” Magic Johnson, Pat Riley, David Stern, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, former Lakers coach Bill Sharman, former Lakers player and general manager Jerry West, former Lakers player Mychal Thompson, Phil Jackson, Jeannie Buss, former Lakers player Jamaal Wilkes, former Lakers guard Byron Scott, actor Andy Garcia and more.
Phil Jackson spoke in Buss’ honor and said that when he first met Buss in 1999…”He told me how much fun he’d had in the ‘80s, winning five championships. He said it seemed like almost a natural thing. But then the ‘90s came and it was filled with change and disappointments.”
“He said he was hoping to win one more championship,” Jackson continued, “I told him I thought he had a talented enough team to win more than one, and I was going to accomplish that. We were able to do that and win five championships, just like that team did in the ’80s, and it brought Jerry a great deal of [happiness].”
Magic Johnson, remembered his friend as “a father figure” and said, “He would ask me to go have lunch with him after our practices in Palm Springs and we would just sit and talk about what his vision was for the organization, how much he wanted to win and definitely how bad he wanted to beat the Celtics. … He became my advisor and it was tremendous, because with him and his expertise, I knew I had a chance to be successful away from the basketball court.”
Buss was a self-made millionaire who built his fortune in real estate, and with that fortune he purchased the Lakers in 1979. He died at the age of 80 and according to ESPN, his controlling ownership of the Lakers is passed to his six children via a trust managed by sons Johnny and Jim and daughter Jeanie.