Lakers Greats, Celebrities Turn Out For Jerry Buss Memorial In L.A.
A "legion of Lakers players, coaches and personnel" assembled Thursday at Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live to pay homage to late Lakers Owner Jerry Buss. Other sports figures in attendance included Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, Thunder Owner Clay Bennett, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and Basketball HOFers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. Below are some excerpts from speeches at the memorial.
Stern: "It's not an exaggeration to say that Jerry was nothing less than a transformational force in the history of sports. Creating the value proposition through pricing, naming rights, cable TV networks, TV rights and entertainment all of which underlie all stadium and arena construction in the United States and around the world."
Basketball HOFer Jerry West: "Just being around him and just feeling the warmth in him, he was genuine. He was a man for all people."
Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson, the last of the invited guests to speak: "He cared about all his players, not just on the court but off the court as well. As men. As people" (ESPNLA.com, 2/22).
TNT's Shaquille O'Neal light-heartedly said, "I wanted a first extension and he gave it to me. I wanted a second extension and he gave it to me. I wanted a third extension and he traded me."
Lakers Exec VP/Strategic Development Johnny Buss, Jerry's son: "No one can fill his shoes. 'We can only do our best to continue with our father's request, guided by an intricate road map that he laid out for us for the next generation" (L.A. TIMES, 2/22).
Lakers fan Greg Tomlinson, a surprise speaker at the service, said, "I'm not a season-ticket holder, I'm not the guy sitting courtside, but if any of you guys have some (tickets), I'm here for you" (L.A. TIMES, 2/22).