Los Angles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away from cancer earlier in the week, and today he was memorialized during a ceremony in the City of Angels. Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Shaquel O’Neal, and many more packed the Nokia Theatre to tribute Buss.
Several NBA figures hit the the podium to speak, including league commissioner David Stern. Lauding the 79-year-old as a “transformational force in the history of sports,” many shared in Stern’s sentiments, recalling examples of his desire to be the best, but still maintaining a friendly spirit.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
There was also Buss’s desire to always acquire top talent, most notably “paying some young kid named a million dollars a year.”
Stern ended with, “Rest in peace, my friend.”
Buss’ son John also pointed to the owner’s gentle, guiding hand when he addressed the audience.
“On the surface it seemed that everything went right for this man and in a way it did, but not without strenuous work hours, passion, diligence,” John Buss said. “Not everything went right but because he was always thinking ahead, everything became right. His honesty, integrity, insight — coupled with kindness, humility and a gentle disposition. He truly had the right stuff.
“He loved Los Angeles and as we can see Los Angeles loved him too.”
Frank Mariani also reflected on his former business partner’s personal side.
“You and I have been friends and partners for over 50 years,” Mariani said. “You are the same person in your private and your public life. You are somewhat of a shy and stubborn person. You’re extremely courteous and considerate. Your kindness knows no bounds. You have tolerance and patience almost to a fault. Your loyalty is unparalleled.”
Johnson captured the essence of Buss, bringing the crowd to their feet in a barage of cheers and applause saying, “He didn’t like it sad, he wanted it to be fun.”
The Lakers paid special tribute to Buss at the start of last night’s game, where they beat Boston Celtics, 113-99.
See photos of the ceremony below.
Photos: John McCoy/Twitter