Tomorrow, the 13th, Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen will get most of the headlines. Michael Jordan, who’s presenting his Chicago Bulls teammate, will probably get rest (dollars to donuts MJ off-handedly, and without realizing, degrades Pippen by referring to him as his “sidekick,” or mentioning Scottie was the “only one who could come close to beating me 1-on-1.”)
But perhaps the soon-to-be Hall of Famer with the biggest impact on the game of basketball is “The Good Doctor,” Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. From his shrewd 25 year, $25 million contract for Magic Johnson, to his willingness to pay the luxury tax this off-season for a run at a second Laker 3-Peat, Jerry Buss is a stone-cold winner.
(pictured above (L to R) with Mrs. United States 2005, and aesthetic dentist, Chiann Van Gibson, Motley Crue’s Vince Neil, Dennis Haskins a.ka. Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell, and some lady named Dovie)
Dr. Buss assembled the pieces for “Showtime,” the greatest offensive show in all of basketball history. For that alone, he should be inducted twice. In addition to the aforementioned Magic contract, Buss pulled off another coup by selling The Forum naming rights to Great Western Savings & Loan - a move that would be the precursor to modern stadium/arena deals. And, he’s not just a fat wallet. Dr. Buss has a fine basketball mind, and better yet, sticks to his guns. Buss overruled Le Logo, and drafted Magic Johnson (apparently Jerry was pushing for Sidney Moncrief?), and let Shaquille O’Neal walk from the franchise when Buss knew his price tag was too steep for the return he’d provide.
Oh, and one other thing…
He’s the most successful owner in the history of sports. The Lakers have made The Finals 16 times in his 31 year tenure. Imagine your favorite football team making the Super Bowl every other year. Now, imagine your favorite football team winning 10 of them.
He’s a river boat gambler. He looks like Jerry Stiller and Rip Taylor banged faces about a thousand times. He’s a Laker.
He’s Dr. Jerry Buss - The Greatest of All Time.