Mendoza: NBA loses a shining gem in Showtime Buss-A A +A
Friday, February 22, 2013
JERRY Buss, known as NBA Showtime, had died this week at age 80, succumbing to cancer.
Said the Associated Press: “Jerry Buss built a glittering life at the intersection of sports and Hollywood. After growing up in poverty in Wyoming, he earned success in academia, aerospace and real estate before discovering his favorite vocation when he bought the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979.
While Buss wrote the checks and fostered partnerships with two generations of basketball greats, the Lakers won 10 National Basketball Association (NBA) titles and became a glamorous brand.”
Buss coined the word “Showtime” to describe the incalculable influence and the magnetic impact of a basketball team right in the heart of Hollywood, the fulcrum of everything the world of entertainment can offer. To him, basketball was entertainment.
Continued AP’s Greg Beacham: “With a scientist’s analytical skills, a playboy’s flair, a businessman’s money-making savvy and a die-hard hoops fan’s heart, Buss fashioned the Lakers into a remarkable sports entity. They became a nightly happening, often defined by just one word coined by Buss: ‘Showtime.’”
The Lakers became Showtime when Lew Alcindor, from Milwaukee Bucks, became Kareem Abdul Jabbar upon moving to Los Angeles.
The Lakers became Showtime when Marvis Johnson became Magic Johnson, flicking those under-the-leg passes that became improbable twinners and threes for Los Angeles with monotonous regularity.
The Lakers became Showtime when Shaq O’Neal and Kobe Bryant teamed up to give Los Angeles a bucket of NBA titles.
And, yes, the Lakers stretched (revived?) Showtime when Phil Jackson, already the owner of six NBA rings in Chicago, got aboard to give Los Angeles a rare three-peat with the Shaq and Kobe Show.
“Mr. Buss’s incredible commitment and desire to build a championship-caliber team that could sustain success over a long period of time has been unmatched,” said Jerry West, Mr. Show himself as the first genuine Laker superstar, when Showtime Buss had yet to arrive in LA in 1979.
Indeed, the void Buss had left would be hard to fill.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2013.