During his time as the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dr. Jerry Buss put together teams that won 10 NBA titles with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol leading the way.
With Dr. Buss passing away last year, the team simply hasn’t been the same with Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak trying to pick up the pieces. Although Buss and Kupchak have tried to rebuild with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the team has fallen apart and are on the verge of being a lottery team for the first time since 2005.
Now that the future is uncertain for the Lakers without Dr. Buss, many have started to speculate what will happen to the storied franchise moving forward. Current Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, chimed in on what might be in store for Los Angeles.
According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, Cuban isn’t sure the Lakers can continue to be the dominant force in the NBA without Dr. Buss running the show:
“Jerry Buss was the Lakers, so I don’t know if the Lakers will ever be the Lakers,” Cuban said before the Mavericks played the Celtics. “I don’t think there was a smarter owner in the history of the NBA than Jerry Buss. So that’s tough to replace. I don’t think people realize just how good an owner Jerry was.”
Cuban also went on to say how Dr. Buss was somewhat of a mentor to him during his time as the Mavs controversial owner via Sefko:
“He just understood fans, entertainment, players, how to balance all of it together, how to deal with the NBA, when to listen to David (Stern), when to ignore him, when to tell him what to do,” Cuban said. “He had that breadth of skills that every time I spoke to him – usually I’m the one who does all the talking, it’s just a force of habit. But when we sat down, I did all the listening. I don’t think there’s any question he was by far the best owner in the history of the NBA.”
Cuban also let it be known that he conveyed these sentiments to his daughter, Jeanie Buss, via Sefko:
“When we were turning things around (with the Mavericks), he said don’t listen to the naysayers. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I owe him a lot, and I told Jeannie (Buss) all this.”
Without Dr. Buss calling the shots and helping out with his experience and influence, the future of the Lakers franchise is uncertain to say the least. There’s no telling what direction the team is headed with Jeanie and Jim Buss running things, but if they’ve learned anything from arguably the greatest owner in the history of professional sports, the Lakers should be in good hands moving forward.
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