Lakers fans on Monday mourned the loss of Jerry Buss, calling the longtime team owner a well-liked figure who always managed to attract top talent to Los Angeles.
Buss, who died at age 80 after a battle with cancer, was widely remembered by fans and city leaders as the rare owner who drove his franchise to heady success, spending big and giving the public what they wanted.
"He brought the city together," said Rolando Castellanos, 32, a Fontana resident who was wearing a purple Lakers jersey as he stood in line downtown Monday morning to get into a taping of ESPN's "SportsNation" show at L.A. Live. "He gave us a lot of champions."
Jesse Garza, 21, a Lancaster resident who was also waiting to get into the show taping, called Buss "the greatest owner of all time, of all sports."
"He was dedicated," Garza said. "He got the top free agents, the top coaches, the best trades."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Buss a mainstay of professional sports in Los Angeles.
"Dr. Buss was a cornerstone of the Los Angeles sports community and his name will always be synonymous with his beloved Lakers," Villaraigosa said in a written statement.
Fans mourn loss of L.A. icon Dr. Jerry Buss
L.A. Daily News | Feb 19