A different version of Showtime broke out in honor of the man that first constructed it.
Current and former Lakers dazzled the crowd at Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles Thursday about stories regarding the late owner Jerry Buss, who died Monday from kidney failure after spending the past 18 months fighting an unspecified form of cancer.
"Just being around him and just feeling the warmth in him, he was genuine," said former Lakers player and executive Jerry West. "He was a man for all people"
That's why it was only fitting that Magic Johnson asked the estimated 50 current and former Lakers and coaches in attendance to stand up near the end of the ceremony. Johnson then asked to entire 3,000 in attendance to hold up their thumb and index fingers in a "L" shape to demonstrate their affection for the Lakers.
"This is a celebration of life," Johnson proclaimed. "This is a celebration of success. We shouldn't be sad. We should be happy that the man enjoyed his life and did it his way."
Buss, 80, bought the Lakers in 1979, when he purchased the team along with the Forum, the NHL's Kings and a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County for $67.5 million from Jack Kent Cooke. He oversaw 10 of the Lakers' 16 titles. Buss became the first Lakers owner to get an NBA Finals victory over heated rival Boston Celtics, going 3-2 under his watch. Forbes recently estimated the Lakers at $1 billion partly in thanks to a lucrative 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable.
"When I think of Jerry, I like to think of him at his beloved poker table," said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. "I think of him sitting there with the world's best poker players, standing back and suddenly pushing his chips into the middle.
Farewell Dr. Buss: Lakers greats rally to celebrate a life
L.A. Daily News | Feb 22