Dr. Jerry Buss honored at memorial service
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Friends and family gathered at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles Thursday for a special memorial service for longtime Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss.
Buss died on Monday at the age of 80 after battling an undisclosed cancer since last year. Buss was arguably one of the greatest owners in NBA history. Under his ownership, the Lakers became the NBA's winningest franchise.
Johnny Buss, the eldest of Buss' children, shared his memories of his father.
"Later on, we understood that our dad was a brilliant intellectual, a man who would take us on an incredible journey that no one could ever imagine," he said.
Shaquille O'Neal remembered Buss for his incredible patience and a motivation style that made the team and the players a success.
"He gave me everything I wanted. I wanted one extension, he gave it to me. I wanted a second extension, he gave it to me. I wanted a third extension, he traded me," O'Neal said, drawing laughter from a mourning crowd.
Other speakers at Buss' memorial included Phil Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley, and Kobe Bryant. Members of the USC Trojan Marching Band also played "Amazing Grace" as a tribute to the USC alumnus.
On Wednesday, Buss was remembered in a pre-game video tribute featuring photos of him as a child all the way through him hoisting trophies marking the team's 10 NBA championships won under his ownership. Bryant fittingly spoke on behalf of the Lakers' players, having been acquired by the Lakers as a 17-year-old.
"He was a brilliant, incredible owner but an even better person," Bryant said of Buss. "His innovation transcended the game, and we are all, all spoiled by his vision and his drive to win year after year after year."
The Lakers went on to beat the Celtics 113-99 in their first game since the Buss' death.
The players will be wearing a special patch for the rest of the season to honor Buss. Fans can buy the patches at the TEAM LA store at the Staples Center. All proceeds will go to the Lakers Youth Foundation.
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