Sports Commentary, Media and Vegas

Category — Jerry Buss

Another House Call


Excerpts from the upcoming autobiography. Good tease.

November 6, 2013   No Comments

Legends Of Showtime (Plus A Freeloader)

Of all the statements Magic Johnson made today regarding the death of Dr. Jerry Buss, none struck a cord (because he’s so accurate, but Dr. Buss’ son Jim is too full shit to realize it) with me more than this one: “I hope Jeanie Buss takes over the team.”
Though Magic and Dr. Buss operated on a much larger platform, I couldn’t help thinking about Barry Switzer and Billy Sims. Back in my days in Norman in the late 70s, there were always stories about the off-the-field exploits of Barry and Billy.
But this was a much larger party. And a lot more of them. Magic and Dr. Buss, regardless of your opinions of either, were the origins of “Showtime” and the legends of it crossing a ton of barriers, the Hollywood element, the Laker girls (Paula Abdul among the most famous), the parties (did we mention the parties?) and Johnson stunning the world years after the high times when he announced he was HIV positive.
And those are just starter pistols.
Having moved to L.A. in 1986, during the height of Showtime, I was as consumed with it as any basketball fan. And this was as a time when the Herald-Examiner, particularly the sports section, was the best read in town.
Before Buss purchased the team in 1979 from Jack Kent Cooke, the Lakers were practically 2nd city to the Dodgers, Rams, USC football and UCLA basketball. Imagine that now.
Columnist Bill Plaschke scratches the surface with some quick-hitting recollections from Magic.
L.A. Times

February 18, 2013   No Comments

An Appreciation

    “When someone as celebrated and charismatic as Jerry Buss dies, we are reminded of 2 things. First, just how much 1 person with vision and strength of will can accomplish. Second, how fragile each of us is, regardless of how powerful we were. Those 2 things combine to inspire us to reach for the stars, but also to remain with our feet firmly on the ground among our loved ones. Dr. Buss embodied that compassionate entrepreneurial spirit. He strove to reach greater heights without forgetting his community roots. During his stewardship, the Lakers exemplified his personal standards of excellence and became one of the dominant teams in the NBA and a force of good within the community. The man may be gone, but he has made us all better people for knowing him.”
    — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

February 18, 2013   No Comments

Jerry Buss: 1933-2013

    The greatest owner in sports, who turned the Lakers into 1 of the NBA’s hottest franchises, passed this morning in L.A. after complications of cancer. He was 80.
    L.A. Times

February 18, 2013   No Comments

Hook Him

    So let me get this straight. The Lakers hold a team meeting to clear the air and all they do is point fingers at Dwight Howard?
    It’s mind-boggling all the blame being dropped at the feet of Howard by Mike D’Antoni, pundits, writers and columnists for the dysfunctional Lakers. Granted, Howard hasn’t helped himself with some of his childish behavior and immature displays, but the real problem is D’Antoni (or “Antoni” as we Angelenos are fond of saying because there is no ‘D’).
    Initially, I foolishly believed D’Antoni would tweak his uptempo system to fit the Lakers’ personnel. Use it at times, but design a halfcourt game to take advantage of the skills and size of Howard and Pau Gasol.
    So what does D’Antoni do? He has Pau shooting 3-pointers and hanging out around the perimeter. Howard? He barely touches the ball. For Howard to get less than 10 shots a game (and Kobe to jack up more than 30) is a felony a criminal defense attorney couldn’t defend.
    Defense? I can’t recall a coach as clueless on the subject as D’Antoni. Help us out here Bernie Bickerstaff. What are we missing? Seriously, the franchise pays D’Antoni millions and this is what Laker fans get? And Bernie just sits behind the bench watching the wheels go ’round and ’round?
    If I’m Dr. Jerry Buss, I walk into Laker headquarters and tell my spoiled-ass idiot kid Jim, “pack your shit and get out.” Jim Buss is hemorrhaging the old man’s money on coaches. Coaches, in our best Allen Iverson imitation.

    He picked Mike Brown (I still roll my eyes, but laugh recalling the Laker players calling him “All Day” because of his marathon practice sessions) when he should have hired Brian Shaw or at worst, Rick Adelman. He picked D’Antoni instead of Shaw or Phil Jackson. He even seriously considered Mike Dunleavy, who later admitted he texted NBA headquarters and protested the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers. Imagine that.
    Seeing how Jim Buss won’t be able to justify bringing D’Antoni back after the Lakers miss the playoffs, he will be forced to eat another contract. Get in line. It’s a long 1. Aren’t the Lakers still paying Rudy T?
    Further, trading Howard would be foolish. I know he becomes a free agent at the end of the season, but the Lakers could easily get him to ink a deal and show their faith in him by firing D’Antoni and hiring Shaw as coach.
    Shaw could smooth over the rough edges in the clubhouse and also produce a winner. He knows the game and he knows the Laker personnel and their huge egos as well as anyone.
    And he is the only coach, with the exception of Phil, who can keep Kobe in line. The latter is priceless.
    D’Antoni has to go. If the Lakers sacrifice Howard for D’Antoni’s sake, they will be paying a huge tab that will have them reeling in the years. Just cut your losses and dump the dude.

January 24, 2013   No Comments

He’s Gone Soft On Us Again

Unlike a lot of folks, I sometimes appreciate the sarcastic style of L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers. After all, for almost $200,000 a year, what’s better than investing in a writer who makes a living tearing sports figures to shreds?
Still, I’m trying to grasp why Simers decided to hold hands and watch last night’s BCS train wreck with embattled SC Coach Lane Kiffin, more than a week after Kiffin was labeled the “Unabomber” with that hoodie and forgettable performance in a loss to a horrible Georgia Tech team in the Sun Bowl. Come on T.J., you going soft on us again?
Simers doesn’t even ask Kiffin about the recent wave of recruits who have decommitted to USC. All we get is another tearjerker about how Kiffin is sorry he screwed up the Trojans, college football’s preseason No. 1. Try telling that to many of the SC faithful who are calling for his head.
It’s also hilarious that the 2 most divisive figures on the L.A. sports scene, Kiffin and misguided Lakers’ owner Jimmy Buss, get the softball treatment from the hardest hitting columnist in L.A.
What’s up with that dude?

January 8, 2013   No Comments

Speaking Of D’Antoni…

    Steve Nash is making a strong case for MVP.
    When it rains, it pours. The Lakers coach got a little testy when the loveable T.J. Simers of the former world champion (that would be the L.A. Times, if you’re scoring at home) started pressing the action after tonight’s debacle in Cleveland.

December 11, 2012   No Comments

L.A.: Land Of Awful Coaches

    Did we mention Lane Kiffin? Didn’t think so.
    Mike D’Antoni is taking a beating and you know well what we think of “Has” Ben Howland. Vinny Del Negro isn’t the greatest either, but sometimes good teams cover their inefficiencies on the bench.
    Which brings us to USC’s Kevin O’Neill, the worst of them all. And that’s saying something considering how bad Howland is.
    But we won’t waste our breath on O’Neill. Fortunately, the wonderful Evan Barnes blew him out of the water.
    Rant Sports

December 11, 2012   No Comments


    Did we mention Brian Shaw, the No. 2 man on the Pacers bench to Coach Frank Vogel since last season, has won on both trips to Staples since Jim Buss thumbed his nose at him? Didn’t think so.

November 27, 2012   No Comments

See How They Run

    These definitely aren’t Mike Brown’s Lakers.
    They scored 40 points in the 1st quarter and 119 for the game. I don’t even have to look to know the Lakers never scored 119 in regulation during Brown’s short tenure. But that’s what they produced in a 119-108 over the Rockets on Sunday night at Staples.
    That’s what Mike D’Antoni brings to the dance. His system has been roundly criticized, but like we said before, D’Antoni hasn’t had a club stacked like these Lakers.
    “We’re playing free,” reserve guard Darius Morris said, an obvious knock on Brown and his overbearing coaching style. Morris, who barely saw the time of day with Brown, is benefitting from his departure and injuries to Steve Nash and Steve Blake.
    Now if D’Antoni were a magician, he would find a way to hide that weak-ass bench. Chris Duhon? Are you kidding me? He’s D-League material at best. How he has a job in the NBA is beyond us.
    Still, it’s much too early to grasp how good the Lakers will be when push comes to shove. So far, though, we like what we see. The up-tempo game fits this club.
    Mike Brown might not agree, but what does he know?

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November 18, 2012   No Comments