Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A True Hollywood Story by The New York Times

Jerry Buss (January 27th, 1933 – February 18th, 2013)

A True Hollywood Story
by Lynn Zinser

And frankly, most Hollywood producers would have thrown out some of the most preposterous details of Buss’s story. Because, really, a man with a doctorate in physical chemistry, who despite a hardscrabble life turned a $1,000 real estate deal into a personal fortune and then turned a moribund N.B.A. franchise into the biggest happening in happening-addicted Los Angeles? Oh, and he won 10 N.B.A. titles along the way? C’mon, now, who’s going believe all of that? 

As Howard Beck writes in The Times, Hollywood did not make Buss’s Lakers, Buss did. He played the part of show business mogul to a T, as Bill Dwyre writes in The Los Angeles Times, but the best of his many sides is what shined brightest. As Magic Johnson told Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times after spending several hours of Buss’s last day with him, “Without Dr. Jerry Buss, there is no Magic.” Without his vision, which was his defining characteristic, writes Ramona Shelburne on ESPN.com, there is no Showtime. He brought together the star players, the great basketball minds, added the layer of glamour that became the Lakers’ mystique and set it free to work its wonders. 

Buss might live on longest in the loyalty of the players who loved him, with Adrian Wojnarowski writing on Yahoo.com about his indelible impact on Kobe Bryant. The creation they all enjoyed is hardly assured of living on after his death because, as Bill Simmons writes on ESPN.com, it’s no coincidence that the Lakers started going south just as Buss became ill. The future under Buss’s heirs is no certainty, Ken Berger writes on CBSSports.com, mostly because Buss had six children but he has no equal in N.B.A. empire-building. Even by Hollywood’s standards, Buss was larger than life.
Jerry Buss, center, and the Laker Girls cheerleaders,
after his star was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006.
The rest of sports would wish for a little of Buss’s magic dust to waft on over to their corner of the universe. Certainly the world of women’s basketball wishes for some star-making power to give Baylor’s Brittney Griner her due. Because even as she led Baylor to a win at Connecticut, she is far from the biggest spectacle in college sports. 

No, the college world spent Monday under the circling clouds of gloom, thanks to the N.C.A.A.'s botched investigation of the University of Miami, in which everyone comes out looking varying degrees of awful, but no one worse than the N.C.A.A. itself, as Dave Hyde writes in The Sun-Sentinel. The N.C.A.A. president Mark Emmert’s answer was to duck responsibility again and anoint Julie Roe Lach, the vice president for enforcement, as this mess’s scapegoat, writes Dana O’Neil on ESPN.com. When does everyone realize the whole system needs to be demolished, Stewart Mandel writes on SI.com, before it can restore even a shred of credibility to the process? 

Miami is fighting back, with the university president, Donna E. Shalala, calling for the N.C.A.A. to end the investigation with its self-imposed penalties in place. This is justified, writes Greg Cote in The Miami Herald, because how can the N.C.A.A. punish corruption among members while tolerating its own?
If only everything were as simple as the unvarnished entertainment that Jerry Buss unleashed on the N.B.A. Simple, outrageously successful and now dimmed. — The New York Times

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