The Los Angeles Lakers honored former team owner Jerry Buss Wednesday before the team’s first game since Buss died.
Buss, who was 80 years old when he died on Monday, bought the Lakers in 1979. The team won 10 NBA championships during his 34 years of ownership.
Buss was honored with a tribute video, speech from Kobe Bryant, and moment of silence before the team’s game against the Boston Celtics.
The video showed several pictures of Buss throughout the years. After the video tribute ended, Bryant, speaking with his voice trembling with emotion, honored Buss with his words. He led a moment of silence where the arena went dark with just a spotlight focused on Buss’ chair in his owner’s suite.
An audio clip then played of Buss talking about his vision of making the Lakers as strongly associated with the city of Los Angeles as possible.
“The real purpose of what I do is to try to have the city totally involved and identify with it. I wanted that when you think LA, ‘Oh wait, that’s where the Lakers played.’ Lakers, Lakers — that’s what I wanted,” Buss said in a clip recorded Feb. 16, 2011.
After the video played, ESPN went back to its studios where Magic Johnson, who was drafted by the team and won five championships with the franchise, broke down emotionally. He talked about how Buss’ door was open to everyone, and how helpful Buss was to so many people. Magic then touched on the future of the franchise and urged Buss’ children to keep the team in the family.
“I hope they never sell the team. I love him,” Magic said.
The Lakers will be wearing patches on their jerseys to honor Buss for the rest of the season:
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 20, 2013
Video via @Jose3030Google+