Monday, February 25, 2013

Lakers owner Jerry Buss and "Showtime"

You know how, sometimes, you may know something, but you don't really appreciate the magnitude of it until you see it in print? That's how I felt when I read the obituary of long-time Los Angeles Lakers' owner, Jerry Buss, who passed away last week at the age of 80.

The Lakers were a successful NBA team prior to Buss purchasing the franchise in 1979, having appeared in 15 NBA Finals and winning six championships since coming into the league in 1949.

However, what  they did under Buss was truly extraordinary, and that brings me to what I saw in print while reading about Buss' accomplishments as an owner.

In 34 seasons with Buss as the majority owner, Los Angeles appeared in 16 NBA Finals and won an astounding 10 championships. That means, if you're around my age (late 30's/early 40's), and you started following the Lakers at an age when most kids get really into sports (around 7 or 8), you've witnessed your favorite basketball team play in the finals pretty much ever other season; that is simply incredible. Talk about spoiled. A Lakers fan must view the NBA Finals as just another round of the playoffs by now.

And the 10 championships? As a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I take great pride in my team's record six Super Bowl titles, but the  team has been around for 80 seasons. The Lakers have won 10 titles since 1980! That means, if you've been living in Los Angeles for the past 34 years, your city has had to make plans for a victory parade one of out every three seasons.

Again, does it get boring?

Maybe comparing the Lakers to the Steelers is a bit unfair. It's like comparing apples to oranges. Unlike in the NFL, where you need a lot of play-makers in just about every area of your team in order to truly be successful, all an NBA team really needs is two or three top-flight players in-order to become a legit championship contender. After that, it's just a matter of having the right role players and a coach to make it all work together.

Still though, 10 titles in 34 seasons is nothing to sneeze at.


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