Sadly, sports fans and others have said their goodbyes to Dr. Buss. He died last week in Los Angeles, in his 80th year. He was more than the owner of the most successful Franchise in the NBA. He was a brilliant, gentle man, who was so approachable that most people felt that they knew him.
If you were around him at all, you could not detect his ego, but you could sense his awesome intelligence. He was a listener and an observer. Prior to going into the Real Estate business, he taught Chemistry at USC, and his annual salary was around $12,000 per year. He had received his Ph.D. there at the age of 24. He could solve complex mathematical problems, without the aid of pen and paper, or a computer. After he purchased the Lakers, they won 10 championships. Under his leadership, they almost seemed destined to win. He did not seek the spotlight, or personal glory. He wanted the focus to always be on his beloved Lakers. He was so good at what he did, that it almost seemed that anyone could do it.
Without the Lakers and the Trojan football team, local sports fans have mostly been stuck in a sea of mediocrity. Consider the sad plight of the USC basketball teams, the UCLA basketball and football teams, the Clippers, and the Dodgers. Mostly they did not win, and only occasionally were they competitive. You gave us the Showtime Lakers and we enjoyed the excitement that they brought since you have not been running the team yourself the past few years, we have just begun to realize how difficult it is to be successful. Thank you, Dr. Buss!
The NBA just completed its All Star Week. They have tried to take a page out of the NFL Playbook, and make this a compelling event. They do have great athletes showing off their remarkable skills. However, please forgive me, I found most of it boring. I don't have any suggestions for them, other than less may be better.
Does this Area now have a great college or professional coach? This is the city that was once home to John Wooden, John McKay, Pat Riley, Tommy Lasorda, Pete Carroll, Phil Jackson, Jerry Tarkanian, and others of that caliber. Do we really think that the present coaches have the ability to inspire their teams and the fans? I don't think so. Therefore, we need to be prepared to do some serious suffering, before things get better.
Will Dwight Howard remain with the Lakers after this season? Does it matter? Some talented players are simply unable to perform well when the stage is large. There is more scrutiny and pressure in places like New York City, Boston and Los Angeles. The Fans in the cities demand the best that you have, every time you play. They will not accept slackers or players who want to coast through the games. Howard is a good player and he has been injured. Even so, many fans are questioning his absolute will to win. So, if things don't improve from here this season, he may want to slink back to Orlando, or to some other small-market team.
Another NFL football player has been arrested in New York City for illegally carrying a firearm. The weapon was detected when he was trying to board an airplane. His name is Da'Quan Bowers, and he plays Defensive End for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He apparently had not heard of Plaxico Burress and his gun adventure in New York City. Burress was caught with a firearm, and this led him to serving three years in prison. The same fate likely awaits Mr. Bowers. I just do not understand why men who are about 6'8" tall and weigh around 280 pounds feel the need to carry a pistol with them. If you know why they do that, will you be kind enough to explain it to me?