BY LOREN BRANCH
In the midst of the Lakers’ disappointing season, the team took a loss off the court with the passing of long-time owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss was an innovator and game-changer for not only the Lakers but the NBA and the city of Los Angeles as well. If it was not for his vision and great business mind, the Lakers franchise would not have the prestige it does today.
With Dr. Buss’ passing, there are a lot of general questions about the team. Obviously, it is the media’s job to seek the answers to these questions and report them to the public. With that in mind, the media has been very polite and understanding while trying to get a feel for what’s next for the Lakers and the Buss family.
On the emotional day of Dr. Buss’ death, a press conference was held with the Buss family speaker where he was asked questions about the future of the team and their ownership. In situations like these, there is always a possibility a reporter will ask an unnecessary or disrespectful question, but no one did. None of the reporters heckled the speaker in any way; when he ended a sentence with: “That is all I am going to say at this time,” reporters moved on to the next question. In addition, there were a couple of questions asked about Dr. Buss’ personality and great memories, which created a positive feel to the press conference.
Since the day of his death, there has been nothing but positive media coverage on Dr. Buss’ accomplishments. The best moment came during the pregame show for the Lakers v. Celtics game, two days after the passing. There was a short speech given by Kobe Bryant at Staples Center, followed by a moment of silence with a spotlight on the seat where he used to sit and watch every game. After the moment of silence, ESPN went back to the studio and there was an emotional and brief statement made by Magic Johnson where he expressed his love and appreciation for Dr. Buss.
The level of respect this situation has been shown is tremendous and the media’s coverage has been nothing but positive. ESPN and all the other media outlets that have covered this tragedy have done a great job giving Buss and his family the respect they deserve.