LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A memorial patch will be donned by the Lakers on their jerseys in honor of the team’s longtime owner Jerry Buss, who passed away in Los Angeles on Monday.
The patch will include a design of Buss’ initials, utilizing the franchise’s colors, and will be worn on the right shoulder of the team’s jerseys. The patches will be available for sale in the team store, and all proceeds will go to the Lakers Youth Foundation.
Buss’ passing was announced in a statement by his family after the late owner’s battle with cancer.
“We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community,” the family’s statement said. “(Dr. Buss showed his amazing strength and will to live. It was our father’s often stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.”
NBA personalities from around the country expressed condolences through a flood of social media and released statements, including:
Hall of Famer and Former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “When someone as celebrated and charismatic as Jerry Buss dies, we are reminded of two things. First, just how much one person with vision and strength of will can accomplish. Second, how fragile each of us is, regardless of how powerful we were. Those two things combine to inspire us to reach for the stars, but also to remain with our feet firmly on the ground among our loved ones. Dr.Buss embodied that compassionate entrepreneurial spirit. He strove to reach greater heights without forgetting his community roots. During his stewardship, the Lakers exemplified his personal standards of excellence and became one of the dominant teams in the NBA and a force of good within the community. The man may be gone, but he has made us all better people for knowing him.”
Heat president Pat Riley: “Today, in the world of sports, we have lost a true giant. Jerry Buss was more than just an owner. He was one of the great innovators that any sport has ever encountered. He was a true visionary and it was obvious with the Lakers in the 80’s that ‘Showtime’ was more than just Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was really the vision of a man who saw something that connected with a community. I was privileged to be part of that for 10 years and even more grateful for the friendship that has lasted all these many years. I have always come to realize that if it weren’t for Dr. Buss, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I owe my start in professional coaching to him, and I will always hold him and his memory in the highest of regards. Chris and I truly love Jerry Buss. He was a great friend and will be missed.”
NBA commissioner David Stern: “The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come. More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”
Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf: ”We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss, Los Angeles Lakers owner and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Over the decades he made significant contributions to the game of basketball and built one of the premier franchises in the NBA. Many of his ideas not only brought about change within our sport, but also revolutionized aspects of the business of all professional sports. On behalf of the Chicago Bulls organization, we express our sincere condolences to the Buss family and the Lakers organization.”
Blazers owner Paul Allen: “The NBA, and indeed all of sports ownership, has lost a titan and innovator in Dr. Jerry Buss. At a time when professional basketball needed an infusion of new thinking and vision, Dr. Buss stepped forward in ways that truly redefined our game on and off the court. He will be missed as a father, owner, leader and friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Buss family and the entire Los Angeles Lakers organization.”
A memorial service is planned for Thursday at the Nokia Theater.