Before playing their first game since the death of their iconic and legendary owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who died on Monday at the age of 80 after battling cancer, the Los Angeles Lakers honored Buss with a moving tribute before they defeated the Celtics 113-99 on Wednesday.
Bryant addressed the Staples Center crowd before game and spoke movingly of Buss.
“On Monday, we lost who we all know to be the greatest owner in sports ever.” Bryant said. “He was a brilliant, incredible owner but he was an even better person with a great heart. His vision transcended the game and we are all, all spoiled by his vision and his drive to win year, after year, after year”
Bryant asked the crowd for a moment of silence to pay tribute to Buss and pointed fans to Buss’s owner’s chair, which was empty and had a spotlight shining on it.
Buss’s luxury box was empty during the game, and the spotlight continued to shine on Buss’s seat throughout the game.
A four-minute tribute video – highlighting Buss’s greatest moments – played as well.
“The real purpose of what I did was to try to have this city totally involved and identify with it and I wanted that when you think L.A., ‘Oh, wait, that’s where the Lakers play!’ ” Buss said over the Staples Center public-address system. “Lakers. Lakers. That’s what I wanted.”
The Lakers will wear a purple and gold “JB” patch on their uniforms to honor Buss for the remainder of the year.