Dwight Howard talks about his direct experience with Dr. Buss and the impact the owner had on the Lakers worldwide brand.
The passing of the great Dr. Jerry Buss may have had a greater impact on the future of the Los Angeles Lakers than most anyone could have imagined. Seemingly, the death of the Lakers’ owner has resulted in Dwight Howard finally coming to grips with what it truly means to be a Los Angeles Laker.
Fans and media alike were not convinced by Howard’s play, words, or actions prior to Wednesday night’s win over the Boston Celtics, but his effort and words carried more weight than they had prior to the passing.
After a pregame ceremony dedicated to the Dr. Buss, Howard started the game with good energy, and the Lakers went on to take care of the Celtics in blow out fashion.
After the game, Howard was reflective about Dr. Buss.
“From the time that I spent with him at the hospital, he was great to me,” Howard said about the Lakers’ former owner. “From what I’ve heard from people around the team, the organization, the fans and everything, he was a great guy.”
Beyond simply talking about the man, though, Howard displayed an understanding of what Buss was able to accomplish with the team.
“He did what he wanted to do with this team,” Howard continued. “Everything in LA is about the Lakers. That’s what he wanted. He wanted everybody to know who this team was and what LA stood for. And you see it. People have [tattoos]; people have cars with ‘Lakers’ all over it.”
As he continued speaking, his voice grew stronger in his admiration of what the late Dr. Buss was able to accomplish with the team and the global brand of the Lakers.
“Everywhere you go around the world, people love the Lakers,” Howard concluded. “What he wanted, he accomplished.”
Considering Howard’s effort on Wednesday night and his words following the game, the passing of the great Dr. Buss and public outpour over his death may have helped the Lakers’ newest big man finally grasp what it means to be part of the Los Angeles Lakers family.
After Wednesday night, Howard’s long-term stay in Los Angeles appears more likely than ever.
Even in death, Dr. Buss somehow gets the best out of his star players.
Howard will attend Dr. Buss’s memorial service on Thursday along with his Lakers teammates.