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Phil Jackson says Jerry Buss knows when to hold them…

Mar 19, 2010, 10:16 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for NBA_philjackson.jpgDuring his pregame meeting with the press, there was plenty of talk comparing the Lakers organization and its history of success, and what they are trying to build in Minnesota (with former Lakers assistant and still legend Kurt Rambis).

Ownership is at the heart of that, and Phil Jackson was candid in a monologue about what he thinks set Jerry Buss apart from other owners.

“He’s a gambler,” Jackson said. “He knows the odds, he knows when to take the risks. I think he carries that sense of this is a risk/reward type of game, and what are the rewards with the risk I’ve thrown out there in each situation.

“This year he took the big risk and brought Lamar (Odom) back, so we could get back to where we are the championship, that we could have a shot at that championship again. But that was a big pill to chew for an organization that has never lost money in the however many years he has owned the team, 30 years (31, actually). I know that was something he had to convince himself of. I had to convince him of, and stay after it that it was imperative for us to stay with this crew, this group of guys.

“I think Jerry was very close to his teams in the ’80s, the Showtime teams,” Jackson continued. “And I think he learned something from that. He learned that you can be friends with these guys, but time passes, a generation passes. There’s some heartache involved in that. There’s some pain involved in it the closer you get to the guys.

“I think he admires this team, I think he likes his athletes. He has an ability to stay removed and yet attached to them.”

It should be added that while Buss gambled and brought Odom back, he also gambled with Odom, calling his bluff, and betting he would play in Los Angeles for less than he was offered elsewhere. Buss won that bet, too.

  1. Lion Woods - Mar 20, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Being a huge Lakers guy I have to agree that Dr. Jerry Buss has the midas touch when it comes to owning such a storied franchise. With Abdul-Jabbar in place and adding the greatest player ever in Magic Johnson back in 1979 a nutless monkey could have owned the team and the Lakers would have still won those 80’s championships. Fast forward to Y2K and you have a legendary owner with a legendary coach in Phil Jackson. Buss’s ability to reinvent the team time and again with the pairing of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant then allowing the further morphing of a championship franchise by keeping the main ingredient in the mix with the retention of Kobe is sheer genius. The current wave of Lakers’ championships will further cement Kobe’s legacy right along with Jackson’s and thus the owner; Dr. Jerry Buss.

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