The City of Angels is weeping.
In a land that’s built more on dreams and fantasies, the death of Los Angeles Lakers owner and patriarch Dr. Jerry Buss’ passing comes as a shocking reminder that no matter the glitz and opulence of Hollywood, reality has a serious way of keeping all of us in check.
We all remember Dr. Buss as the architect behind the Lakers, one of the most storied franchises in the history of professional sports. Under his stewardship, the Lakers won 10 NBA titles spanning three-something decades, a feat that no other sports team in the US can come close to replicating. To say that the man wasn’t revered in sports circles is just flat out wrong. Dr. Buss’ imprint in the world of professional sports is second to none and his passing after a lengthy battle of cancer is a stark reminder that even the best of men eventually can’t be on top forever.
But for all of Buss’ accomplishments as one of the most successful and decorated owners in professional sports history, we also remember him for being an adept poker player, having been a long-time participant in high-stakes poker games and tournaments. He even skipped an NBA Finals game once to play in a World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas. That’s how much of a poker nut Jerry Buss was.
And that’s precisely why the poker world is grieving over this loss about as much as the sports world is. Despite being one of the most famous people in the US, especially in Los Angeles, Dr. Buss always carried himself with the grace and humility of a man who treated everybody like his equal. He was a competitive man on the felt – and a pretty good one too, cashing in four times at the WSOP and even reaching a final table once in 1991 – but in the end, he had the kind of aura about him that made it impossible for anybody not to like him, even if they rooted against the Lakers.
For their part, the World Series of Poker released a statement shortly after news of Jerry Buss’ passing made the wires. We’re sad to hear about the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss. A class act whose kindness and intelligence always stood out at the poker table. Jerry epitomizes what makes the game of poker so great,” the WSOP said.
Fittingly, the WSOP is also is considering honoring the man by renaming one of its gold-bracelet events at the WSOP after him. “”At the appropriate time, we will seek to ask the family to honor [Jerry’s] legacy by possibly naming our WSOP Seven Card Stud Championship (Buss’ favorite game) after him or awarding the victor a special perpetual trophy in his honor,” a WSOP representative told TMZ.
It’s a fitting tribute that we certainly hope the WSOP delivers on.
Rest in Peace, Dr. Buss.