I’m 33. Born in 1979. With that riveting piece of knowledge I will also disclose this, I am a Chicago Bulls fan. This isn’t news to most of you who listen to the program, being the resident Chicago sports blowhard. I grew up in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky but have strong family ties to Chicago where my sports alliances manifested, so blame my grandparents. Not having a professional basketball franchise within 100 miles probably puts most of you with myself in aligning with the Bulls. Who are we kidding? We all loved Michael Jordan.
However my earliest NBA memories contain much more than Michael…and Dave Corzine. They consist of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, and Kurt Rambis. They were of “Showtime” basketball. They were of the Los Angeles Lakers.
I was 12 when the Bulls finally broke through for a championship. So for most of us that only had the ability to watch the NBA Finals during the decade of big hair, you were either a Larry Bird and Celtics person, or with Magic and the Lakers. Myself-the latter.
I loved everything the Lakers personified. The glitz, the glamour, the excitement. It wasn’t just basketball, it was the Lakers Girls. It was The Forum. It was the Hollywood stars like Dyan Cannon and my favorite actor of all time, Jack Nicholson. It was a show along with a fast-paced, high-flying basketball act that won championships. It embodied a lifestyle. And the man that made it all happen was Dr. Jerry Buss.
When we take inventory of the past and how the NBA came to be the ultimate in sports marketing in the 80′s and 90′s it did not begin with Michael, MARS and “it’s gotta be the shoes.” It began with all I noted earlier. Dr. Buss made being at a Lakers game the thing to do, the thing to like, the thing to be a part of. And I bought it hook line and sinker.
Yes, I am a Bulls fan. But I will always have a soft spot for the purple and gold. The fast break, the no-look pass, the dunk. The Lakers Girls and the shots of Jack in shades pumping his fists. Man was that awesome.
Thanks for the memories Dr. Buss.