Lakers’ Jerry Buss elected to Hall of Fame
Lakers owner Jerry Buss on Monday was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the role he has played in helping to shape today’s NBA.
He will be inducted with the Class of 2010 on Aug. 13 in Springfield, Mass.
Buss bought the Lakers in 1979 and has presided over nine NBA championships, including last season. The Lakers have been to 15 NBA Finals during his ownership.
Entering this season, the Lakers had the NBA’s highest overall regular-season winning percentage (66%) since Buss took over.
In Buss’ first season, Magic Johnson was the rookie star who ushered in the Lakers’ “Showtime” era. Buss also made the games more entertaining, bringing in the Laker Girls and having Hollywood stars sit courtside.
“This is an overwhelming honor and one that I never anticipated when I began my ownership of the Lakers 31 years ago,” Buss said in a statement. “I truly thank everyone involved for according me the privilege of being a member of such a prestigious body as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Buss will be in the Hall of Game class with Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Cynthia Cooper, Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson, the 1960 USA men’s Olympic team and the 1992 USA basketball “Dream Team,” high school coach Bob Hurley and international star Maciel Pereira.
Magic Johnson, a minority owner of the Lakers, was among those who pushed for Buss to get into the Hall of Fame.
Johnson said that after Pistons owner Bill Davidson was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2008, he started making calls to make sure Buss also was inducted.
“He’s so excited and I’m excited for him,” Johnson said. “This is great for him and also Lakers fans. All the players get so much credit, but we need to give him credit too.”
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was fined $35,000 Monday by the NBA for criticizing game officials following Sunday’s 100-81 loss against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center.
Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom were given technical fouls during the game, as was San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili. In the second quarter, Artest and Ginobili got technicals after an inbounds pass.
Bryant tried to talk to referee Bennett Salvatore on behalf of Artest, but Salvatore gave Bryant a technical, and that bothered Jackson.
“Didn’t look like Kobe berated him at all,” Jackson said after the game. “But with Bennett, you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
The Lakers didn’t practice Monday and Jackson was not available for comment.
More details emerged about Bryant’s contract extension that he signed Friday. The guard’s three-year deal is worth $83.546 million, just below the league maximum of about $90 million, according to several NBA team officials who were not authorized to speak publicly.
His three-year deal averages out to $27.85 million per season.
Bryant, who earns $23 million this season and $24.8 million next season, will get $25.244 million for the 2011-12 season, $27.849 million 2012-13 and $30.453 million in the 2013-14 season when he turns 35.
Bryant, 31, has a no-trade clause in the contract, but he doesn’t have an opt-out clause as he had in his last contract.
However, if Bryant does accept a trade, his contract has a trade kicker that could be worth as much as 15% of the remaining years left on the contract.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum had another MRI exam Monday that revealed he still has a strained left Achilles’ tendon. The Lakers said there was no timetable for Bynum’s return. The Lakers play again Thursday at Denver.