Ask any random Laker fan for their thoughts on Mark Cuban and they probably won’t be very kind.
Cuban is the most accessible owner in the NBA, and most the time, he acts like a regular fan while cheering on his Dallas Mavericks.
He’ll curse out the officials, he’ll talk trash via Twitter and he even suggested the Lakers consider amnestying Kobe Bryant last year.
And, of course, that turned lots of heads in Lakerland.
Despite all that, Cuban appreciates greatness when he sees it, and that’s exactly why he calls the late Dr. Jerry Buss “by far the best owner in the history of the NBA.”
However, before you all become instant Cuban fans, it’s worth noting that the 55-year-old also questioned whether the Lakers would ever be able to regain their lure now that Dr. Buss is no longer with us.
“Jerry Buss was the Lakers, so I don’t know if the Lakers will ever be the Lakers,” Cuban said, according to Eddie Sefko from the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t think there was a smarter owner in the history of the NBA than Jerry Buss. So that’s tough to replace. I don’t think people realize just how good an owner Jerry was.
“He just understood fans, entertainment, players, how to balance all of it together, how to deal with the NBA, when to listen to David (Stern), when to ignore him, when to tell him what to do. He had that breadth of skills that every time I spoke to him – usually I’m the one who does all the talking, it’s just a force of habit. But when we sat down, I did all the listening. I don’t think there’s any question he was by far the best owner in the history of the NBA.”
Cuban also revealed that Dr. Buss almost mentored the entrepreneur during his early years with the Mavericks.
“When we were turning things around (with the Mavericks), he said don’t listen to the naysayers. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I owe him a lot, and I told Jeanie (Buss) all this.”
These are extremely kind words from Cuban, and they’re mostly true, too.
However, I’m not so sure that I agree with Cuban’s statement that the Lakers will never be the Lakers again.
Cuban himself said that Dr. Buss was the smartest owner this league has ever seen, so why should we doubt his final, extremely calculated decision to leave his son, Jim, and Mitch Kupchak in charge of Lakers’ the basketball operations while his daughter, Jeanie, takes care of the business side of things?
Dr. Buss knew what he was doing, people. I think his track record speaks for itself.