Howland comments on Dr. Buss’ death

UCLA coach Ben Howland commented today on the death of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who passed away Monday morning after an 18-month battle with cancer.

“It was really sad. Jerry Buss was really nice to me during my tenure here,” said Howland, now in his 10th year with the Bruins. “I’ve been in his box a couple of times. What he meant to this city of L.A., with everything he’s done with the Lakers and their organization. He’s been great for basketball. As Magic (Johnson) spoke of last night, and a lot of people, he brought the whole event and ‘Showtime’ really to basketball. It’s incredible.

“I was listening to all the stuff they were doing on it last night. In 1979, the Finals, the year they won it, with Magic, part of that was tape-delayed. Can you imagine? That part of that was tape-delayed? That the NBA Championship? Such a different era.”

A private memorial service will be held 3 p.m. Thursday at the Nokia Center.