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Impact of Lakers owner Jerry Buss in words of those he influenced

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

Lakers owner Jerry Buss died Monday at the age of 80.

The footprint he left on the NBA and the sports landscape in Los Angeles won't soon be forgotten.

A look at the memories he left within the basketball world:

Laker Kobe Bryant: "He's meant everything to me in my career. From taking me as a 17-year-old kid coming out of high school to believing in me my whole career. For the game itself, the brand of basketball he implemented, 'Showtime,' [which] carried the league. The rivalry that took place between the Lakers and the Celtics and what that did for the global outreach of the game, it reached me and I was all the way in Italy and I was 6 years old. We never really had a conversation about wisdom. But it was more so about the team, about the game and getting this franchise where it should be. His [imprint] is beyond measure."

Lakers owner Jerry Buss dishes out the championship jewelry to Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher in 2010. (AP)

Lakers owner Jerry Buss dishes out the championship jewelry to Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher in 2010. (AP)

Former Laker Mitch Richmond: "His legacy is one of the best. He was one of the great owners. Everybody wanted to play for him like a Mark Cuban now, and everybody wanted to be in L.A. And he made sure he'd throw you a good party. … He has always been an inspiration. He's a guy you always wanted to meet. When you came into this league you really knew how he handled the team and took care of his players and the relationship he had with Magic [Johnson], Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and all these guys. So you always admired that as an owner. I think he will go down as one of the greatest [owners]."

Former Laker Rick Fox: "The people whom I trusted told me that he was cut from the same cloth in basketball that I grew up, like with Dean Smith at Carolina. I was going to get the type of experience, regardless to the financial compensation that was suited for championships. That's been his legacy. He's always done whatever it takes to get that step closer to a championship."

[Obituary: Jerry Buss, from Great Depression bread line to Lakers owner]

Former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo: "I've always had a lot of respect for him. He's been a fixture in the NBA. A strong legacy. He was in tune to a lot of new concepts as far as premium seating. He raised the bar for a lot of teams. He helped a lot of people out. Obviously, his winning speaks for [it]self. He's a quiet guy who sat in the background and never looked for personal award. He made the Lakers one of the premier teams in sports."

Sacramento Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof: "The Buss family has had an enormous impact on the NBA. They have been owners as long as any team in the league. Much of the success the NBA has had is because of the Buss family."

Rasheed Hazzard, a former Lakers scout and son of late former Laker Walt Hazzard: "We always told Dr. Buss at the games that he kept my dad alive. He gave him a reason to live. That's what Dr. Buss understood. He understood people. That was his gift and why you would run through a wall for him, because he understood people and took care of people. He got Jerry West to sign [my dad] to a contract when he was about to go into open heart surgery with a chance to die. Dr. Buss wanted him to have a three-year extension just in case so my mom would be taken care of and she wouldn't have to struggle for anything. That's the kind of guy he is. A great guy. Loyal. A loyal friend and great owner. The greatest owner in sports history. I don't know if anybody can really argue that."

[Slideshow: Jerry Buss through the years]

Former Lakers scout Bonnie-Jill Laflin, a former model and NBA and NFL cheerleader who turned into the NBA's first woman pro scout: "He was the driving force behind one of the greatest franchises in professional sports. He treated everyone in the Lakers organization like family with class and integrity. Jerry Buss can never be replaced."

NBA commissioner David Stern: "The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come. More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time."

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling: "Jerry Buss was a visionary, a winner and a dear friend. Our city will miss him, our league will miss him and the Sterling family will truly miss him."

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