The NBA world lost a legend in Dr. Jerry Buss as the long-time owner of the Los Angeles Lakers passed away on Monday at the age of 80. Hugh Hefner needs no introduction. The founder and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises had a close relationship with Buss. Here’s Hef’s take on all the great times he had with the Lakers’ visionary owner. Hugh Hefner joined ESPN Los Angeles with Max and Marcellus to discuss his relationship with Dr. Jerry Buss, whether or not Buss was a playboy, seeing the legendary Lakers owner at a lot of playboy parties and the personality of Buss.
What can you tell us about your relationship with Dr. Jerry Buss and who he was to you?
“He was a very dear and very special man. He had many, many friends here and around the country and abroad. I was caught before this interview trying to remember exactly how our paths initially crossed and I suppose it was probably Playboy parties. That’s where most of my social gatherings are connected to at the mansion. I was also repaid the pleasure by going to a number of Lakers games over the years as a guest of Jerry’s and sitting in his box. To say that he will be missed is really an understatement — as a human being, but also what he brought to the game. He brought in a very unique way a bit of Hollywood to the basketball game and as I say he will be truly missed.”
How big of a playboy was Dr. Jerry Buss?
“Well I really can’t speak from personal experience. [Both hosts laugh] He,as I have tried to do over the years, defied the limitations in terms of age and it was more than simply — he was young for his years and he had as many female friends as males, but he had a great many male friends, too. What he brought to the game as I say was unique and he will be truly missed.”
From being around Dr. Jerry Buss did you ever get a sense of where his business drive came from?
“Not really from that sense, but that is why we probably were friends. The common connection for us was not publishing and it was not sports. It was not basketball. The common connection was the socializing, and as I said before, I don’t remember how exactly we met, but I think it was probably at a Playboy party and we threw a lot of them and he was at a lot of them.”
What about the man and personality of Dr. Jerry Buss will you take from him?
“Well I think he was a very special human being. He had many, many friends, plus he was a really outgoing person with a warm personality who cared about people.”