LOS ANGELES — In a rather roundabout way, Los Angeles Lakers owner

Jerry Buss can take a slice of credit for the Jazz being his franchise's

opponent in their second-round NBA playoff series that gets underway

today.

That's the extrapolation from one of many

Jazz-related anecdotes in \"Driven,\" the newly released autobiography of

late Jazz owner Larry H. Miller ($25.99; Deseret Book).

After agreeing to purchase half of the

franchise from former owner Sam Battistone, a sale that paved the way to

his saving the team and eventually buying it in full, Miller was

questioned by members of the NBA's finance committee.

He was getting grilled during a meeting in

New York by then-San Antonio Spurs owner Angelo Drossos when, as Miller

remembers, Buss came to his rescue.

Recalls Miller in the book: \"Angelo, for some

reason, took the lead in the meeting and asked me a question. Midway

through my answer, he interrupted and asked me another question. Midway

through my next question, he interrupted me again with another question.

... After the fifth interruption, Buss, whom I had never met,

interrupted Angelo.

\" 'Angelo, why don't you shut up and let him

answer a question?' ... Jerry saved me that day. I won approval from the

owners.\"

Had he not, the Jazz might not exist today —

and there's no telling whom the Lakers might be playing this postseason.A few other newsy and notable Jazz anecdotes from \"Driven\":Miller reveals the long-secret story of former

center Greg Ostertag's worst pass ever: \"Once, in the locker room at

halftime, (coach) Jerry (Sloan) was talking to the team and said

something that Greg Ostertag didn't like.\"Ostertag threw a bag of

ice at Sloan's head.

\"Jerry simply moved his

head to one side to dodge the ice and then kept talking as if nothing

had happened.\"

Miller remembers some of the pampered demands star

Karl Malone had negotiated into his final contract with the Jazz,

including a secluded hotel room on a different floor than his teammates

and a fruit basket upon arrival at each hotel:

\"I guess the clincher

came about six months later when the agent (Dwight Manley) called

(then-team president) Denny (Haslam) again and said, '... Lately the

fruit baskets have been getting smaller.' Denny swallowed real hard and

said, 'What do you want — more apples or bananas?' The answer, 'More of

everything.' \"Collaborator Doug Robinson, a Deseret News

columnist and feature writer, describes how Malone spent four days with

Miller as the Jazz owner endured a lengthy pre-death hospital stay:

\"Malone became another nurse for Miller. He fetched cold towels and

glasses of water; he massaged Larry's arm and wiped his mouth and helped

him in and out of his wheelchair and bed.\"

Miller shares the

story of an NBA Board of Governors meeting in which late Detroit Pistons

owner Bill Davidson, then age 80, dressed down brash new Dallas

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who \"made billions at a young age in cable

and computer businesses\":

\"During the meeting, he (Cuban) got on his

soapbox about something and started talking and went on and on like this

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for some time. I guess you would say he was full of himself. ...

(Davidson) listened to the rant patiently, and finally, when Cuban

stopped, he said, 'As far as I'm concerned, you're a snot-nosed punk who

got lucky.' ... Cuban shut up for the rest of the day.\"


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com