Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers’ owner has died, according to a Feb. 18 Los Angeles Times report. The 80-year-old died from kidney failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Buss was a real estate tycoon and self-made millionaire who purchased the Lakers, as well as the Forum and the NHL's Kings in 1979 from Jack Kent Cooke for a reported $67 million.
He set a successful path for legendary players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson to today’s star Kobe Bryant. Buss, who was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Wyoming made basketball not only an enjoyable sport, but the height of entertainment. He turned the Lakers’ into the reason why celebrities clamor for courtside seats at every home game –“showtime.” Under the helm of his ownership, the Lakers have scored 10 of their 16 of their NBA titles.
“I really tried to create a Laker image, a distinct identity,” Buss said. “I mean, the Lakers are pretty damn Hollywood.” He is touted as a pioneer among team owners. “Jerry Buss helped set the league on the course it is on today,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “Remember, he showed us it was about 'Showtime,' the notion that an arena can become the focal point for not just basketball, but entertainment. He made it the place to see and be seen.”
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