Today, the NBA lost a family member, a leader, a visionary and a friend. ESPN has announced that Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss died at the age of 80. Buss, who was recently hospitalized and has been suffering from a form of cancer, bought the Lakers in 1979 for $67.5 million and under his leadership the team has been one of the most dominant teams in the NBA winning 10 NBA titles.
Buss’ death was confirmed by his assistant Bob Steiner in an announcement that has saddened the NBA and sports community. The Lakers, under Buss’ ownership, are the second most valuable team among NBA franchises according to Forbes magazine and has been home to some of the NBA’s greatest players including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and current player Kobe Bryant.
Under Buss, “Showtime” brought excitement and dominance to the NBA as through the 80’s, the Lakers elevated their rivalry with the Boston Celtics that recently renewed in 2008 as the Lakers and Celtics faced off once again in the NBA finals.
Dr. Jerry Buss has left behind a legacy and a dream fulfilled.
A man born in 1933 who grew into a young man who graduated from USC with a doctorate in physical chemistry and a man who’s goal was to make the Lakers synonymous with Los Angeles can rest in peace knowing that he has achieved that goal and partly responsible for elevating the National Basketball Association to a new height of popularity that has now extended overseas.
Jerry Buss will be missed by players, fans, rivals and fellow owners.