Today the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA community mourn the passing of Jerry Buss. The Lakers owner passed away today at the age of 80 years old at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The news was sent out by Buss’ assistant Bob Steiner.
Buss was in and out of the hospital for the past year and a half as he was battling cancer. Reports are saying the cause of his death is because of kidney failure. David Stern talked about Buss saying, “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.”
Lakers great James Worthy shared his thoughts on Twitter, “Condolences to the Buss family. Dr Buss was not only the greatest sports owner, but a true friend & just a really cool guy. Loved him dearly.”
The Buss Family released this statement about Jerry, “We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community. It was our father’s often-stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well, and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.” The Lakers are run by Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, two of Jerry’s six children.
In 1979 Buss purchased the Lakers for $67.5 million from Jack Kent Cook. Last month according to Forbes magazine the Lakers have an estimated worth of $1 billion. Under his ownership the Lakers won 10 NBA Finals Championships out of their 16 appearances.
Over the years Buss set the Lakers up with outstanding players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaq, and Kobe Bryant as well as two of the most successful NBA head coaches in Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Buss will be remembered for creating a winning franchise that had talent and flash. He molded the team to create that Showtime era in Los Angeles. Buss will definitely be missed in Los Angeles, the NBA, and was respected by coaches and players from many different eras in the NBA.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted, “RIP Jerry Buss. Your encouragement and support along with your stories of staying true to yourself had an enormous impact on me.” I think many people echo Cuban’s statement.