Nov 14, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss attends the NCAA basketball game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Southern California Trojans at the Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA wouldn’t be one of them most popular sports today without the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Lakers wouldn’t be the Lakers without Owner Jerry Buss, who sadly passed away today at the age of 79 due to an undisclosed form of cancer. He underwent an undisclosed surgery last August and was admitted a month earlier for what the team called dehydration.
LA has been very successful under Buss’ ownership, winning ten NBA championships with hall-of-famers across three decades, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and now Kobe Bryant.
Buss originally purchased the Lakers n 1979, when the NBA Finals were still on tape delay. The purchase price, $67.5 million, and it the largest transaction in sports history at that time. The NBA has since rose to beomce one of the top-3 American professional sports leagues there is.
Buss’ son Jim Buss has taken over the basketball operations and daughter Jeanie is running the business side. Jerry also owned the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
The Lakers franchise have a massive TV deal with Time Warner Cable, which was recently valued at $1 billion by Forbes magazine. Only one other NBA franchise, the New York Knicks, was deemed more valuable.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said this in a recent interview about Buss:
"Jerry Buss helped set the league on the course it is on today. 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."
Our thoughts and prayers go out to one of the greatest owners in the history of professional sports.