Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers has passed away after a battle against Cancer. 80-year old Buss was in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where kidney failure claimed his life; his assistant Bob Steiner confirmed his passing.
Buss was a rock star owner, a property mogul who brought huge success to the Lakers and also brought glitz and glamour to the Los Angeles outfit. In many ways his vision for his team shaped the franchise and helped to build a more successful NBA, while Buss will also be remembered as one of the most successful owners in NBA history.
Jerry Buss bought the LA Lakers in 1979 with the goal of turning the Lakers into a championship winning team. He ended up achieving a lot more than that as the Lakers became one of the dominant forces in the NBA over the last 30-years. However, as much as hoops fans remember Buss and the Lakers for their on court prowess, what Buss brought to the showbiz of Basketball is equally important.
Under the stewardship of Buss, the Lakers became the glamour team of Basketball; a team that boasted the best players, and the team that would have Hollywood stars courtside for every game (something that still happens). Buss could probably be described as a playboy, however cliché that term may seem, and his goal was to win on the court and to show off away from the court.
“I really tried to create a Laker image, a distinct identity,” Buss once said. “I think we’ve been successful. I mean, the Lakers are pretty damn Hollywood.”
Sure, Jerry Buss loved the glitz and the applause, but he also loved winning and he set about creating a franchise that was a force in the NBA on a consistent basis. Hiring top line coaches such as Pat Riley and Phil Jackson and coupling them with talents such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard helped the Lakers to 10 championships under Buss’ reign.
Now Buss has gone, and although his death marks an end of an era in Basketball, his legacy with the LA Lakers and the franchise he built in his own image will live on.