Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss died on Monday. Although details about his passing are scarce, it is known that Buss had been suffering from an undisclosed form of cancer for some time. He was 80 years old.
The Lakers won 10 NBA titles while Buss was owner of the team. He drafted or signed some of the greatest stars in NBA history to the organization, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
As noted by ESPN, Buss was credited with introducing "Showtime" to Los Angeles. When he took over the Lakers, Los Angeles was mainly known for being home to its beloved baseball team, The Dodgers. Buss’ objective was to make the city of Los Angeles synonymous with the Lakers and many people would probably say that he accomplished his goal.
Buss purchased the team from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979 for $67.5 million. According to Forbes magazine, the Lakers are now worth $1 billion. It is believed that the only franchise worth more than the Lakers is the New York Knicks.
Although Buss had stopped running the day-to-day operations of the team, he was involved in the Lakers' acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard during the summer. Unfortunately he had not been able to attend a game this season.
Buss had been hospitalized several times in the past two years. In December of 2011 he began suffering from blood clots in his legs. His children, Jim and Jeanie, will continue to run basketball and business operations for the franchise.
Born on Jan. 27, 1933 as Gerald Hatten Buss, the Utah native received a doctorate in physical chemistry from USC. He attended the University of Wyoming as an undergraduate. Buss made his money in real estate. His career started with a $1,000 investment in a Los Angeles-area apartment building.