Jerry Buss, the self-made millionaire and the longtime owner of the Lakers who led the team to 10 NBA championships, died Monday. He was 80.
Buss was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center last week with an undisclosed form of cancer.
He charted his successful course with marquee players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Hall of Fame coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, celebrities sitting courtside and Laker Girls dancing during timeouts.
“I really tried to create a Laker image, a distinct identity,” Buss said. “I mean, the Lakers are pretty damn Hollywood.”
In 1979, Buss and his partners bought the Lakers, the Forum, the NHL’s Kings and a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County for $67 million from Jack Kent Cooke.
“Jerry Buss helped set the league on the course it is on today,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said.
“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.”
Your Jersey Girlfriend,