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Los Angeles Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies

Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss has died. Buss had been fighting on undisclosed form of cancer, but according to Buss’ assistant, Bob Steiner, the “immediate cause of death was kidney failure.” He was 80.

Buss bought the Los Angeles Lakers, along with the Los Angeles Kings and the Forum, in 1979 for $67.5 million. Today, the Lakers are the second most valuable NBA franchise at $1 billion (behind the New York Knicks).

According to ESPN:

Under Buss’ ownership, the Lakers won NBA titles in 1980, ’82, ’85, ’87, ’88, 2000, ’01, ’02, ’09 and ’10. Among the all-time greats who played for the Lakers during Buss’ tenure were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Buss was credited with introducing ‘Showtime’ to Los Angeles, bringing entertaining basketball to the Entertainment Capital of the World. He once said his goal was to make the Lakers synonymous with Los Angeles, which had been a Dodgers town up until the time he bought the team. Most would say he succeeded.

Buss was born in Salt Lake City and was raised in Wyoming. He attended USC as a graduate student and later became a chemistry professor working for the Bureau of Mines. However, it was as a real estate investor where Buss made his fortune.

In an Associated Press report:

Few owners have ever been more beloved by their players than Buss, who always referred to the Lakers as his extended family. Working with front-office executives Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak, Buss spent lavishly to win his titles despite lacking a huge personal fortune, often running the NBA’s highest payroll while also paying high-profile coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.

Details regarding a memorial and funeral have not been released at this time.

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