Sad news for Laker nation today. The Lakers majority owner, Dr. Jerry Buss has passed away at 80. Dr. Buss has been hospitalized for several months battling cancer. Buss set the standard of the NBA has we know it. Purchasing the Lakers franchise along with the Forum and the NHL’s Kings in 1979 from Jack Kent Cooke for $67.5 million.
Dr. Buss made his fortune in real estate but the Lakers became his passion. Under his ownership, the Lakers won 10 NBA championships – the most of any current NBA owner- and appeared in 16 NBA Finals. Dr. Buss also owned the WNBA franchise of the LA Sparks who won two back-to-back WNBA titles.
Dr. Buss was also the creator of “Showtime,” he knew that the on court game was only part of the experience. He also was one of the first owners to negotiate arena naming rights with the deal made in 1988 with Great Western Bank for the Forum. As well as pioneering regional broadcast cable coverage with the creation of Prime Ticket which later became Fox Sports West. In 2006 Dr. Buss received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
The players, coaches and broadcasters that were with the Lakers organization under Dr. Buss’ tenure reads like a whose who of the Hall of Fame; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard. Coaching legends,Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. And of course broadcaster Chick Hearn.
Rest in Paradise Dr. Buss. Sending love, light and prayers to the Buss family and Laker Nation.