Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away yesterday of kidney failure. He had also been battling cancer. Buss was 80.
A chemist by training, Buss attained his wealth through real estate and in 1979 bought the Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings, The Forum and a ranch from Jack Kent Cooke.
Under Buss’ stewardship, the Lakers have become the most successful franchise in the NBA if not all of professional sports. The Lakers have reached the NBA Finals 16 times and have won 10 NBA titles in all.
Buss was not so successful with the Kings selling them in 1987. He also owned the Los Angeles String (team tennis), the Los Angeles Lazers (indoor soccer) and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
In a 1980 profile in People, Buss said, “I don’t just want winners. I want champions. Usually that means spending money, and I’m prepared to do that.” When it came to the Lakers, Buss put his money where his mouth was.