After being in and out of hospitals for cancer treatment over the past 18 months, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away at the age of 80 on Monday from complications from the disease. Although he had not disclosed his condition publicly, he did inform friends, family and Lakers employees. As his condition worsened in recent weeks, he invited and received numerous visitors before his passing, including several prominent Lakers players.
After buying the Lakers in 1979, Buss – along with Magic Johnson – ushered in the “Showtime” era of the 1980s, an era that produced five NBA championships. He later guided the Lakers to five more NBA titles between 2000 and 2010, giving him 10 total as an owner.
He will be remembered, not only for his team’s success, but also for the degree of showmanship he brought to the NBA. The “Showtime” dynasty of the 80s was not just about basketball, but about entertaining the fans, which was something Buss became very good at.
“Jerry Buss helped set the league on the course it is on today,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “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.”
Buss was beloved by Lakers fans, players, but also the sports community at large. He will leave the Lakers to the Buss family as two of his six children – Jim and Jeanie Buss – currently help run the organization.
“We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community,” the Buss family said in a statement issued by the Lakers, via ESPN.com.
“It was our father’s often-stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well, and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.”
Buss is survived by former wife JoAnn, six children and eight grandchildren. Interbasket,net sends its deepest condolences to the Buss family during this time.
Gerald Hatten Buss – 1933-2013