Jerry Buss, the outstanding owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, died at the age of 80 on Monday. Buss died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the cause of death was Kidney failure. Buss had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai for the past 18 months while undergoing cancer treatment.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said that “the NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come. More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend."
While Buss was the owner of the Lakers, the team won 10 championships, while appearing in the NBA Finals 16 times. He brought superstars to LA such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, James Worthy, Pau Gasol, and star coaches as well such as Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.
The Lakers were always a big time team with a legit chance to win the championship under the ownership of Dr. Buss. He believed in winning now...there was no rebuild mode in LA. He has to go down as the greatest owner in NBA history. No other owner has bought so many titles and star/hall of fame players to a city. Buss will always be remembered for being a winner and running a class organization.
In his 34 years as the owner his Laker teams missed the playoffs only twice. They averaged a NBA Finals appearance about once every two years. He hired the great Jerry West to be his General Manager and got out the way and let him do his job. West would go on to become arguably the greatest GM in NBA history. It seemed like everything Dr. Buss touched turned to gold...Lakers gold that is.
Dr. Buss’ influence will forever be felt in the NBA, there may never be an owner whose team is as dominant as Buss’ Lakers were. He started showtime basketball, an entertaining brand of basketball, he started the Laker Girls...now every team in the league has a group of dancers to entertain their crowds. For these reasons, among others, Dr. Jerry Buss goes down as the greatest owner in NBA history.