LA Lakers Owner Dead At 80
Posted by Ivetta Babadjanian on Feb 19, 2013 - 7:00:50 PM
LOS ANGELES—Owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dr. Jerry Buss, died on Monday, February 18 at the age of 80.
Jerry Buss holding up his first NBA Championship trophy in 1980. Photo courtesy of NBA.
Buss was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for an undisclosed form of cancer, however, reports indicate the cause of death was kidney failure.
“We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community,” a statement released on behalf of the Buss family said.
“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.”
Under Buss, the Lakers went on to win ten NBA championships and was recently valued at $900 million by Forbes. He bought the team as well as the Great Western Forum in 1979 from Jack Kent Cooke. The $67 million deal included a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County and the Los Angeles Kings.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the family & friends of Dr. Jerry Buss. He was a great man and an incredible friend," tweeted Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
Buss suffered from a number of medial conditions in recent years including a blood clot from excessive travel in 2011 and undisclosed surgery in August. Buss is survived by his six children and eight grandchildren.
It was revealed in a news conference by Lakers spokesman John Black that the Lakers will remain in the Buss family. “Dr. Buss had set it up years in advance. He had planned for continuation”¦ for the team to remain with the family," said Black.
The team is now held in a trust benefiting all his children, but day-to-day operations will be handled by son Jim and daughter Jeanie. Jim will be handling the basketball side of the organization alongside general manager Mitch Kupcheck. Jeanie, on the other hand, will continue running the business aspect of the Lakers and represent them at the NBA's Board of Governor's meetings.
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