Lakers owner Jerry Buss passes away


After 34 years of Lakers ownership, owner Jerry Buss passed away due to a kidney failure on Feb. 18 at the age of 80. It has now been reported that Buss had been battling with an undisclosed type of cancer since 2012.

In 1979, Buss bought the Lakers and became the majority owner. Ten championships have been recorded under the legendary owner, making Buss one of the winningest owners in not only the NBA, but the history of sports.

Although Buss brought Los Angeles many rings, he will be remembered for achieving his goal as an owner, which was turning the Lakers into Los Angeles’ team. He did this by forming the Lakers into a group known as ‘Showtime’, a nickname given to the team after rookie point guard Magic Johnson was united with superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Later in his era, Buss landed both Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to lead the Lakers team. Buss also instituted the Lakers Girls, a cheerleading squad to support the mainstream Lakers team.

“Jerry dreamt it, we saw it, we went after it, and it became a reality,” said former Lakers coach Pat Riley during a memorial speech. “Jerry created a new Laker paradigm and for 30 years; It captured the imagination of the entire sports world. We weren’t just the best of the best. The Lakers are unique, they still are. The Lakers separated themselves from the pack and left footprints to follow, and there’s a lot of teams that are trying.”

The Lakers celebrated their owner by wearing patches that had Jerry Buss’ initials on them. Jim and Jeanie Buss (two of his six children) will take over the team and try to fill their father’s shoes.

“I’m sure when he went to the gates and God met him, I know he said, ‘I hope you have a basketball league up here,’ ” Johnson said. “And I know that he said, ‘Wilt, you’re coming on my team.’ He already hit Chick Hearn up, saying, ‘You’re going to be my announcer. Again, we’re together.’ But the one thing he better not do is get a point guard, because I’m going to see him one day soon.”

As the Lakers move closer to the end of the regular season, they can only hope this becomes motivation to make the playoffs. Jerry Buss will always be remembered by Laker nation.