Lakers Jerry Buss passed away last night at the age of 79. He had been out of the public spotlight of late in his recently reported battle with cancer, as his son Jim Buss has become the face if Lakers ownership in his stead. But no one will be able to replace Buss’ seat as the owner of the most famous NBA franchise..
Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times this morning tweeted
Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away this morning. A sad day for L.A.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 18, 2013
Buss earned his money in Southern California Real estate. He was raised in Wyoming by his single mother. He attended the University of Wyoming, before attending USC for his Master’s and Ph.D in chemistry. How he became the face and owner of the celebrity franchise is something of a miracle in it’s unlikeliness. If it was a Holywood script, it might not be well received, because how believalbe is that story?
Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News wrote a really touching and complete chronicle of Jerry Buss’ simple beginnings and path to ownership (linked here), and his hands on approach that improved the Lakers leaps and bounds ahead of his competitors.
The Lakers, LA, and the whole of the NBA lost one of its most influential and important figures. In my lifetime, losing Chick Hearn is the only comparable loss for Lakers fans. To Jerry Buss’ credit, there are not many oweners who are so endeared by their patrons. Fans had the support of Buss without hesitation. And the relationship Buss built with his players, and the votes of confidence they gave him, resonated throughout the community. In a time when the phrase “It’s just business” is thrown around so cavalierly, since sports are not a game, they’re a business, the admiration and respect shown by Buss and that he received was really unprecedented.
Jerry Buss, You will be Missed.