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Lakers owner Jerry Buss passes away at age 80

Feb 18, 2013, 11:14 AM EDT

File photo of Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss and US actor Jack Nicholson watching the WBC middleweight championship fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles

Lakers owner Jerry Buss has passed away at age 80 after a battle with cancer, NBC News has confirmed. It is a story first broken by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

Lakers spokesman Bob Steiner confirmed Jerry Buss was 80. His date of birth was Jan. 27, 1933.

It was just a few days ago that news broke of the severity of Buss’ condition.

Buss had been hospitalized for some time with an undisclosed form of cancer, but the news was kept private until recently, when players were reported to be visiting him because it was expected that he was in his final days.

Buss is widely recognized as the most successful franchise owner in NBA history, having purchased the Lakers (along with the Forum and the Kings of the NHL) for $67.5 million back in 1979. Buss later sold the Kings in 1988.

Forbes magazine recently valued the Lakers at more than $1 billion.

The Lakers won 10 NBA championships under Buss’ ownership, and his family remains in control of both the basketball and the business side of the team to this day.

Jim Buss is executive vice president of player personnel, and Jeannie Buss is the team’s executive vice president of business operations. The team will remain majority owned by the Buss family through a complex trust where each of Buss’ six children have a stake.

  1. thebigkahuna23 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    This will definitely fall under the category of “too-soon” but man I bet Phil will wife Jeanie up now that she owns the lakers.

    Immaturity aside all I have to say is, woah, what a loss. My condolences to his family.

    • Clayton Bigsby - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Grew up with the Showtime era and been following ever since. Lakers were practically a religion growing up in SoCal. It was always the one constant in LA sports, contending for and winning the championship. Nothing else mattered. Also met the man. Truly a very nice man and have touched many lives of NBA fans as well as Angelinos . I believe he should get the next statue in Staples, a street or boulevard named after him, etc.

      RIP…Dr. Buss you will be missed.

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:58 PM

        I was gonna say that too…he needs the next statue and a non-player jersey retired, right next to my beloved Chick Hearn.


  2. shen90 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    His son probably figured out was going to get canned so he offed his dad.

    • teehov843 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      To people making jokes about his death…just remember “What goes around, comes around” in any way shape, form or fashion…Just saying…

      • thebigkahuna23 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        Don’t you put that evil on me Ricky Bobby. Could you some way find it in your heart to forgive me!

    • teambringitstrong - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      When you die, someone stupid stranger will make jokes about your family and your death; if anyone cares about you that is.

    • dannymac17 - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Wow that was a terrible joke. Not because it was at Buss’s expense, but that you said it as if you thought it was funny.

    • spthegr8 - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      Only a LOW-LIFE would “TROLL” after hearing about someone passing away. R.I.P. The BEST OWNER IN SPORTS HISTORY. PERIOD!!!!!

    • texmex2 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      RIP Dr. Buss, you will be sorely missed by Lakers Nation.

    • texmex2 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Although I personally have no respect for Jim’s management he does not deserve those type of comments concerning his father…RIP Dr. Buss

  3. losangelesfan - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    RIP Dr. Buss Thanks for the championships.

    • nesuperfan - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      I am not much of a basketball fan, but I am a fan of anyone, who gets a PhD in Chemistry. I really respect that kind of intellect, and Dr. Buss had it in spades.

  4. thraiderskin - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Thanks for those great Laker teams Dr. Buss, I have a feeling Laker fans are going to see a tough road ahead without you.

  5. money2long - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    my jaw dropped for about 5 seconds when i saw the news. so sad. hoping this doesn’t negatively affect the team. maybe the lakers will use this as something to motivate them to go on a 2nd half rally.

  6. iowahbr - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    A shame as it seemed he always put the team well above his pocketbook and produced some great champions.

  7. kb2408 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Even though I knew it was coming, I am still very sad. Rest In Peace to the greatest owner in the history of pro sports.

  8. thenmoveback - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Sad to hear, he was a great owner for the lakers and the NBA.

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Very sad, but what a life! The man is a legend.

  10. qpoiu1 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Very sad, but at least his son is doing a god job…….NOT

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Sorta like “Lil” GW Bush compared to his father.

  11. miamatt - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Condolences to the Buss and Laker families. I hope he died in peace.

  12. Confused Knicks Fan - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Smh I wish cancer didn’t exist

  13. tannethrill - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    RIP JB

  14. rajbais - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    We lost the greatest owner and innovator that was not a coach or player in NBA history.

    A business venture genius and franchise branding icon whom the NBA will always be incomplete without.

    Dr. Jerry Buss, RIP. The Los Angeles Lakers and NBA are not the same without you and we’ll miss you as an endearing presence!

  15. acdc363 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    RIP onw of the best owners ever.

  16. Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM


  17. 13arod - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Hate it when somebody dies he was a good person R.I.P.

  18. wfon1 - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    i dont understand why this sad news of this smart man is some small link on the side, while some drug addict most people never heard of had front priority on this newsite. makes no sense. RIP Dr. Buss

  19. cosanostra71 - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    RIP Dr. Buss, thank you for all the championships and pride you provided the city of Los Angeles.

  20. florida727 - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Not a Lakers fan, never have been one, but I certainly wish Laker fans and the Buss family nothing but sincere condolences as they try to recover from this. By all accounts, this man was one of the truly best owners in all of sports. Most people think all it takes is money to be an owner. Not true. It takes so much more, and apparently Dr. Buss had it in spades.

  21. patriots55 - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    No not Jim buss!!!!!! One of my favorite owners and not bad on the eyes ether

    • texmex2 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      RIP Dr. Buss, you will be sorely missed by Lakers Nation.

  22. omniusprime - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Thank You Dr. Jerry Buss for all the great Laker teams and championships. You will be missed by so many. It’s hard to take that he’s passed away, but last week we found out how ill he was. He was the greatest sports owner of all time. Rest in Peace Dr. Buss knowing that you are loved by so many.

    Probably for the best that he doesn’t see his worthless devil spawn Jerky Boy Jimmy ruin his father’s great legacy. Now we Laker fans are stuck with the little idiot buss boy running the Laker franchise into the ground, soon the Lakers won’t be worth squat because of the worthless son’s gross incompetence.

    Now the question is will the Lakers, under the most ignorant coach ever to disgrace the Lakers, show some respect for Dr. Buss by winning their next game?

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash!!! Trade Steve Flake!!! We Want Pau!!!

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      I’m with you omni’ but man…. I wish you woulda left those last 3 paragraphs out. Not the time.

      Let’s just pray that Jimmy rights his past wrongs and ends up being a respectible owner that we Laker fans can be proud of for decades. He makes me nervous but I wouldn’t want anyone else but a Buss to own this franchise. You know this is their life and they LOVE their Lakers, especially since this is all they know.

  23. thaoption1 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    RIP DR. Jerry Buss. Please Jeanie try to buy Jim stake ASAP

  24. cantonbound13 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    The best owner in NBA history

  25. iowahbr - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I just hope that the laws on inheritiance taxes don’t force the Buss family to sell the Lakers. it also might help if his daughter got a bit more involved on the player side. She knows a very wonderful advisor.

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