The businessman and chemist, who was beloved for his dynamic leadership of the Lakers through their NBA dynasty in the ’80s and beyond, passed away on Feb. 18 after battling cancer.
Jerry Buss was revered for his leadership of the Los Angeles Lakers for more than 30 years after he bought the team in 1979, and helped lead the professional sport through 10 NBA titles and into the “Showtime” era of the 1980s and beyond. He tragically died on Feb. 18 after battling cancer for more than a year.
Jerry was a self-made millionaire, and earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1958 when he was just 24 years old. He worked as a chemist and on the faculty at USC before moving into real estate and investing. In 1979, he purchased the LA Lakers.
Jerry Buss’ Successful NBA Career
The professional sports team owner was beloved for transforming the Lakers into a sports dynasty, especially during a transition period that propelled the NBA into an entertainment and celebrity attraction. Some of the greatest athletes of all time were on his teams: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
“Jerry Buss was more than just an owner. He was one of the great innovators that any sport has ever encountered,” Pat Riley, a coach for the Lakers, said, according to ABC News. “He was a true visionary, and it was obvious with the Lakers in the ’80s that ‘Showtime’ was more than just Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was really the vision of a man who saw something that connected with a community.”
Such a tragedy. Our thoughts are with Jerry’s family and colleagues during this difficult time.
— Christina Stiehl
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