Jerry Buss, who owned the Los Angeles Lakers for more than 30 years at a time when the team won 10 NBA championships, has died. He was 80.
Buss died Monday at a Los Angeles hospital of cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing Buss spokesman Bob Steiner.
Buss, a real estate investor, bought the Lakers, Los Angeles Kings of the NHL and the Forum, from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979. He sold the Kings in 1987.
The Lakers took just one season under Buss to pick up an NBA championship, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers for the title in 1980. The Lakers regularly added titles, including winning three consecutive NBA championships over 2000-02 and two more in 2009 and '10.
In addition to success on the court, Buss was credited with making the team's games a must-attend event in Los Angeles. Movie stars, notably Jack Nicholson and Dyan Cannon, occupied court-side seats. He once said, "The Lakers are pretty damn Hollywood," the Times reported.
"Jerry Buss helped set the league on the course it is on today," NBA Commissioner David Stern told the Times. "Remember, he showed us it was about 'Showtime,' the notion that an arena can become the focal point for not just basketball, but entertainment. He made it the place to see and be seen."
Buss was born Jan. 27, 1933, in Salt Lake City. He earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California but made his fortune in real estate investment.
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