The Los Angeles Lakers’ principal owner Jerry Buss passed away early Monday morning due to kidney failure brought on by an undisclosed form of cancer. The New York Times has this obituary.
Buss was something of a folk hero and one of the better known members of the NBA’s tight knit ownership fraternity. His death is the latest set-back in what has been a very forgettable season for one of the NBA’s most prized (and most valuable) franchises, and has reverberated far beyond the basketball court. Buss was responsible for the “Showtime” Lakers, and did as much as any other individual to make basketball one of the premier sports in the United States and the NBA one of the best professional leagues of any type on the planet.
Portland’s owner Paul Allen (as enigmatic as Dr. Buss was prominent) released the following statement:
STATEMENT FROM PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS OWNER PAUL ALLEN REGARDING DR. JERRY BUSS
PORTLAND, Ore. (February 18, 2013) – Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen issued the following statement in response to the death of Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss:
“The NBA, and indeed all of sports ownership, has lost a titan and innovator in Dr. Jerry Buss. At a time when professional basketball needed an infusion of new thinking and vision, Dr. Buss stepped forward in ways that truly redefined our game on and off the court. He will be missed as a father, owner, leader and friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Buss family and the entire Los Angeles Lakers organization.”
Dr. Buss’s daughter and son, Jeanie and Jim, are currently in charge of various elements of the Lakers’ organization, Jeanie heads business operations and Jim oversees basketball decisions in concert with LA’s General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Jerry Buss turned 80 on January 27th of this year.