R.I.P. Jerry Buss: Lakers Owner Was Smart, With Marketing Instincts
Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away Monday morning following what the team said was a battle with cancer that lasted a year and a half, leaving behind a legacy few peers in any sport can match.
What a mind. What instincts. What vision. That’s the lasting impression of the unique man who presided over a franchise known throughout the world for its glamour, rare level of attention and success.
Buss came from nothing and earned everything because he was as smart as he would become rich. He grew up in hardscrabble Wyoming, went to Los Angeles to attend grad school at USC, got a Ph.D. in chemistry and stayed in town. He started with a small investment in one apartment building and ended up a millionaire through real estate. A doctorate and a business tycoon, that’s all, and then he really became a success.
Buss bought the Lakers, the NHL Kings, the Forum and a 13,000-acre ranch from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979 for $67.5 million in the largest transaction in the history of sports in the United States at the time and quickly understood he was selling more than basketball. No background in marketing, no big deal. Buss knew he wanted the Lakers to be glitter.
One of the best owners of an NBA franchise ever.