Jerry Buss, who shepherded the Los Angeles Lakers from the Showtime dynasty of the 1980s to the current Kobe Bryant era while becoming one of the most important and successful owners in pro sports, died Monday. He was 80.
"His impact is felt worldwide," said Bryant, who has spent nearly half his life working for Buss.
Buss died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Bob Steiner, his assistant and longtime friend. Buss had been hospitalized for most of the past 18 months while undergoing cancer treatment, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, Steiner said.
"Think about the impact that he's had on the game and the decisions he's made, and the brand of basketball he brought here with Showtime and the impact that had on the sport as a whole," Bryant said a few days ago. "Those vibrations were felt to a kid all the way in Italy who was 6 years old, before basketball was even global."
Under Buss' leadership, the Lakers became Southern California's most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Los Angeles glamour. Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talented players and basketball minds during his Hall of Fame tenure, from Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard.
Few owners in sports history can approach Buss' accomplishments with the Lakers, who made the NBA finals 16 times during his nearly 34 years in charge, winning 10 titles between 1980 and 2010. Whatever the Lakers did under Buss' watch, they did it big -- with marquee players, eye-popping style and a relentless pursuit of success.
"His incredible commitment and desire to build a championship-caliber team that could sustain success over a long period of time has been unmatched," said Jerry West, Buss' longtime general manager and now a consultant with the Warriors. "With all of his achievements, Jerry was without a doubt one of the most humble men I've ever been around. His vision was second to none; he wanted an NBA franchise brand that represented the very best and went to every extreme to accomplish his goals."
Buss is survived by his six children: sons Johnny, Jim, Joey and Jesse, and daughters Jeanie Buss and Janie Drexel. He had eight grandchildren.
Bulls: Star guard Derrick Rose participated in five-on-five drills, the latest step in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Rose has been sidelined since he tore his ACL late in last season's playoff-opening win over Philadelphia.
All-Star ratings: The All-Star game Sunday was viewed by an average of 8 million viewers, a 13 percent increase on the 2012 telecast.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.