Story Summary

Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies

jerry-bussJerry Buss, the longtime owner of the Lakers who led the team to 10 NBA championships, died at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer.


Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 9 updates

Former Laker Shaquille O’Neal speaks at the memorial service for Jerry Buss.

NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks at the memorial held for Dr. Jerry Buss.

Son Johnny Buss speaks about his father, Jerry Buss, at a memorial in downtown Los Angeles.

Sports reporter Jim Hill speaks at the memorial held for Dr. Jerry Buss Thursday.

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — A memorial service will be held Thursday afternoon to honor longtime Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss.

Buss died on Monday from kidney failure after a battle against an undisclosed type of cancer. He was 80.

The service is being held at Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

The list of speakers at the service includes Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.

The ceremony is for invited guests only, but you can watch it live on KTLA and at

Meantime, the Lakers honored Buss with a tribute before their game against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night at Staples Center.

The tribute began with a video montage showing photos of Buss, spanning from his childhood to his 10 championships with the Lakers.

After the video presentation, Kobe Bryant, who has known Buss since he was a teenager, walked to half court and took the microphone.

“On Monday we lost what we all know to be the greatest owner in sports, ever,” Bryant said.

“He was a brilliant and incredible owner, but he was an even better person with a great heart,” he remarked.

“His vision has transcended the game and we are all, all, spoiled by his vision and by his drive to win year after year after year,” Bryant said.

“Through our years being here at Staples Center, the one thing that we could always count on was the great Dr. Jerry Buss overlooking his franchise from his box.

I’d like to ask all of you to please join us in a moment of silence to honor the great Dr. Jerry Buss.”

The jumbotron then showed Buss’ empty seat in his suite.

Shortly after that, Buss’ voice echoed through the sold-out arena.

“The real purpose of what I do was to try to have this city totally involved and identified with it,” Buss said.

“I wanted that, when you think L.A., ‘Oh, wait, that’s where the Lakers play. Lakers. Lakers.’ That’s what I wanted.”

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke talked about his memories of Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss.

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Dr. Jerry Buss changed NBA basketball forever. On Monday night, the basketball fans of Los Angeles paid their respects to the man who created “Showtime.”

The flags outside Staples Center flew at half-staff on Monday following the passing of longtime owner Jerry Buss.

“We loved him,” one fan put it simply. “It’s a very sad day today. A very sad day.”

Lakers fans placed flowers at the statue of legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn, along with a sign saying, “Heaven just got a lot more entertaining and dazzling.”

“The way I see it, he was the best owner in sports,” another fan remarked.

But now that Buss is gone, what is in store for the Lakers’ future?

Lakers’ officials say the operation and running of the team should remain unchanged. That means that two of Jerry Buss’ children will continue making decisions.

Jeannie Buss has run the business side of the Lakers for the past 15 years.

Brother Jim Buss, more visible over the past couple of years, has taken the reins of the basketball operations with General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

The Buss family’s 66 percent ownership of the team will be held in a trust.

“Dr. Buss has set it up years in advance,” Lakers spokesman John Black said on Monday. “He planned for continuation for the team to remain with the family.”

The Buss family confirmed that in a statement, saying, “It was our father’s often stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family.”

“The Lakers have been our lives as well and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.”

Funeral and memorial service arrangements for Dr. Buss are still pending. In lieu of flowers, the Buss family requests that donations be made to the Lakers Youth Foundation.


Friends, Fans and Colleagues Remember Jerry Buss

The death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss on Monday sparked an outpouring of support and respect for the man credited with the invention of Showtime and who figured out a way to make more money off of high-value seats.

Buss, 80, died from complications of cancer.

The Lakers held a news conference Monday afternoon, confirming the death of long-time team owner Jerry Buss.