(LOS ANGELES) — The NBA has lost a legendary figure as Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, has died at the age of 80 after battling an undisclosed form of cancer.
Back in 1979, Buss purchased the Lakers from Jack Kent Cooke for $67.5 million. According to Forbes magazine, the team is now estimated to be worth $1 billion.
Under Buss, the Lakers became one of the premier organizations in the NBA, winning titles in 1980, ’82, ’85, ’87, ’88, 2000, ’01, ’02, ’09, and ’10. Buss was able to bring in such players like Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant.
“He’s meant everything to me in my career in terms of taking a risk on a 17-year old kid coming out of high school and then believing in me my entire career,” Bryant said on Sunday when asked about Buss.
Buss reportedly had been hospitalized several times over the past few years and had not attended a single Lakers game this season. He had recently passed the day-to-day operations of the organization to his children Jim and Jeanie.
Buss originally made his money in real estate, staring with a $1,000 investment in a Los Angeles-area apartment building.
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Jill Martin, CNN