There have been a number of excellent owners of sports teams throughout history. When having a discussion about any of the greats of all-time, the late Jerry Buss has to be mentioned alongside any owner. Today, we celebrate what would have been his 81st birthday.
Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, immediately ushering in the ‘Showtime’ era of the 1980s led by Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy. Those Lakers would win five championships in eight NBA Finals appearances during that decade.
The Lakers would eventually transition from the Kobe-Shaq era to the Kobe-Gasol tandem for a grand total of 10 championship rings in 16 Finals appearances during his 34-year tenure as Lakers owner.
Buss was never afraid to spend the money needed to bring in big-name players and coaches to the Lakers. In doing so, he made the Lakers the marquee attraction in the city of Los Angeles. From the Great Western Forum to the Staples Center, it was the place to be.
Buss’ impact could be felt everywhere throughout the basketball world. He was the first to sell the naming rights to his arena, which went from the Forum to the Great Western Forum in 1988 — something that is now a normal practice in all of sports.
Additionally, Buss co-founded the Prime Ticket channel in 1985, changing the model for televised sports by putting all Lakers home games on basic cable.
Buss was truly ahead of his time, and his vision continues to be carried on today. Today, we at Lakers Nation wish the late, great Jerry Buss a Happy 81st Birthday.
In honor of Dr. Buss’ birthday, Kobe Bryant also tweeted his well wishes for whom he called the greatest owner of all time.
Happy Birthday to the greatest owner of All Time #jerrybuss
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 27, 2014
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