When Dr. Jerry Buss bought the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 he brought a vision to the organization and helped develop it into the historic franchise that it is today.
He did things differently than most owners as he was involved with everything that went on in the organization, whether it be basketball decisions or the creation of the “Lakers Girls.”
Another current NBA owner who is very involved like that is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who purchased the team in 2000.
In a recent question and answer session with Dalton Trigg of MavsMoneyball.com, Cuban said that Dr. Buss was one of the only NBA owners that supported him when he first purchased the Mavericks, which shows a lot about who Dr. Buss was as a person:
I tried to run the Mavs like a startup. We brought in 10 former players to help develop our players. People laughed at me. I sat next to the bench and listened into huddles. If it made sense to be in sales and management meetings and learn how people interacted, it made sense to listen in to huddles during a game and learn.
I challenged all conventional wisdom. Some people, like Jerry Buss, really supported me. Others did everything possible to get me out.
Now, none of that is new anymore. It’s the new old school.
Dr. Buss passed away after a long battle with cancer on Feb. 18, 2013 at the age of 80. The team is now run by his six children, although his daughter Jeanie is the controlling owner and fired her brother Jim, who was the organization’s vice president of basketball operations, last season.
A lot of what the NBA is today has to do with Dr. Buss’s vision for the Lakers, and he will forever be known as one of the best owners in the history of American pro sports.