||02-18-2013 01:07 PM
OT NBA Lakers owner Buss dies (former owner of NHL Kings)
79, from kidney failure after battling (undisclosed type of) cancer
Few owners have ever been more beloved by their players than Buss, who always referred to the Lakers as his extended family. Working with front-office executives Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak, Buss spent lavishly to win his titles despite lacking a huge personal fortune, often running the NBA's highest payroll while also paying high-profile coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.
Always an innovative businessman, Buss paid for the Lakers through both their wild success and his own groundbreaking moves to raise revenue. He co-founded a basic-cable sports television network and sold the naming rights to the Forum at times when both now-standard strategies were unusual, adding justification for his induction into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Buss also helped change televised sports by co-founding the Prime Ticket network in 1985, even receiving a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 for his work in television. Breaking the contemporary model of subscription services for televised sports, Buss's Prime Ticket put beloved broadcaster Chick Hearn and the Lakers' home games on basic cable.
Buss also sold the naming rights to the Forum in 1988 to Great Western Savings & Loan -- another deal that was ahead of its time.
Buss owned the NHL's Kings from 1979-87, and the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks also won two league titles under Buss's ownership. He also owned Los Angeles franchises in World Team Tennis and the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Buss's children moved into leadership roles with the Lakers in their father's later years. Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice-president of player personnel and the second of Buss's six children, has taken over much of the club's primary decision-making responsibilities in the last few years, while daughter Jeanie is a longtime executive on the franchise's business side -- and Jackson's longtime companion.
Have to wonder how this will help/hurt AEG sale (which includes Lakers ownership, or at least their arena contract).
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