SBD/Closing Bell

Buss Family Expected To Retain Lakers Ownership After Jerry's Death

Following the death of Lakers Owner Jerry Buss at age 80, ESPN’s Shelley Smith said the Buss family "will hang onto" ownership of the team as “Jerry was grooming Jim and Jeanie” to take over. Smith: “I don’t imagine this team will ever leave the Buss family” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/18). But the L.A. TIMES' Bill Plaschke writes, "Despite the Buss family retaining ownership of the team, without the patriarch's singular vision, there could be major changes ahead" (LATIMES.com, 2/18).

Meanwhile, tributes and remembrances continue to pour in for Buss: 

NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come. More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time."

ESPN President John Skipper: "The sports world has suffered a major loss today. Jerry Buss left an indelible mark on the NBA, bringing Showtime and multiple championships to the Lakers. My thoughts are with Jerry’s family, friends and the entire Lakers organization."

Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson: "This is a great loss for the LAKER NATION ... I will always remember Dr. Buss's big smile, his love for the LAKERS, his love for poker & billiards, his love for the City of LA, and his love for beautiful women. Dr. Buss¹s legacy will continue on through his incredible children."
 
Celtics Managing Partner & CEO Wyc Grousbeck: "I had the pleasure of working with Jerry closely for the last 10 years on league matters. He was a wonderful business colleague, brilliant competitor and became a good friend. Although our teams competed in two Finals during that time, the friendship never wavered."

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: "Dr. Jerry Buss was a cornerstone of the Los Angeles sports community and his name will always be synonymous with his beloved Lakers" (THE DAILY).

Lakers broadcaster John Ireland wrote on his Twitter feed, "My main takeaway: Dr. Buss treated EVERYBODY great. He was nice to everybody at the bottom and the top, because he had been both places." ESPN's Bill Simmons: "My condolences to the Buss family, the Laker fans and to everyone at the NBA - we lost the best professional basketball owner ever today." Sports Business Radio's Brian Berger: "If I had a Mount Rushmore of pro sports owners all-time, Dr. Jerry Buss is on that mountain. Buss and Steinbrenner front and center."
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