US & Canada

Jerry Buss, owner of LA Lakers, dies at 80

Jerry Buss file picture May 2008
Image caption Jerry Buss injected a sense of entertainment and glamour into his team's image

The owner of basketball team the Los Angeles Lakers has died at the age of 80, his assistant has confirmed.

On Friday, US media reported that Buss was in hospital for several months and had been fighting cancer.

Under the stewardship of Jerry Buss, the California basketball franchise advanced to 10 championships and became associated with Hollywood glamour.

Buss acquired the club in 1979 and was known for recruiting legendary talent, including former player Magic Johnson.

The Lakers won five championships during the 80s and another five titles during the 11 years Kobe Bryant has played with the team.

The self-made millionaire made his fortune in real estate before turning his hand to basketball.

At the time, the National Basketball Association had lost popularity and many teams faced severe financial difficulties.

In his first season, Buss recruited Magic Johnson from Michigan State University, who became a legendary player for the team.

Buss developed a reputation for spotting and attracting talented players.

He will also be remembered for his style and showmanship.

"Jerry Buss helped set the league on the course it is on today," NBA commissioner David Stern said, according to the LA Times.

"Remember, he showed us it was about 'showtime', the notion that an arena can become the focal point for not just basketball, but entertainment. He made it the place to see and be seen."

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