Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers’ playboy owner who shepherded the NBA team to 10 championships from the Showtime dynasty of the 1980s to the Kobe Bryant era, died Monday. He was 80.
He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Bob Steiner, his assistant.
Buss had been hospitalized for most of the past 18 months while undergoing cancer treatment, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, Steiner said. With his condition worsening in recent weeks, several prominent former Lakers visited Buss to say goodbye.
“The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend.”
Under Buss’ leadership since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California’s most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour.
Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talented players and basketball minds during his Hall of Fame tenure, from Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard.
“He was a great man and an incredible friend,” Johnson tweeted.
Rose in drills
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose participated in five-on-five drills, the latest step in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after practice that Rose “did what everyone else did.”
Rose has been sidelined since he tore his ACL late in last season’s playoff-opening win over Philadelphia.
The top-seeded Bulls wound up losing that first-round series.
Rose caused a stir last week when he said he was prepared to miss the whole season rather than return too soon. The Bulls have said that he is on schedule and that they won’t rush him back.
Chicago is second in the Central division at 30-22. The Bulls will visit New Orleans today.
Pargo on board
The Philadelphia 76ers have signed guard Jeremy Pargo for the remainder of the season.
Pargo was playing on a 10-day contract. He had 12 points, six assists and four rebounds in his debut against Charlotte on Feb. 9, and has averaged 8 points, 2.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds in three games.
Pargo played in 27 games for Cleveland this season, making 11 starts.
He averaged 7.8 points, 2.6 assists and 1.3 rebounds with the Cavs.