Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies, ‘World Series of Poker’ Considers Renaming an Event in His Honor


As you have probably heard, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away on Monday at the age of 80. With his passing, the NBA lost a true giant.

Buss was born in Utah and raised in Wyoming. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in just two and a half years, then went to USC and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Chemistry in only four years.

Obviously, Buss was a smart guy. In fact, he was so smart that he realized he could make a lot more money investing in real estate than teaching chemistry. So he gave up teaching and went in to real estate full-time in the 60s. By 1979 he’d become rich enough from real estate to buy the Lakers, Kings, and the old L.A. Forum for a record $67.5 million. Then Buss sold the Kings, kept the forum, sold naming rights to Great Western Bank (a move way ahead of it’s time), and put together the “Showtime Lakers” dynasty—with Kareem and Magic and Worthy— that won five NBA Championships in the 1980s. Then, after spending a decade retooling, Buss’s Lakers won five more Championships between 2000 and 2010 with guys like Shaq, Gasol, and of course, Kobe.

Those 10 championships in 35 years make Jerry Buss one of the winningest team owners of all time. And, in addition to his other achievements, they are a big reason why he was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2010.

Of course, it wasn’t just chemistry, real estate, and basketball at which Jerry Buss excelled. The guy was also a serious poker player, having competed in such televised events as High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark.  And he even placed as high as third at the World Series of Poker. This success at the poker table has led the World Series of Poker to consider renaming one of its “gold bracelet” events after Jerry Buss.

That would certainly be a fitting tribute to a legendary character. I’m guessing there will be other such tributes by the NBA and Lakers in the coming years, as well.

Hat Tip – [Poker Listings]

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