Lakers Owner Jerry Buss has been admitted to the intensive care unit at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to an undisclosed form of cancer.
Several of Buss’ Lakers, both former and current, have visited him, including Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Buss, now 79, has been hospitalized various times over the course of the last two years. Following a surgery last August, he was admitted one month earlier due to dehydration according to the medical team. The Lakers said that Buss was also admitted to the hospital in December 2011 due to blood clots in his leg.
Regrettably, a report from RadarOnline Thursday said that Lakers continued to visit the owner because of “what they expect to be his final days.”
The LA Times reported that Buss’ son Jim, the Lakers’ executive VP of player personnel, said, “We just aren’t going to make any comments on it.”
Prior to recent medical issues, Lakers owner Jerry Buss contributed in the decision-making processes for the team.
The owner of the Lakers began his career in real-estate investment with a $1,000 investment in a Los Angeles apartment building. In 1979, Buss purchased the Lakers, the L.A. Kings, and a ranch in Sierra Nevada for a reported $67.5 million.
The Lakers NBA franchise is now worth an estimated $1 billion with only one other team, the New York Knicks, being estimated as more valuable. The Lakers have won 10 NBA championships, five of which were won since 2000.
The Lakers are among one of the highest paying teams with respect to player salary. This year, they have a $100 million payroll — the highest in the NBA.
Dwight Howard is finishing the last year of his contract and could renew for an additional five years at $118 million in July.
Mitch Kupchak, Lakers General Manager, said, “When it comes down to it, Dr. Buss is a competitor … And when it comes down to a decision about making a couple of dollars or a million dollars or $10 million or putting another banner up, he can’t help himself. He chooses to go for the banner.”
Dr. Buss is an important part of the Laker family so I hope his stay in the hospital is short and he has a speedy recovery. #Jerrybuss
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) February 15, 2013
Laker owner Jerry Buss hasn’t attended any games this season, but he can usually be found in his Staples Center luxury suite.
Buss’ son Jim has gradually been handed more power over the team, working more alongside Kupchak. It came as a surprise to many that control wasn’t given to his daughter Jeanie, who manages the Lakers’ business side.