Tuesday , Feb , 19 , 2013 Matt Formica

10 interesting facts about Jerry Buss

The basketball community changed forever Monday with the passing of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

Hoopsvibe's quick call:  Perhaps the greatest NBA owner in history left a lasting legacy behind.

10 interesting facts about Jerry Buss

Here are ten interesting facts about a man who was amongst the best the business has ever seen.

1.)  Buss bought the Lakers, along the Los Angeles Kings Hockey team, The Forum, and a large ranch in Kern County, from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979 for $67.5 million.  The team itself is now worth $1 billion.

2.)  The Laker Girls was his idea.

3.)  He has six children, who all have roles within the Lakers organization.  Their names are Jim, Jeannie, Johnny, Joey, Jesse and Janie.  Jim currently runs basketball operations and daughter, Jeannie, runs business operations.

4.)  His daughter, Jeannie, is currently engaged to Hall of Fame coach and former player, Phil Jackson.  And apparently, Jim Buss hasn't spoken to Jeannie since their engagement.

5.)  Buss was an avid poker player, appearing on the shows High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark.  He placed third in the 1991 World Series of Poker seven-card stud event.

6.)  Buss is incredibly smart.  In high school he was entrusted to teach his chemistry class senior year.  He got his Bachelors degree from the University of Wyoming in 2.5 years, reportedly borrowing his friends books at the beginning of the semester because he didn't have enough money to buy his own.  He would read the books, and return them halfway through the semester, with enough knowledge to pass the final exams.

7.)  He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Southern California and worked in aerospace and real estate before becoming Lakers owner.

8.)  He was raised in poverty in Wyoming.  He first came to LA when he was 9, but moved back to Wyoming after his mother remarried.  There he worked as a ditch-digger, a bellhop and a shoe shiner.

9.)  Under his ownership the Lakers won 10 Championships; and have seen the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard, to name a few.

10.)  There are many other interesting facts about Jerry Buss but my all-time favorite is this:  Buss told ESPN in 2010 that he texted each of his six children every month the following question:  "Do you have any idea how proud of you I am?"

In the words of Kobe Bryant, "His impact is felt worldwide."

I couldn't agree more.

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