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Buss, Jerry(Gerald Hatten Buss), 1933–2013, American businessman and basketball executive, b. Salt Lake City. He worked in the aerospace industry until the late 1950s, when he struck it rich in the booming Los Angeles real estate market. He purchased the Los Angeles Strings of World Team Tennis in 1974 and Los Angeles Lakers of the National Baskeball Association (NBA) and other sports holdings in 1979. Buss built the Lakers into the NBA's most successful and glamorous team, hiring superb coaches, e.g., Jerry WestWest, Jerry
(Jerome Alan West), 1938–, American basketball player, b. Cheylan, W.Va. One of the game's great shooting guards, he led West Virginia Univ. to the 1959 National Collegiate Athletic Association championship finals and was co-captain of the gold-medal-winning
..... Click the link for more information. , Pat Riley, Phil JacksonJackson, Phil
(Philip Douglas Jackson), 1945–, American basketball player and coach, b. Deer Lodge, Mont. Jackson was an All-American at the Univ. of North Dakota.
..... Click the link for more information. , and great players, e.g., Magic JohnsonJohnson, Magic
(Earvin Johnson, Jr.), 1959–, African-American basketball player, b. Lansing, Mich. After winning the national championship with Michigan State Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. , Kareem Abdul-JabbarAbdul-Jabbar, Kareem
, 1947–, American basketball player, b. New York City as Ferdinand Lewis (Lew) Alcindor. At 7 ft 2 in. (218 cm), he led the Univ. of California, Los Angeles, to three national titles (1967–69).
..... Click the link for more information. , Shaquille O'NealO'Neal, Shaquille
(Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal) , 1972–, American basketball player, b. Newark, N.J. Joining the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1992, he was the 1993 NBA rookie of the year.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Kobe BryantBryant, Kobe
, 1978–, American basketball player, b. Philadelphia. The son of former professional basketball player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, he was a high school star, turned pro at 17, and debuted with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association in 1996.
..... Click the link for more information. . He also added glitz and pizzazz to the sport, including half-time entertainments, making pro basketball one of the most watched sporting events. In 1985 he cofounded a regional cable sports network. Buss's Lakers were in the NBA finals 16 times, winning 10 titles between 1980 and 2010. He was inducted into the Baskeball Hall of Fame in 2010.