LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Lakers have confirmed that Jerry Buss, long-time owner of the team, underwent surgery on Thursday. The team did not elaborate on the details, except to say that the surgery went well, and that Buss, 78, is expected to make a full recovery.
Jim Buss, son of Jerry Buss, and Lakers executive vice president of player personnel, spoke briefly with LA Times columnist T.J. Simers on Friday, saying “I was with him [Thursday] night and he was basically incoherent and he was going to be like that for two or three days.”
The Lakers made headlines this week when they acquired all-star center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in a 4-team trade that sent Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. Jim Buss told the Times that his father had gotten “out of surgery 14 hours ago” when the owner called Friday morning asking for details about the Lakers’ acquisition of Howard.
Jerry Buss was hospitalized in July for dehydration. Before that, he had also been taken to the hospital in December for treatment for blood clots in his legs. The clots were believed to be due to “excessive travel”.
Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, purchasing the team from Jack Kent Cooke, along with the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, the former home of the Lakers, as well as the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County, north of Los Angeles, for $67 million.
Under Dr. Buss, the Lakers have evolved into one of the most prestigious franchises in professional sports. The team has won 10 NBA Championships under his ownership, the Lakers recently been valued at $900 million by Forbes.
Over recent years, Jerry Buss has gradually passed the Lakers torch on to Jim and his daughter, Jeanie, who is currently the team’s executive vice president of business operations.