sport

Lakers owner Buss dies aged 80

Dr Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, has died at the age of 80.

The flamboyant Buss brought 10 NBA championships to Los Angeles during his colourful tenure with the Lakers, creating the famed 'Showtime' dynasty of the 1980s and then rebuilding the team around Kobe Bryant.

He had been fighting cancer but it is understood he died of kidney failure.

"We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community," a statement released on behalf of the Buss family said.

Buss bought the Lakers in 1979 and spent big to bring glory to the team, creating a brand of basketball on the court that matched the Hollywood stars watching in the stands.

His teams featured some of the biggest names to play the game during recent decades, including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant.

During his 32-year tenure, his teams made it to the NBA finals 16 times, winning 10 titles between 1980 and 2010, including three in a row from 2000-2002.

Bryant, who has won five NBA rings with the Lakers, spoke about Buss during the weekend's All-Star festivities in Houston, and said his impact on basketball had changed the sport.

"It's beyond measure," Bryant said. "There's nothing you can do to really define it. What he's done consistently, it's tough to really find a match for that in any sport. He's been a model of consistency."

Buss was also the former owner of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, among other sporting interests.