Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss is in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for cancer treatment. He is still the official owner of the NBA’s marquee franchises and one of the most successful owners in the history of American sports. On February 14, it was revealed that Buss had been battling cancer since last year. He has been in the hospital numerous times the last two years.
79-year-old Buss has six children from two different marriages, four of whom he had with first wifeJoAnn Mueller: Johnny (1957), Jim (1960), Jeanie (1961) and Janie (1964), and two others with girlfriend Karen Demel: Joey (1985) and Jesse (1988).
Buss was 20 when he graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1953 and headed west with his new wife, JoAnn Mueller. Buss enrolled at USC in pursuit of a PhD. in physical chemistry. JoAnn went to nursing school.
Buss separated from his wife in 1968, he was living at the time with a former Playboy bunny named Ronnie Huff, who assumed her new man was more or less poor.
“We’d go out for lunch or dinner,” she recalls, “and the guy never had a dime on him. I’d end up paying. He’d say he forgot his wallet, but how many times can a man forget?”
Jerry always hoped to marry again, but he said he spent 80 hours working each week, before his cancer diagnose.
“The life I lead makes it damn near impossible to love me”, he said.
He is known to be a Casanova and it is said that he keeps a photo album filled with hundreds of pictures of women he has dated over the years.
“I felt it was an insult to take a woman out more than two or three times and not ask for a picture. After all, these are models and actresses, women who have portfolios. I’m fascinated by beautiful women and I love to undress them,” he says. “They’re like a work of art. If that’s chauvinistic, so be it.”
Buss seeks the company of his four grown children. Buss’ son Jim has taken over the team’s basketball operations, and daughter (and fiance of legendary coach Phil Jackson) Jeanie now runs the business side of the franchise. Buss has transformed the Lakers into one of the most influential franchises in the history of the NBA and the family has made it abundantly clear that they have no plans to sell the franchise.
“He’s doing fine,” Buss’ son Jim told The Times in a brief interview Thursday. “We just aren’t going to make any comments on it. We’ve been dealing with this.”
Said O’Neal on Twitter on Thursday:
“Dr. Jerry Buss, thinking about u & wish I could be there, get well soon. I cant wait 2 see u #LoveYou #Lakers.”
“I just know how much he loved the game,” said Clippers forward Lamar Odom, who won two championships in seven years with the Lakers. “I know how much he put into it, whether it was traveling with us or just his effort that he put into us winning. He was the best. He was always close to his team and his players. It’s tough to hear about that.”
We all wish a soon recovery for Dr. Buss.