Few individuals have succeeded at climbing out from the depths of poverty and up to the peak of wealth. The late Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers was one of them that did. He passed away on Monday at the age of 80.
At 4-years-old, Buss was standing in a bread line in Evanston, Wyo., waiting for food that would serve to keep both him and his single mother, Jesse, alive. It was at a time when the Great Depression severally hindered the entire nation in 1937.
By the age of 34, thirty years after he waited on that bread line, Buss made his first million. However, by 46, the Lakers owner along with business partner Frank Mariani, became a real estate tycoon when he turned that million dollars into an empire that spread over three states; California, Nevada and Arizona. The respective feat raised his net worth to roughly $350 million.
Prior to his tragic death, Buss had been in the hospital receiving treatment for an undisclosed for of cancer. A family spokesperson said that the cause of Buss's passing was a result of kidney failure, according to the New York Daily News.
After word leaked out that Buss had been hospitalized, current superstar Kobe Bryant and former Laker Shaquille O'Neil voiced their support for the infamous boss.
"Dr. Jerry Buss, thinking about u & wish I could be there, get well soon. I can't wait 2 see u on 4/2/13 #LoveYou #Lakers," tweeted O'Neil, who is having his Lakers number retired on April 2.
"He means everything to me. He took a chance on a 17-year-old kid coming out of Philadelphia when nobody really saw that potential. He believed in me the entire way," Bryant told USA Today in an article published on Friday.
Prior to his death, Buss spoke to the Los Angeles Times about his initial approach in terms of revamping the Los Angeles Lakers' franchise.
"I really tried to create a Laker image, a distinct identity. I mean, the Lakers are pretty damn Hollywood."