Dr. Jerry Buss, the essential patriarch of the Los Angeles Lakers, died on Monday at the age of 80. He reportedly had been battling cancer for the last two years. While he had earned a Ph.D. in chemistry, Dr. Buss is probably best known for building the success of the franchise through the 1980's. Known as "Showtime" the team featured a litany of stars including Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, and Mychal Thompson. Led by Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley, the Lakers won five NBA Championships in the 1980's.
The Lakers' success continued in the 2000's after hiring legendary coach Phil Jackson. With perennial All-Stars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers won three consecutive NBA championships (2000-2003).
Aside from success on the basketball court, Dr. Buss was instrumental in creating a first-class experience at Laker games, which led to a constant courtside presence of A-list celebrities.
We find Dr. Buss' professional life compelling not just for what he built, but for how he set the organization up to run smoothly after he would be gone. The Buss family owns 66 percent of the team, and that ownership stake will now be put into a trust. An important provision of the trust prevents the team from being sold into smaller pieces. If the family wanted to sell the team, it would have to be done by a majority vote among Dr. Buss' six children.
The story exemplifies the importance of business owners to plan for future generations so that the legacies they create with their business endeavors live on. For questions on wills, trusts and other estate planning vehicles can accomplish this, an experienced estate planning attorney can help.
Source: LA Times.com, Lakers expected to remain a Buss family owned team, February 19, 2013