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File | Associated Press
In this 1980 photo, Los Angeles Lakers coach Paul Westhead, left, shake hands with Lakers' owner Jerry Buss.

Get on the Buss

Hard to argue that Lakers owner Jerry Buss, dead at the age of 80, wasn't perhaps the most successful owner in major American professional sports history, seeing as how he had an NBA championship ring for every finger on both hands.

(I'll let you do the math there. If you come up with a number other than 10, it's time to go back to elementary school).

At any rate, I'd be inclined to take it a step further.

Says here that, while David Stern traditionally gets the credit for saving the NBA from itself back there in the 1980s, it doesn't happen without Buss. Buss, after all, created Showtime. And Showtime -- and its magnificent foil, the Larry Bird Celtics -- gave Stern something to sell in the early days. And that enabled the NBA to position itself to take full advantage when the marketing monster that was Michael Jordan came along.

So, yeah. You can add that the Jerry Buss' trophy case.

Ben Smith's blog.