JoAnn Buss, former wife of longtime Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss and mother of the people who make the team’s current upper management, died. The team made the announcement Monday.
“The Lakers are saddened to announce the passing of JoAnn Buss, wife of former Lakers governor Dr. Jerry Buss and mother of Lakers governor Jeanie Buss and her siblings Johnny, Jimmy, and Janie Buss,” the team tweeted. “In lieu of flowers, the Buss family kindly requests that donations be made to The American Cancer Society or the Lakers Youth Foundation.”
JoAnn and Jerry Buss met while they were students at the University of Wyoming in the 1950s. They divorced in 1972, seven years before Jerry Buss purchased the Lakers (along with the Los Angeles Kings, the home arena for both teams — The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. — and a ranch) from Jack Kent Cooke.
Shortly after the Lakers’ announcement, Magic Johnson tweeted:
“I was saddened to hear the news that JoAnn Buss, mother of Jeanie, Johnny, Jim and Janie, and wife of Dr. Buss, has passed away. She was an incredible friend and woman. Cookie and I are glad she was a part of our lives for more than 40 years.”
Current Lakers star LeBron James also posted a message on Twitter about Buss’ passing.
“My condolences and prayers goes out to @JeanieBuss and the entire Buss family on their lost! #LakerNation stands as 1 with you guys during your difficult time!”
The Lakers are in the midst of a five-game road trip, with the fourth game of the trip at Indiana on Tuesday. Los Angeles has won seven games in a row.