LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been hospitalized with cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
The 79-year-old Buss has spent time in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, according to the Times, which quoted Buss' son, Jim, Thursday saying his father was "doing fine." Several current and former Lakers players, including Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson, have visited Buss.
Team spokesman John Black said the team has no plans to comment on Buss' health out of respect for the family's wishes. Buss spokesman Bob Steiner said information would have to come from the Lakers.
"Dr. Jerry Buss, thinking about u & wish I could be there, get well soon," former Lakers centre Shaquille O'Neal tweeted Thursday. "I cant wait 2 see u on 4/2/13 (hash)LoveYou."
The Lakers will retire O'Neal's No. 34 jersey on April 2.
Buss has been hospitalized several times in recent years, including a stint last July for dehydration. He was treated for blood clots in his legs in December 2011.
A former aerospace engineer and real-estate developer, Buss has been a prominent name in American sports since he bought the Lakers, the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the Forum from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979. Buss immediately transformed the Lakers into the NBA's most glamorous franchise, winning 10 NBA championships under his watch.
The Lakers won five titles in nine years during the 1980s, earning a reputation as basketball's most exciting team with their glamorous Showtime style led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson, who was Buss' first draft pick. O'Neal and Kobe Bryant then led the Lakers to a threepeat from 2000-02 under coach Phil Jackson before Bryant and Pau Gasol won two more titles in 2009 and 2010.
Buss' children moved into leadership roles with the Lakers in recent years. Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice-president of player personnel and the second of Buss' six children, has taken a leading role in basketball decisions, while daughter Jeanie plays a major role in running the franchise's business side.
Yet Jerry Buss was deeply involved the Lakers' most recent major moves, including the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard last summer, along with the firing of coach Mike Brown and the hiring of Mike D'Antoni early this season.