The frozen fields of Wyoming came first. Long before the championship trophies. Before the glitz and glamour. Jerry Buss was still a teenager, digging ditches beside his stepfather, when he dreamed of bigger things.
It was youthful ambition — a hunger for excitement — that led him to Southern California, where he amassed a fortune in real estate, traded it all to buy the Lakers, then became the man who transformed pro basketball from sport into spectacle.
"I really tried to create a Laker image, a distinct identity," he said years later. "I think we've been successful. I mean, the Lakers are pretty damn Hollywood."
The same could be said of Buss,...