The Basketball Hall of Fame was widely expected to announce the induction of Lakers co-owner Jerry Buss Monday morning. The 77-year-old was one of 19 finalists for the honor.

In the largest sports deal at the time, Buss purchased the Lakers, the Forum, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and a 13,000-acre Kern County ranch in 1979 for $67.5 million. (He has since taken on Staples Center operator Phil Anschutz as a partner in Lakers' team ownership). Forbes, estimating the Lakers' worth at $607, named the team the top sports franchise in the nation late last year.

Buss has enjoyed nine championship years as owner of the Lakers — the most of any major pro-sports team since he took the reigns of the squad.

Speaking of Buss, NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters four years ago that “I think what his biggest problem is how much he's raised expectations of excellence and what is to be expected from his teams … Over the years the Lakers have become the standard by which all L.A. sports franchises and most American franchises get measured.''

-With reporting from City News Service.

LA Weekly