Some of the most enigmatic characters in the NBA are not the players, but the team owners themselves. Many of them qualify amongst the richest people in the USA, and certainly are in the top echelons worldwide as well. Team owners inject the franchise with not only money, but their identity and their direction. A successful franchise must have a team owner who is involved with the organization and invested in its success.
Does Jerry Buss still own the Los Angeles Lakers? Jerry Buss was the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers from 1979 until 2013, when he passed away. Buss owned a 66% controlling interest in the Lakers, and at the time of his death, the ownership was passed down to his 6 children, each with an 11% stake. His daughter, Jeanie Buss, in 2017 assumed the role as Team Representative and Governor, and still holds the position today.
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How did Jerry Buss become the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers?
Jerry Buss had quite a journey to reach financial success. Born and raised in poverty, Buss worked hard to get a scholarship to the University of Wyoming. After graduating, Buss pursued further studies in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California (USC), earning his Masters and PhD by the time he was 24. While he was teaching at USC in the 1960s, Buss decided to invest in real estate to generate extra income. After finding some early success, he started up a real estate investment agency with a friend.
After growing his agency into a successful empire, Jerry Buss came to own the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that included several other properties (including the Forum, which is the stadium where the Lakers would play), for $67.5 million in 1979.
What did Jerry Buss do as the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers?
Jerry Buss had a magnificent run as the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. Buss was shrewd but also very innovative. He had a mindset that basketball games should be entertainment, as he himself was a frequent club-goer. With that mindset, Buss quickly began to make his mark on the Lakers organization. He insisted that the Lakers run an up-tempo, showy offense, which was spearheaded by the dazzling point guard Magic Johnson. He added live music and cheerleaders to entertain fans throughout the game. He turned the Forum into a hotbed of celebrities, who occupied the courtside seats as well as the Forum Club, which became a gathering of any prominent member of Hollywood. This era was called the “Showtime” Lakers, and the influence of Jerry Buss in all of the franchise’s activities were clear.
While Buss made sure that the Lakers were one of the best in the league for entertainment, he was also adamant that the Lakers win. Once he had injected the franchise with his energy and identity, he usually kept a hands-off approach on the basketball side of things, trusting his aides to do well, although he remained observant and in touch. Buss spent a lot of money on his players, especially during a time when NBA salaries were nowhere near what we know them as today. This all led to 10 NBA championships for the Lakers during his 34-year tenure: 5 with the Showtime Lakers, and 5 more during the Kobe Bryant era. The Lakers have remained mostly relevant ever since Buss got a hold of the organization, and it remains one of the premier franchises in American sports.
Who is the current owner of the Los Angeles Lakers?
Jerry Buss passed away in 2013, after battling cancer. At the time, Buss owned a 66% controlling interest in the Lakers, and through a trust, this ownership stake was passed down to his 6 children. Each of the children received a 11% stake of the ownership. Jeanie Buss is the acting team representative and governor of the Lakers as of 2017, making her the face of the current Lakers ownership. All 6 of the Buss children, at the time of Jerry Buss’ death, were working at some capacity within the Lakers organization.
Philip Anschutz is the biggest minority owner of the Lakers, with a 27% minority interest, which he bought in 1998. There are other owners as well, which at one point included former Lakers star Magic Johnson.
Did Jerry Buss own any other NBA teams?
Jerry Buss did not own any other NBA teams, but he did own other sports teams at some point in his life. In the deal which he acquired the Lakers, Buss also acquired the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, which he later sold in 1988. He also owned the WNBA counterpart of the Lakers, the Los Angeles Sparks, before he sold the franchise in 2006. Buss also owned a soccer team and a tennis team, both of which have been defunct for many years now.
What is the valuation of the Los Angeles Lakers?
In 2021, Forbes valued the Los Angeles Lakers at $4.6 billion, the third-highest in the NBA.
Who is the richest NBA owner?
The richest owner in the NBA is Stephen Ballmer, who is the owner of the cross-town rival Los Angeles Clippers. Having bought the Clippers in 2014, Ballmer’s net worth is at a reported $98 billion, which makes him far richer than any other NBA owner, and is also one of the top ten richest people in the world.
Not only was Jerry Buss a successful owner of the Lakers, but he showed a new way for owners to run their franchises. His insistence on entertainment always added on top of the basketball, but did not let it interfere with the performance of his team. In fact, the Lakers were one of the most successful franchises during the time Buss was owner. His impact on the NBA has been widely praised, and although he has passed, his influence on the Lakers, via his children, lives on to this day.