Jerry Buss owned the Lakers for a period of 34 years from 1979 to 2013. The Los Angeles Lakers won 10 NBA championships under his regime.

While in charge, Buss transformed the Lakers into one of the most successful and glamorous franchises in NBA history. They clinched 10 titles and consistently assembled a talented squad of players.

Besides, the Lakers also made 16 NBA Finals appearances during his extensive tenure as the club's boss.

Jerry focused on creating an environment where greatness could grow. He brought in an excellent coach like Phil Jackson and got superstar players like Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Sadly, on February 18, 2013, Dr Buss passed away from complications of cancer at the age of 80. But his memory lives on, especially in the hearts of Lakers fans.

When Did Jerry Buss Buy The Lakers?

Jerry Buss finalized his purchase of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. Buss bought the team from Canadian-American businessman Jack Kent Cooke.

This acquisition marked a changing era for both the franchise and professional basketball as a whole. Under Buss' esteemed leadership, the Lakers experienced remarkable success on and off the court throughout his ownership tenure.

Buss did not just bring together amazing teams with famous players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bryant. He came up with new ideas to market the team and generate interest, revolutionizing sports shows.

Mitch Kupchak, Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson, Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson posing at the Magic Johnson Foundation Press Briefing in November 2011
Source : facebook

When Buss first got the team, he saw they were selling tickets for good seats at a lower price. He talked to people and realized that they could charge more for those seats because they had young Magic Johnson and a great team.

Back then, there was no market for reselling tickets, but Jerry understood that he could earn more money. He knew he was missing out on making more money from specific ticket prices.

The Lakers were doing well, but selling game tickets was harder. So he came up with the idea of creating special seats called the Senate seats, which is like the early version of the club suites we have now.

Buss made a special section for people willing to pay more, which was something new that other teams were not doing at the time.

Moreover, Buss prioritized building strong relationships with the players and coaches and spent a lot of money to get the best talent. This plan worked really well, as the Lakers were fearless with Buss in charge.

How Much Did Jerry Buss Pay For The Lakers?

Jerry Buss paid $20 million for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. This was a significant amount of money at the time.

Buss bought the franchise from Jack Kent Cooke, who had the team for a long time since 1965. Cooke acquired the Lakers for just a minimal fee of $5.175 million in September 1965.

Jerry Buss with his daughter Jeanie Buss in Hollywood, CA, 2013
Source : gettyimages

This stark contrast showcases just how much value and prestige had been added to the franchise under Cook's astute management, which was further enhanced by the arrival of Buss.

When delving into the breakdown of the price Buss spent to own the LA Lakers, which was 20 million dollars, it was worth every penny.

He paid a total of $67.5 million for the whole package, which includes the Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, The Forum and NV real estate.

While many owners only care about making money for themselves, Buss went beyond just winning games. He understood that making the games entertaining for fans was really important.

After coming to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1961, the team did well by winning one NBA championship and reaching the NBA Finals nine times. However, although good, their performance still fell short of what they aimed for.

Lakers celebrating their 75th club anniversary in August 2022
Source : twitter

While many owners only care about making money for themselves, Buss went beyond just winning games. He understood that making the games entertaining for fans was really important.

Furthermore, the Lakers' $20 million tag was relatively high compared to other franchises when looking at teams that involved trading during that period.

For example, the Boston Celtics were purchased by Don Gaston, Alan N. Cohen, and Paul Dupee in 1983, but they paid only $17 million for the Celtics.

Meanwhile, Red McCombs paid only $2 million to buy the Denver Nuggets in 1978. Houston Rockets were valued at 9.8 million in 1982 when Charlie Thomas purchased the franchise.

Jerry Buss Fortune Breakdown

Jerry Buss net worth was evaluated to be $600 million at the time of his demise in 2013.

He owned not only the Los Angeles Lakers but also the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Los Angeles Sparks women's basketball team, and the Forum sports arena.

Jerry Buss Lakers ownership was instrumental in establishing a winning culture and creating a dynasty in NBA

When Buss passed away, the Lakers were the most valuable thing he owned. They were estimated to be worth $1 billion back then. Similarly, the Kings were worth $500 million, the Sparks were worth $100 million, and the Forum was worth $200 million.

Jeanie Buss shared this picture of Jerry on his birthday in 2019
Source : twitter

Similarly, after his passing, 66% of Lakers ownership went to his six children through a trust. Each offspring got an equal stake, which is 11% each.

Jeanie Buss, the oldest of the children, is the boss and president of the Lakers. She's in charge and also represents the team at important NBA meetings.

In addition to his substantial wealth in other areas, Buss also possessed a considerable portfolio of real estate assets. He held multiple commercial properties in the city of Los Angeles and also enjoyed a vacation residence in Hawaii.

The Salt Lake City, Utah native started from zero when he first ventured into business as a real estate investor in the 1960s.

Buss started by investing $1,000 in an apartment building in West Los Angeles. Later he teamed up with his friend Frank Mariani to create a company called Mariani-Buss Associates.

Furthermore, Jerry was also highly active in philanthropy and charitable work. In 2008, he gave a big donation of $7.5 million to the Chemistry Department at USC.

Lakers Owner Before Jerry Buss

Los Angeles Lakers ownership before Jerry Buss took over included:

  • Jack Kent Cooke
  • Bob Short
  • Ben Berger & Morris Chalfen

The storied legacy of the LA Lakers dates back to 1947, when they were initially known as the Minneapolis Lakers.

The Lakers team got its start when Minnesota natives Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems, a disbanded NBL team. They paid $15,000 to C. King Boring and Maury Winston.

Berger and Chalfen moved the team to Minneapolis and subsequently rebranded them as the Lakers, drawing inspiration from Minnesota's nickname, the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."

During their tenancy, the Lakers won five NBA championships in 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, and 1954.

A Picture of Jack Kent Cooke laughing
Source : facebook

In 1957, the franchise was almost sold to Kansas City interests, who wanted to move it there. But then a group from Minneapolis, led by businessman Bob Short, bought the team and ensured it stayed in Minneapolis.

However, three years later in 1960, Short decided to move the club to Los Angeles prior to the 1961 season, but the name remained unchanged.

After Jack Kent bought the franchise from Short in 1965, he changed the name to the well-known "Los Angeles Lakers" we recognize today.

Like Buss, Cooke was also an owner of multiple other sports franchises, which include the NFL side Washington Redskins and the NHL team Los Angels Kings.

Moreover, Cooke had ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team and the Los Angeles Wolves soccer team.