- Full Name: Gerald Hatten Buss
- Born: 01/27/1933
- Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah
- Occupation: Sports Franchise Owner
- Marital Status Divorced
Jerry Buss Net Worth History
Jerry Buss was best known to the world and made much of his fortune as the majority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. (The Lakers are a professional basketball franchise in the National Basketball Association.). Buss purchased the Lakers for less than $20,000,000 in 1979. That purchase was just one part of a deal that included the Forum sports arena and the Los Angeles Kings, a professional hockey team. The Lakers and Kings both called the Forum home. Buss later sold the Forum and the Kings. Buss, a chemistry teacher by profession, had began dabbling in real estate ventures some years earlier. It was his success in real estate that gave him the foundation in knowledge and finances to become a sports team owner. At various points in his life Buss also owned the Los Angeles String, a professional tennis team. the Los Angeles Sparks women’s professional basketball team and the Los Angeles Lazers, a professional soccer franchise. Jerry Buss, who died of cancer in 2013, was also a world class poker player.
About Jerry Buss
Jerry Buss was born in Salt Lake City in the midst of the great depression that affected much of the United States in the 1930’s. Years later, when he had become wealthy, he would recall standing in bread lines as a very small child. Jerry Buss was a living picture of the fulfillment of the American dream.
Buss and his divorced, single mother moved to Los Angeles when he was nine years old. Three years later his mother remarried and the family moved to Kemmerer, Wyoming where Jerry spent his adolescent years. Aided by a full scholarship, he was able to attend the University of Wyoming where he earned his B.S. degree in less than three years. Jerry Buss then enrolled in the University of Southern California (USC) By the time he was 24 he had earned a Masters degree as well as a Doctorate in physical chemistry. Dr. Buss used his degrees and knowledge of Chemistry to get work with the bureau of mines and the aerospace industry. He also held a position as an instructor at USC.
Unsatisfied with the income his teaching generated , Buss sought an alternative. The answer came through real estate investing. The chemistry professor’s first investment was $1000 which he put into an apartment building. That investment, and enough others paid off so well he decided to abandon teaching and focus on real estate ventures. His success in real estate and some other business ventures put him in a position to purchase the Lakers less than two decades later.
Under Dr Buss’ leadership the Los Angeles Lakers became one of the most successful sports franchises in the world. Altogether the Lakers won ten championships under his tenure. Buss’ emphasis on making a basketball game enjoyable and entertaining for all may have been a major factor in the great ‘Showtime’ Lakers teams of the 1990’s. Dr. Jerry Buss was recognized for the contributions he made to professional basketball in 2010 when he was inducted into that sport’s Hall of Fame.
Buss was adept enough at poker to compete and do well in nationally televised tournaments: including a second place finish in the World Poker Tour in 2003. In 2008 Dr. Buss remembered USC with a multi million dollar gift to its Chemistry department. He was also known to be loyal and financially supportive of players and others associated with the Lakers who were in difficult situations.
Dr. Buss’ lost a long battle with illness and died in 2013 less than a month after his 80th birthday. His six children inherited equal shares of the two thirds of the Lakers owned by their father; with daughter Jeanie assuming the most active role in the actual operation of the team’s business affairs.