Jerry Buss Net Worth and Bio

Jerry Buss, an iconic figure in the world of professional basketball, left an indelible mark on the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers. As the owner of the Lakers, he was responsible for one of the most successful franchises in the league’s history. Jerry Buss was not only a businessman but a passionate fan who brought a unique perspective to the team. Now, we will provide a glimpse into the life of Jerry Buss, his early years, and the empire he built that resulted in an incredible net worth.

Net Worth: $600 Million
Date of Birth: Jan 27, 1933
Place of Birth: Salt Lake City, Utah
Gender: Male
Profession: Businessman, Entrepreneur, Poker Player, Philanthropist

Jerry Buss Early Life

Born on January 27, 1933, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Gerald Hatten Buss grew up in a working-class family. His father, Lyman Buss, was a construction worker, while his mother, Jessie Buss, worked as a waitress to make ends meet. Despite their financial struggles, Jerry’s parents instilled in him a strong work ethic and a thirst for knowledge.

Jerry excelled in school and, after high school, went on to attend the University of Wyoming. In 1953, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. Buss’s academic journey continued as he pursued a doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Southern California. By 1957, Jerry Buss had earned his Ph.D. and began working as a chemist for the Bureau of Mines in Los Angeles.

In the early 1960s, Buss realized that his knowledge in chemistry could be leveraged in other ways, and he made a pivotal decision to enter the world of real estate. Using his personal savings, Jerry bought an apartment building in West Los Angeles. This investment turned out to be a game-changer, as it marked the beginning of his meteoric rise in the real estate industry.

Jerry Buss Personal Life

Jerry Buss was known for his charisma and charm, qualities that made him a popular figure both in and out of the sports world. He was married twice in his life, first to JoAnn Mueller, with whom he had four children – Johnny, Jim, Jeanie, and Janie. The couple divorced in 1972. Later, Buss married Karen Demel, but they too eventually divorced. Despite his marriages ending, Jerry maintained strong relationships with his children, many of whom became involved in the management of the Lakers organization.

Buss was also known for his lavish lifestyle and love for the nightlife. He frequently hosted extravagant parties, inviting celebrities, athletes, and friends to mingle and enjoy the finer things in life. He was a regular at the famous Playboy Mansion and was friends with its owner, Hugh Hefner. Jerry’s passion for poker was well-known, and he often participated in high-stakes games, even competing in the World Series of Poker.

Jerry Buss Career

Jerry Buss’s career can be divided into three main segments: his early years as a chemist, his real estate ventures, and his ownership of the Los Angeles Lakers.

After completing his Ph.D. in physical chemistry, Buss worked as a chemist for the Bureau of Mines in Los Angeles. However, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to the real estate industry, where he made a name for himself. Jerry’s success in real estate provided the financial foundation for his most famous venture – owning the Los Angeles Lakers.

As the owner of the Lakers, Buss’s career was nothing short of extraordinary. He transformed the team into a basketball powerhouse, overseeing the development of the “Showtime” Lakers in the 1980s, which featured legendary players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy. This exciting and fast-paced style of play captured the imagination of fans and contributed to the team’s success on the court.

Jerry Buss continued to make savvy business moves during his time with the Lakers, including the acquisition of a young Kobe Bryant and the hiring of Phil Jackson as head coach. These decisions led to another era of dominance for the Lakers, with five championships between 2000 and 2010.

Buss’s impact on the Lakers and the NBA was immense. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 as a contributor to the sport, and his legacy continues to shape the Lakers organization and the league as a whole.

Jerry Buss Net Worth

Over the years, Jerry Buss’s real estate investments grew exponentially. His portfolio expanded to include residential and commercial properties throughout Southern California. The income generated from these investments allowed him to amass a considerable fortune. In 1979, Buss made a groundbreaking move when he acquired the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings (a professional hockey team), and the Forum sports arena from Jack Kent Cooke for a then-record sum of $67.5 million. This investment catapulted Jerry Buss to a new level of fame and fortune, as he became the owner of one of the most prestigious franchises in NBA history.

Under Buss’s ownership, the Lakers experienced unprecedented success. He was instrumental in recruiting top talent such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Kobe Bryant. The team flourished, winning ten NBA championships between 1980 and 2010. This success not only boosted the Lakers’ popularity but also significantly increased the franchise’s value.

At the time of his death in 2013, Jerry Buss’s net worth was estimated to be around $600 million. A considerable portion of this fortune was attributed to the value of the Lakers, which had grown to an estimated $1 billion by 2013. Today, the Lakers are worth even more, with Forbes estimating their value at $5.14 billion as of 2021.

Jerry Buss’s legacy extends far beyond his wealth. His innovative leadership and passion for the game of basketball changed the way professional sports franchises were managed. He was a trailblazer, setting new standards for team ownership and fan engagement.

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