If basketball numbers don’t do it for you, then the shear financial proof is enough backup as to why Jerry Buss is one of the best professional owners we’ve had the opportunity to see in our lifetimes. The Lakers are currently the most valuable NBA franchise according to the most recent Forbes rankings, worth approximately 607 million dollars, and 20 million ahead of the second place New York Knicks.
They also own the league’s highest operating income, at just a shade over 51 million dollars. Every year Buss pays massive amounts in luxury tax in order to employ the best players in the world on one roster, but has cited that winning it all in the end is priceless.
Unafraid to spend, he is an owner of which many fans and markets dream. The Lakers have become a global icon under Dr. Buss’ direction, much like the Yankees, the Cowboys or even Manchester United. In a city where bright lights and big names scatter the skies, Buss has made Los Angeles the Lakers’ town.
I was once told a story by an Aerospace Engineering professor of mine about how a young Dr. Buss came into his own. Working in the industry a short time before he blossomed into real estate, Jerry had a shrewd personality, something that would surface in his tenure as an owner later in life.
In his short stint with McDonnell Douglass, there was an instant when Jerry had two bosses for projects he was a part of. He told Boss A that Boss B was working him too hard in order to get Boss A to let him take days off. He would do the same to Boss B, so that essentially he was free from working at all.
In this down time, he would go around to fellow coworkers at the company and ask them to fund his investments in real estate properties. He used their money for promising real estate pieces and quickly accrued some wealth. One day the bosses met for lunch and Jerry was one of the topics they discussed.
They caught onto his game and were set to release him from the company, but Jerry had earned so much money that at this point that he was able to walk out on his own accord before anyone could let him go. Beginning with that small original investment, the rest is history.
This is a true testament of his passion for being an entrepreneur and his incredibly crafty personality.