Richest BusinessCEOs
Net Worth:
$700 Million
Jan 27, 1933 - Feb 18, 2013 (80 years old)
Salt Lake City
Chemist, Businessperson, Real estate entrepreneur, Professional Poker Player, Philanthropist
United States of America
💰 Compare Dr Jerry Buss' Net Worth

What was Jerry Buss' net worth?

Dr. Jerry Buss was an American entrepreneur and professional sports team owner who had a net worth of $700 million at the time of his death in 2013. Jerry Buss earned his first fortune in the real estate business. He then earned a much larger fortune (and fame) as the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. He was also at one time the owner of the Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), and the Los Angeles Lazers (soccer).

In case you were thinking that Jerry Buss' net worth would be much higher, perhaps in the billions, here's why that is not the case: At the time of his death Jerry's death in 2013 the Lakers were worth $900 million – $1 billion. Jerry did not own 100% of the team. He owned 66%. The remaining 34% was owned by: 8% of the team was owned by real estate billionaire Ed Roski (who bought his stake in 1998), and 26% was owned by AEG founder Phil Anschutz (who sold his stake in 2021 to private equity billionaires Mark Walter and Todd Boehly). So going back to 2013 when Jerry died, 66% of $900 million – $1 billion is somewhere in the range of $600 – $660 million.

Upon his death, Jerry's 66% share of the Lakers was inherited in equal shares by his six children through a family trust. Therefore, each child owns roughly 11% of the team. Today the Lakers are worth $6.5 billion. So each 11% stake is worth $715 million. From 2013 to 2017 the siblings attempted to control the team with equal votes with daughter Jeanie Buss acting essentially as the face of the family. In 2017 Johnny Buss attempted a coup to take control away from Jeanie. That coup failed and in the end the siblings awarded Jeanie 100% control of all Lakers decisions.

Jerry Buss

Jerry Buss / David Klein/Getty Images

Early Life

Jerry Buss was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Kemmerer, Wyoming by a single mother at the height of the Great Depression. One of his earliest memories was waiting on a bread line for food as a very young child.

Hard work earned Jerry a scholarship to the University of Wyoming where he graduated in just 2.5 years. By the time Jerry turned 24, he had received an MS and Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Southern California.

Real Estate Investments

After school he worked as a chemist and briefly in the aerospace industry before returning to USC as a faculty member in the chemistry department. While working at USC, Jerry began investing in real estate around Los Angeles to earn extra income to supplement his teacher's salary.

Jerry was soon earning so much money from his side business that he gave up teaching altogether to focus entirely on real estate. With time Jerry Buss would become a very wealthy man.

Jerry Buss Net Worth

(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

The Lakers

By 1979 Jerry had earned enough money to purchase The Lakers, The Kings and The Forum sports arena. He purchased all three for a total of  $67.5 million (of which just $16 million was for The Lakers). That's the inflation adjusted equivalent of $213 million today. At the time it was largest sports team purchase in history.

Within a year The Lakers had won their first of ten NBA championships under Jerry's leadership. At the time of his death in 2013, The Lakers were worth $1 billion. They were one of the first professional teams to achieve a billion-dollar valuation.

Incredibly, today The Lakers are one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, worth upwards of $6.5 billion.

Personal Life

Buss was also a talented poker player who competed professionally. On February 18, 2013, Dr. Jerry Buss died at a Los Angeles hospital after a prolonged battle with cancer. He is survived by six children who are all closely involved in The Lakers organization.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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