Forty years ago, Jerry Buss purchased the Los Angeles Lakers, along with the Los Angeles Kings and The Forum, for $67.5 million. Forty years later, the Buss family still owns the Lakers, who as of 2018 are valued at $3.3 billion.
They could always cash out on their profits and walk away from the basketball business completely, but controlling owner Jeanie Buss told Zach Lowe of ESPN on “The Lowe Post” that her family has no interest in selling the team.
“There’s no reason for us to ever sell the Lakers.
“The asset is held in a trust, which is the Lakers stock, and I’m the person in charge of overseeing that -- the running of the asset. And then there’s beneficiaries, which are all my siblings. So we are all the beneficiaries of this."
If for some reason the Lakers did decide to sell the team, though, Buss said it wouldn’t be a decision made by her alone.
“Ultimately, because the NBA only recognizes one controlling owner and I am recognized as that controlling owner (she is in charge of the decision). But the way I like to to run things is by consensus and building relationships in my family and making sure that everybody is happy with how things are going. And I think that -- unless you (Lowe) know otherwise, and you could probably tell me -- that they’re satisfied with the direction that the team is going, the relationships with our broadcast partner, with our arena, with the things that are important in the economics of running a professional team... I think we’re in a really good place.”
If this were any other family in the NBA, perhaps this would be a conversation worth having, but the Buss family have been involved with the team for four decades now, and their roots go beyond just owning the team.
Prior to being fired in 2017, Jeanie’s brother Jim served as a team executive for over a decade and had some success in that position. Meanwhile, Jeanie’s brothers Jesse and Joey are pillars in the Lakers’ front office.
They’ve had more than their fair share of drama, like any family does, but it’s been a mostly fruitful partnership for forty years. It doesn't seem like that's set to end any time soon.