Things that you do throughout your life ultimately add up to comprise your legacy to one extent or another. Some people make a difference in subtle ways, and others leave behind some very profound representations that are plain for everyone to see.
In the case of the recently departed Jerry Buss the legacy that he left behind is multi-faceted, but it is probably safe to say that he will be best remembered as the man who molded the Los Angeles Lakers as we know them today.
The goal of a professional basketball franchise owner is to put a winner on the court, because winning teams put people in the seats. The Los Angeles Lakers captured no less than 10 NBA titles while Jerry Buss was the majority owner.
When you invest in something you obviously hope that it goes up in value over the years. The purchase of the Lakers provided an extraordinary return on investment for Jerry Buss. When his ownership group bought the team in 1979 the price tag on the franchise was $20 million.
The current value of the Los Angeles Lakers is said to be in the vicinity of $1 billion.
That’s a lot of money, and passing it along is going to result in a very large estate tax bill. It can be difficult for some families to hold on to a sports franchise that they inherit because they have to find someone to buy the team to generate the cash they need to pay the estate tax bill.
In this instance the foresight of Jerry Buss is enabling his family to retain ownership of the majority share of the Lakers. He has six children who form an ownership collective, and they have their father’s legacy in their hands.