The sports world lost a giant on Monday. Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss died as the result of renal failure brought on by cancer. He was 80 years old.
Of course, anybody who follows the NBA at all knows that, under Buss, the Lakers became what they are today: a championship juggernaut. So today, in honor of the late Gerald Buss, PhD, we’re going to take a look at where he ranks in the pantheon of winningest sports team owners.
Now, this list is as objective as possible. The criteria for “winningest” is simple: how many championships did a guy (and yes, they’re all guys) win as an owner? We’re not talking about “the best” owners (though you would think “best” would have something to do with championships), and we’re not talking about the most “significant” or “important” owners. Championship rings are all that matter here.
How were ties broken, you ask? Well, I tried to be objective there, too. To break ties, I ranked the owners with better championship winning percentages higher. So if a guy won 5 championships in 10 years, that’s a .500 winning percentage, and it would rank him higher than a guy who won 5 championships in 15 years.
And one last thing—you’ll notice that I had to limit the scope of this list to the four major North American sports leagues. Sure, it would have been cool to scan the globe for great owners in any first-tier league. But that wasn’t really feasible and, more importantly, it’s kind of difficult to compare compare winning an NBA championship to a Premier League championship. Not only are they contested differently, but the system in place in English soccer make it pretty much impossible for all but 5 or 6 teams to ever win.
But enough of the introductions and disclaimers. Let’s check out the winningest team owners, shall we?