Tip-Off Timer: Lakers Purchased for a Pittance in '57
One of the basic facts of NBA team ownership is that the value of a franchise rises over time. So it's no surprise that the Lakers, for example, are worth much more today than in, say, 1957. Forbes estimates that the Lakers franchise is currently worth $584 million; you imagine it would take an even heftier price to yank the franchise away from Jerry Buss and AEG.
But back in 1957, a Minnesotan group of owners which included current Minneapolis Star-Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman sold the fledgling Lakers to Bob Short for the minute sum of $150,000 (adjusted for inflation, that's $1.1. million in 2009 dollars). Short, a Minnesotan, outbidded investors from Kansas City who had hoped to move the Lakers there. Short tried to stick it out in Minneapolis, but with (pictured) George Mikan retired, there was no hope. Three years later, a move to Los Angeles made the Lakers the NBA's first team on the West Coast. The rest, they say, is history.