On October 25 in the year 1912, one of the most influential persons in the history of professional sports was born in Ontario, Canada. His name was Jack Kent Cooke, the former owner of professional teams in football, basketball, hockey and soccer.
Jack Kent Cooke was the son of a picture frame businessman who lost his business due to the Great Depression. He quit school early and became a salesman for an encyclopedia door to door. Later, he was working as an errand boy at the Toronto Stock Exchange. After that, he was employed in a radio station where he met Roy Thomson, a telecommunications magnate.
Roy offered Jack a job as manager of one of his radio stations and later, they were partners in acquiring struggling stations and turning them around. They also bought dying newspapers in Toronto and Quebec. At 31 years old he became a millionaire.
After World War II, Jack Kent Cooke began his journey in the field of sports when he acquired the minor league Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club. Through some ingenious promotional strategies, he was able to generate interest in the team. In 1952, he was named minor league executive of the year by a sporting magazine. In 1960, he moved to the United States after he acquired the Washington Redskins football team for $300,000. Later, he purchased the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team for $5.1 million followed by the Los Angeles Kings hockey team for $2 million. In 1967, he became one of the founders of the United Soccer Association as owner of the Los Angeles Wolves team. That same year, he opened his own arena, the $16 million Inglewood Forum.
After becoming a US citizen, Jack Kent Cooke became the owner of newspapers and cable TV companies. He also purchased the famous Chrysler Building in New York City.
Jack Kent Cooke died of heart failure in 1997 at the age of 84. He married five times and had three children.