Jeanie Marie Buss is an American businesswoman. She is the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and currently serves as its president. A California native, Buss grew up in an affluent family. Her father, Jerry Buss, was a real-estate tycoon who later became the owner of the Lakers and other sports businesses. Her parents parted ways in 1972, which made her feel that she was emotionally abandoned. When she was 19 years old, she joined the family business as the general manager of the Los Angeles Strings professional tennis team. She later set up the Los Angeles Blades professional roller hockey team. She served as the president of the Great Western Forum before assuming the duties of the vice president of the Lakers. Her father passed away in 2013, and his controlling ownership of the Lakers was inherited by Buss and her five siblings through a family trust, with each sibling having an equal vote. In 2013-14, she assumed the duties of the president of the Los Angeles Lakers. Buss is also a co-owner of Women of Wrestling, a pro-wrestling promotion headquartered in Los Angeles.
World TeamTennis, a tennis league owned by Jeanie Buss’ father, ceased operation in 1978 but was brought back in 1981 as TeamTennis. Jerry Buss assumed the ownership of the new version of the Strings, a team under Team Tennis, and appointed Jeanie Buss as the general manager of the franchise. She was 19 years old at the time and attending the University of Southern California (USC). She oversaw the franchise for a little over a decade until it folded in 1993. Buss then introduced professional roller hockey to Los Angeles by launching the Los Angeles Blades in 1993. The franchise played in the Roller Hockey International league, which awarded her the Executive of the Year accolade.
Buss was the president of the Great Western Forum, which served as the home arena for the Lakers at the time. While she worked at the Forum, her influence with the Lakers grew. In 1999, she joined the Lakers as the executive vice president of business operations. Her brother Jim was made the vice president of player personnel in 2005. Their father wanted Jeanie Buss to eventually make the business decisions for the team and Jim to take charge of the basketball side.
In 2005, she was listed as one of the Top 20 Most Influential Women in Sports by Sporting News. She was hailed by Forbes as "one of the few powerful women in sports management". ESPN considers her to be "one of the most powerful women in the NBA".
Her father died of cancer on February 18, 2013. His 66% controlling ownership was eventually distributed among his six children through a trust, with each of them being granted an equal vote. According to Jerry’s succession plan, Buss was supposed to be the Lakers’ governor and the team representative at NBA Board of Governors meetings, the positions Jerry held when he was alive. In 2013-14, she began her tenure as the president of the Lakers.
Jeanie Buss fired Mitch Kupchak as general manager and received Jim’s resignation from his position as the VP of Basketball Operations on February 21, 2017. She subsequently appointed Magic Johnson as President of Basketball Operations. She later gave the general manager position to sports agent Rob Pelinka.
In 2000, Buss co-founded Women of Wrestling (WoW) with David McLane. She co-authored the memoir ‘Laker Girl’ with Steve Springer. The book was published in 2010 through Triumph Books.
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Family & Personal Life
Jeanie Buss was born on September 26, 1961, in Santa Monica, California, USA, to Jerry Buss and JoAnn Mueller. She was her parents’ third of four children. She has two older brothers, Johnny and Jim, and a younger sister, Janie. She also has two half-brothers from her father’s relationship with Karen Demel: Joey and Jesse.
Buss did not adjust well after her parents’ divorce, which occurred in 1972. She has spoken about it, revealing that she felt emotionally abandoned. When she was 14 years old, she began accompanying her father, the owner of the Los Angeles Strings, to World Team Tennis meetings. At the age of 17, she started living with her father in Beverly Hills at his 18-acre estate, Pickfair. In time, she learned everything about the estate and often served as a tour guide. After earning a highschool diploma, she enrolled at the University of Southern California (USC), from where she graduated with an honours degree in business.
In 1990, Buss married volleyball player Steve Timmons. However, they divorced three years later, in 1993. The union did not produce any children. Buss has since stated that "I never put my marriage first ... It was always business which attracted me." She appeared nude in the May 1995 issue of ‘Playboy.’ In December 1999, she started dating former Lakers coach and former New York Knicks President Phil Jackson, and they later got engaged. However, Jackson put out a statement on December 27, 2016, revealing that they had ended their engagement.