Jeanie Marie Buss
September 26, 1961
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Southern California|
|Occupation||President of the Los Angeles Lakers|
Co-owner of the Women of Wrestling promotion.
(m. 1990; div. 1993)
Jeanie Marie Buss (born September 26, 1961) is an American sports executive who is the controlling owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A daughter of Jerry Buss, who owned the Lakers and other sports businesses, she entered the family business as general manager of the Los Angeles Strings professional tennis team at 19. She later bought the Los Angeles Blades professional roller hockey team. She served as president of the Great Western Forum before becoming vice president of the Lakers. After her father died in 2013, his controlling ownership of the Lakers passed to his six children via a family trust, with each sibling receiving an equal vote. Buss took over as team president and as the Lakers representative on the NBA Board of Governors. In 2020, she became the first female controlling owner to guide her team to an NBA championship.
Born in Santa Monica, California, Buss was the third of four children to Joann and Jerry Buss, and one of two daughters; she grew up with older brothers Johnny and Jim and younger sister Janie. Their parents divorced in 1972, leaving Buss feeling emotionally abandoned. At age 14, Buss attended World Team Tennis meetings with her father, who owned the Los Angeles Strings. When she was 17, she moved in with her father at Pickfair. She became so familiar with the estate that she led guided tours. Buss attended college at the University of Southern California (USC), where she majored in business and graduated with honors.
World TeamTennis folded in 1978, and was revived in 1981 as TeamTennis. Jerry once again owned the second incarnation of the Strings, and he appointed the 19-year-old Jeanie as the general manager while she was studying at USC. "Basically, my dad bought me the team," said Buss. After the Strings folded in 1993, Buss brought professional roller hockey to Los Angeles as owner of the Los Angeles Blades in Roller Hockey International. The league named her Executive of the Year. Buss also served four years as president of the Great Western Forum, then the home arena of the Lakers. Throughout her stint with the Forum, her role with the Lakers increased, and she served as the Alternate Governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 1995. In 1999, she was named executive vice president of business operations for the Lakers. Her brother Jim was promoted to vice president of player personnel in 2005. Their father's plan was to have Jeanie handle the business decisions of the team, while Jim handled the basketball side of the Lakers.
Sporting News in 2005 named Buss as one of the Top 20 Most Influential Women in Sports. In 2011, Forbes called Buss "one of few powerful women in sports management", and ESPN said she is "one of the most powerful women in the NBA".
After her father died in 2013, his 66% controlling ownership of the Lakers passed to his six children via a trust, with each child receiving an equal vote. Jerry's succession plan had Jeanie assume his previous title as the Lakers' governor as well as its team representative at NBA Board of Governors meetings. That summer, Buss commented that "I would be more comfortable if I understood what the decision process [on the Lakers' basketball side] was, and I'm not always involved in it." In 2013–14, she became president of the Lakers; she continued to lead the team's business operations, while also overseeing its basketball operations by working with her brother Jim, who continued as executive VP of basketball operations.
Buss terminated Mitch Kupchak as General Manager and accepted the resignation of her brother Jim as VP of Basketball Operations on February 21, 2017, installing Magic Johnson as President of Basketball Operations. Johnson, who played for the Lakers from 1979–1991 and in 1996, had also served as VP, coach, and part-owner of the organization. Buss would then hire sports agent Rob Pelinka to be the new general manager. According to Buss, the team did not go through a public interview process to hire a GM because she did not want to tip off her brother, as the siblings were in a legal battle over control of the team.
In addition to her Lakers' management, Buss is the owner of the WOW-Women Of Wrestling. On October 6, 2021, on top of the Circa Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, ViacomCBS Global Distribution President Dan Cohen announced alongside Buss and her long time business partner David McLane that ViacomCBS had entered into a multi-year distribution agreement for WOW. The distribution for WOW marks the largest media distribution platform for women's wrestling in history.
Buss married volleyball player Steve Timmons in 1990, but divorced after three years. According to Buss, "I never put my marriage first ... It was always business which attracted me." She posed nude in the May 1995 issue of Playboy. She was engaged to former Lakers coach and former New York Knicks President Phil Jackson for four years, after dating him since December 1999. On December 27, 2016, Jackson cited "professional obligations and the geographic distance" resulting in breaking off their engagement. After their breakup, Buss consulted with Jackson for input on the Lakers.
- Buss, Jeanie; Springer, Steve (2010). Laker Girl. Triumph Books. p. 24. ISBN 9781600785115.
- Perez, A. J.; Zillgitt, Jeff (March 27, 2017). "Lakers' family feud ends with Jeanie Buss as controlling owner". USA Today. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
- Fenno, Nathan (July 3, 2018). "It was 16 months ago when Jeanie Buss made a daring move to seize control of the Lakers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
- Plaschke, Bill (October 11, 2020). "Kobe Bryant's spirit is present in Lakers' NBA championship triumph". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
- Lidz, Franz (November 2, 1998). "She's Got Balls". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- "Los Angeles Lakers 2011–12 Media Guide". Los Angeles Lakers. p. 11. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- Goudreau, Jenna (January 24, 2011). "LA Lakers' Jeanie Buss Doesn't Play By The Rules". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 4, 2013.
- Hopkins, Jim (January 5, 2003). "More daughters get keys to family firms". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 14, 2014.
- Ding, Kevin (May 26, 2011). "Jim Buss in 2005: 'Eventually, my dad retires'". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013.
- Siler, Ross (August 24, 2005). "Meet The New Buss Jerry's Son, Jim, Is Carving His Own Niche As Heir To Lakers Empire". Daily News. Los Angeles. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2013.(subscription required)
- Ireland, John (May 3, 2009). "All in the Family". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 21, 2013.
- Shelburne, Ramona (November 2, 2010). "Jeanie Buss talks about life with Lakers". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012.
- Bresnahan, Mike (April 19, 2014). "Buss family faces crucial moment with the Lakers". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014.
- Markazi, Arash (February 18, 2013). "Buss family won't sell Lakers". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2013.
- Medina, Mark (February 18, 2013). "Jerry Buss' family will honor his wishes and keep Lakers". Daily News. Los Angeles. Archived from the original on March 2, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Bresnahan, Mike (February 19, 2013). "Lakers expected to remain a Buss family-owned team". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 20, 2013.
- Deveney, Sean (August 15, 2013). "Jim Buss and the Lakers, still paying for Chris Paul". SportingNews.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013.
- "Lakers 2013–14 Media Guide" (PDF). Los Angeles Lakers. 2013. p. 7. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 28, 2013.
- Bresnahan, Mike (March 19, 2014). "Jeanie Buss explains Kobe Bryant's contract, Phil Jackson situation". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014.
- Amick, Sam (October 7, 2020). "'Woooooo!': On Rob Pelinka, LeBron James and a Lakers turnaround that's almost complete". The Athletic. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
As Lakers owner Jeanie Buss told me recently on the 'Tampering' podcast, the covert nature of it all was necessary for her to keep her brother and former Lakers executive Jim Buss from wrestling away controlling interest of the franchise.
- "Lakers Owner Jeanie Buss on the NBA Finals and how LeBron is different". The Athletic NBA Show (Podcast). The Athletic. September 29, 2020. Event occurs at 29:18. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
- "ViacomCBS Inks Multiyear Distribution Deal with WOW — Women of Wrestling". The Hollywood Reporter. 7 October 2021.
- "ViacomCBS Syndicating 'WOW – Women of Wrestling' Reboot in 160 U.S. Markets, Beginning in 2022". 7 October 2021.
- "'WOW' Women of Wrestling to launch new weekend episodes after ViacomCBS deal". 7 October 2021.
- Springer, Steve (November 24, 2002). "Buss—The Next Generation". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019.
- Wise, Mike (May 27, 2001). "He Just Wins, and Wins". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
- "Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss call off engagement". 28 December 2016.
- Plaschke, Bill (May 10, 2022). "Jeanie Buss says she isn't happy, vows 'I've got to make it better'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
- "Jeanie Buss Loves Jay Mohr, and She Wants Everyone to Know It". 26 September 2021.
Media related to Jeanie Buss at Wikimedia Commons