Businessman Jerry Buss buying the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 marked the beginning of an incredible run of success for the NBA franchise over the next twenty years. Now, HBO’s ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty’ provides a dramatized version of that period.
After Jerry’s death, his children took up various roles within the organization, with Jeanie Buss ultimately becoming the president and controlling owner of the Lakers. She was only 17 when her father bought the team, and she held various managerial roles over the years, with the team winning the title in 2020. So, let’s find out more about her then, shall we?
Where is Jeanie Buss Now?
Jeanie was only 19 when she became the general manager of the Los Angeles Strings, a tennis team owned by Jerry. At the time, she was still working towards her business degree at the University of Southern California. Then, Jeanie became the president of the Forum, the Lakers’ home stadium until 1998. Regarding her time managing Strings, she said, “Basically, my dad bought me the team. It was a very empowering experience.”
While Jeanie was still the President of the Forum, she began taking up an increased role within the Lakers’ organization and has been attending the NBA Board of Governors meetings since 1995. About four years later, at the age of 41, she was named the executive vice president of the Lakers. Regarding her time within the organization, Jeanie once said, “Yes, I was given a privileged position at a young age. But if I had not been willing to work hard and prepare myself for all the challenges I would face, I would not have held on to my position all these years, regardless of my family ties.”
As the executive vice president, Jeanie managed the organization’s business side. In contrast, her brother, Jim, managed the basketball side of it at one point as the vice president of basketball operations. After Jerry’s death, Jeanie became the president of the Lakers. However, the family was embroiled in a legal battle regarding the ownership of the Lakers in 2017. In February that year, Jeanie removed Jim from his role and hired Magic Johnson, a Lakers legend, as the president of basketball operations.
After that, Jeanie’s brothers tried to have Jeanie removed as the president and controlling owner. However, that didn’t happen, with the brothers eventually agreeing that Jeanie would be the one in control as long as the Buss family owned the team. In a later interview, Jeanie said that one of the reasons for firing Jim was because she didn’t believe he made the right player trades. She said, “So as February approached, and the trade deadline, I was worried that my brother was going to make trades that would put us further down and take even longer to recover from, so I had to swiftly make a decision.”
On the personal front, Jeanie was in a long-term relationship with Phil Jackson, the Lakers coach, during two separate stints. The couple began dating in 1999 and engaged for four years when they broke it off in 2016. Jeanie is now in a relationship with actor and comedian Jay Mohr and lives in Los Angeles, California. Apart from the Lakers, Jeanie also co-owns Women of Wrestling. Furthermore, stand-up comedy was something she always wanted to try, eventually leading her to develop a comedy show with Mindy Lahiri, Elaine Ko, and Linda Rambis. The series is set in the back offices of an NBA team and was recently greenlit for a 10-episode season by Netflix.