Jeanie Buss is most famously known as the controlling owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers team. Her father is Jerry Buss who also owned the team as well as other sports related businesses. Her name is synonymous with the team and she's made some decisions that made everyone love her as well as some that were less popular. She's led an interesting life and the press that she usually gets isn't the kind that tells us a lot about her as a person, but rather, how she manages the Lakers, so here are 20 things that you didn't know about Jeanie Buss.
1. She had a tough time as a kid
Jeanie is a native of Santa Monica, California. Her father was Jerry Buss, owner of the LA Lakers. She grew up around sports, but her upbringing wasn't all about happy times. She went through a period of struggling when she was young, due to the divorce of her mother and father. She shared that she felt emotionally abandoned. She ended up moving in with her father where she learned a great deal about what it took to work in the management aspect of sports teams.
2. She's worth millions
Jeanie Buss has done extremely well for herself in her career. She owns a controlling interest in the LA Lakers, and she has also amassed a large assortment of other assets. It has been estimated that she is worth $500 million as of 2019. That is halfway to the billion dollar mark. She was even listed on Forbes' Most Powerful Women in sports list and she came in eighth place for 2019 .
3. She's also a CEO
In addition to being an owner of an NBA team, Jeanie also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Lakers Organization. She doesn't just sit behind the sidelines and wait for the game results. She has a real job with some pretty massive responsibilities and she's very good at what she does. Jeanie loves working in the business world, even though she wouldn't have to work a day in her life if she didn't want to.
4. Jeanie Buss is also an actress
Among her many talents is acting. While appearing in a documentary about the Lakers may not exactly be considered acting, she was the producer for it. She did appear in Women Of Warriors I in 2017 and Cubed in 2009. Whe also appeared in "In Search of Puppy Love," "Beyond the Glory," "Barfly," and more recently Celebrity Big Brother," and "The Vent."
5. She was educated at USC
Jeanie pursued her formal college education after high school. Prior to becoming an executive leader in the sports industry, she enrolled at the University of Southern California, where she earned her degree. She not only completed her program in business, she also graduated with honors from the esteemed institution.
6. She shares ownership of the Lakers with five other siblings
Jeanie is not the only child of the prominent business man and sports entrepreneur, Jerry Buss, who passed away in 2013. He left the bulk of his estate to his six children, including ownership of the Lakers. Jeanie and her five siblings own the team jointly, so she does not solely own controlling interest in the team, but rather, she and her brothers and sisters do. The team was willed to the children equally.
7. Jeanie's dad was constantly looking out for her
Jeanie had her share of struggles during her life, including stress over her parents' divorce, but she also had a very special relationship with her father. Jerry Buss fretted about his daughter's well-being. He had a lot of confidence in her abilities, and when he considered putting her in charge of the Great Western Forum, he knew that she was capable, but he wasn't sure that he wanted to put that much stress on her. He knew that it would be a demanding job and his main concern was for her happiness. She was a very fortunate daughter to have such a loving and caring father.
8. She's capable of making the tough decisions
Jeanie Buss is a leader who weighs all of her options and makes tough decisions that she feels will be in the best interest of the team and of the business of the LA Lakers organization. She's not one to back down from making tough calls. We saw proof of this when she fired Mitch Kupchak. In his place, she appointed Magic Johnson as the man in charge of basketball operations.
9. She pays tribute to her father in speeches
Jeanie's undying love and respect for her father is evident in the way that she conducts business. When she made recent significant changes in the management of the team business. she made a statement that explained why she took the actions that she did. Not surprisingly, she is quoted as saying, “Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect." Those who have followed her career may have very different opinions of her and in some regards her actions may seem to be harsh and not consider some individuals along with way, and certainly, not everyone has agreed with the decisions that she has made, but she stands firm in her resolved to always put the business first and foremost and we know just by listening to her speak that she's doing it all to honor her father and we expect that she will continue to be driven by this principle as long as she is the executive in charge of the business.
10. There were too many miles between she and Jackson
Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson were engaged for three years and they had been dating for much longer than that prior to the engagement. We learned that there were a few reasons for calling off the engagement. One of them was the fact that they were separated by too many miles. Because of their careers they were forced to carry on a long distance relationship and few of these ever work out.
11. Jeanie and Magic Johnson have a special connection
Ms. Buss wouldn't put just anyone in charge of managing basketball operations for the Lakers, nor would she allow anyone to advise her that she didn't explicitly trust. Magic Johnson shared in an interview that he and Jeanie are working hard to bring the Lakers back to their former glory. While it's true that the team has not performed as well as it has in the past, the two of them are working towards the realization of a dream and that is to make the Lakers a great team once again, and with the two of them in charge, we believe it will happen. Too bad Magic just quit his job.
12. She appointed Magic Johnson as her adviser
Jeanie Buss has such great confidence in Magic Johnson's business acumen that she has brought him on board to serve as her adviser. This is a great honor for Jackson. She has him right by her side, advising her in all phases of basketball operations. This was a good move on Jeanie's part because Magic is aware of the necessities from both sides of the game, so to speak. Again, too bad he just quit.
13. Jeanie had two main priorities in her life
Jeanie Buss is one of those rare kinds of women who had her priorities lined up with a primary focus upon two achievable goals. The first was to carry on the legacy that was built by her father. The second was to tend to the family business and to ensure that everything ran as well as it possibly could. As we learned earlier, even her romantic partners and relationships were not as important as taking care of business. This was a sacrifice that she made in her personal life to ensure that the legacy that Jerry Buss had worked so hard to establish would continue forward. She is one of the most extraordinary female leaders in the sports industry, and gender aside, she's a dynamo and one of the top business executives in sports among men and women. She consistently placed the family business as a top priority in her life. In fact, there was a discrepancy after the death of her father that caused problems between Jeanie and her two brothers. Although this was a very painful time in her life, she stayed the course and didn't flinch an inch because she knew in her heart what her father would have wanted. The case even went to court and got ugly, but in the end, she won the court battle and she will now be the leader that is in charge of the Los Angeles Lakers for the rest of her life. At the age of 57, she is in her prime and we don't think that it's likely that she will step down at any time in the near future.
14. Jeanie and Phil are 16 years apart in age
Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson had a unique relationship. While it seemed that they were ideal with regard to similarities in career and drive, there were some glaring differences between the two. One of the things that stands out is the fact that there was a sixteen year age gap between the couple.
15. She also owns a roller hockey team
In addition to owning the LA Lakers, Ms. Buss also has interest in another sports team. It is a women's roller hockey team that goes by the name the Los Angeles Blades. It's no small wonder that Jeanie has been recognized as one of the most powerful women in the business end of the sports industry.
16. Her work has won awards
Jeanie Buss has been recognized for her humanitarian services by the Salvation Army. he was honored at their Sally Awards held in 2018. In addition, she was honored at the Spirit of Excellence Awards and recognized as one of the most humanitarian professionals in Southern California.
17. She's also tried her hand and film directing
Jeanie Buss is not only an actress she is also a film director. She co-directed different films. They were each in the Women of Warriors series. The shows began in 2017 with three episodes and concluded in 2018 with an additional 2 episodes and she was involved in the direction of each of them.
18. She's highly respected in the sports world
In 2011, Jeanie Buss was named among the Game Changers: Women in Sports Business, by the Sports Business Journal's October edition. She is a remarkable woman who has managed the affairs of the organization with professionalism and skill.
19. She has a sweet collection of cars
Jeanie Buss loves to drive expensive cars. Although she does own a Ford Taurus, she also owns some of the most desired vehicles on the planet. One of them is a Bentley Continental and another is a Mercedes Benz. Why not, she can certainly afford them. She enjoys living a life of luxury and not only owns spectacular cars, but also stylish and expensive homes and the same can be said for her clothing.
20. Her love life has been a bit rocky
Jeanie was married to a volleyball player for a brief stint. She and Steve Timmons tied the knot in 1990, but the union only lasted for a few years. The couple divorced in 1993. Jeanie shared that she focused more of her attention on business than on the relationship and when it came to taking care of business or putting the job as a top priority, the marriage came in second place, consequentially it ended in the two going their separate ways. She was also in a serious relationship with Phil Jackson, the President of the New York Knicks. The two dated for several years, starting in 1999, and they even became engaged. They didn't make it to the altar though as Phil announced that the engagement was off in 2016, ending the 17 year relationship.
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Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson