It’s been about eight months since Lakers’ controlling owner and President Jeanie Buss took full control of the storied franchise. A lot has happened since then, including snagging Lonzo Ball in the draft- and his father LaVar by default – plus the hiring of the Showtime era legend Magic Johnson. This week at the espnW Women + Sports Summit, Jeanie shared her experience as one of the most powerful women in sports, plus her thoughts on Lonzo, LaVar and Magic.
On drafting LA area native Lonzo Ball:
I can’t remember anybody with more hype going into the draft except for Magic Johnson. Now we have a kid, born and raised in Los Angeles, and that’s exciting for our fans, and for us, to know that we have someone that really represents the city. It seemed like I was watching a movie. It was really special and a great opportunity for him and us.
Her thoughts on Lavar Ball:
The day of the press conference after the draft, we flew them back to LA so I got to meet him in my office face to face. He’s a dad who loves his children, and I have to admire that. It’s a joy to work with him and his family. But I won’t be wearing Big Baller Brand because I have to stay neutral.
Jeanie and Magic Johnson have been close since the Lakers drafted him. Their relationship is like that of brother and sister. She discussed why it was a no-brainer to bring Magic into an executive position with the Lakers
My dad always thought that Earvin and I would run the team together some day. It was just kind of fitting that he and I would come back together. We speak the same language because we were kind of raised by the same man. We are of like mind.
I never saw gender as a barrier, and I think it’s so important that women have those roles. I saw my mom as a CEO and never thought there wasn’t an opportunity to be a CEO. I always saw myself working in the family business, but I didn’t know how. I started as an Account Executive in the sales office, and I was way too passionate about our business. That’s when I fell in love with the creative. I then spent three months in my mom’s office— I know it was a privilege, and I was able to ask all of the questions I wanted. I later transitioned to the writing team and took it from 2 people to 12 and went on to be the first woman to launch our digital department.
photos and videos courtesy of espnW