The most powerful woman, and one of the most powerful people, in sports.
June 18, 2017 3:44 PM   Subscribe

... nothing mattered more to Jeanie Buss than the family business — than her father’s legacy. [...] She is the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, as her late father wished. Four months ago, she fired her brother and also the team’s 17-year general manager on the same day, and installed trusted friend Earvin “Magic” Johnson as president of basketball operations. Then she prevailed in an ugly court battle with her two older brothers that confirmed she will run the Lakers for the rest of her life. ~ From roller hockey to the Lakers: How Jeanie Buss became the most powerful woman in sports By Tania Ganguli, LA Times
posted by Room 641-A (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
So, she isn't trying to make the team lose so she can fold them or move them to another city? Because that's what sports movies have lead me to believe is always true of female owners.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:09 PM on June 18 [11 favorites]

I want this to be inspiring but I just don't have it in me. Dynastic rich people problems, who can be the best at nepotism, etc etc etc it's all just too 2017. The most annoying quote is from one of her cartoon villain brothers:
Nearly 40 years ago, Johnny said, he deeply hurt his father by telling him he wasn’t interested in owning the Lakers. Now, he says he wishes he could have sold his shares, something the family trusts make nearly impossible.
yeah bro i totally get you, when i was a young man I told my dad I wasn't interested in inheriting the family chests of gold and treasure, now i wish i had at least sold my various crowns and jewels before they were stolen by brigands
posted by thedaniel at 4:26 PM on June 18 [17 favorites]

In her book “Laker Girl,” she describes how an owner grabbed her buttocks during her first meeting. She didn’t allow the indignity to ruin her relationship with the other owners, whom she would eventually join as a peer.

Don't complain about sexual harassment, silly women! It will just ruin your relationships with the powerful men who you need to tolerate you!
posted by corvine at 1:09 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]

powerful men who you need to tolerate you

In some ways I think critiques like this are uncharitable, since she clearly does need to navigate a socio-political world full of class, gender and age mine fields. Then as I read thru the piece there're observations (not quotes), like this:

She likes children and would have liked to have some but felt that would have required multitasking she didn’t feel equipped to do

With the little I know of LATimes, I almost think this might be a hit-piece trying to lightly disguise as regular coverage. But then again, given the life she's led, a clear-eyed look at Jeanie's choices might be just as cutting.

The circumstances produce a fascinating situation; a challenge that is rather unique in sports history. And yet, in a refrain all to common to women, she's in this corner, partly of her own making, where she's almost impossible to root for. But I want to.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:14 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]

OK, I will root for her. Allow her some agency in her choices and life. I keep in mind that she is navigating some very tough waters both inside and outside of the Lakers' organization. Granted, she came from a life of privilege but notice that she decided to do things be part of the culture of LA in an unexpected way for a woman. I keep this also in mind, even with her privilege, she has had to fight hard for what position she has in the sports world as a decision maker. Chris Rock was very incisive, "Shaq is rich. The man that pays him is wealthy." I do not underestimate that the owner that grabbed her ass was not doing it purely for lust but for pure intimidation and a signal to her family about her inherent status as a woman in the wealthy elite of sports owners. In my heart, I hoped she wreaked vengeance on that jerk. She has set her path; it goes against the standard grain and I respect that choice.
posted by jadepearl at 5:59 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]

I don't begrudge people simply for being born into wealth because it's not their choice or "fault" but I do think what they do with that privilege and opportunity demands scrutiny.

Jeannie's road contained many different paths, and a lot of those paths led to an easy life of leisure, with her own family money and by marrying a basketball player or someone else within that rich and powerful circle. Instead, she worked her ass off in the family business and she spent nearly 20 years with one of the legends of the sport, on her terms. And for most of those years, that legend worked for her. She was born into the Buss family but she damn sure earned her position. Okay, so I'm a little biased as a Lakers fan, but I've been watching Jeannie's career my whole life, and also I'm always happy to see positive examples of women who choose not to marry and/or without children.

I do love that her dad, who was known for his gambling and womanizing as much as much as being the owner of the Lakers, never really considered any of the boys as his successor.

She likes children and would have liked to have some but felt that would have required multitasking she didn’t feel equipped to do

I appreciate the candor. She could have had kids but then would have been accused of not paying enough attention to the team. Or her kids. Probably both. Or vilified for hiring enough staff to let her to spend quality time with both. I mean, she just can't win on this count, and it's obviously not something that would even be mentioned in a piece about Mark Cuban.

That said, a MetaFilter post about 1) rich, 2) white people, 3) who inherited their wealth, 4) in sports is normally a hot potato I wouldn't touch, but: you know who else is a rich, white lady with a larger-than-life father who went into the family business and has idiot brothers? Say what you want about Jeannie, but she's not complicit. Intentional or not, this article is full of shade and an interesting contrast.

Give the team to Jeannie.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:15 AM on November 30, 2015

posted by Room 641-A at 6:01 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]

On preview, quick edit, and non-preview, what jadepearl said.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:03 AM on June 19

Oh, here is another article that sheds better light on the tensions within the family and how her engagement with Jackson was derailed. For the Lakers fans knowing that Jackson had agreed to come back to coach but got stabbed by Jim Buss is an interesting wrinkle. In family politics, his vengeance on his sister is epic: forcing her to choose the sports team or her fiance. The worst part was the hope that an LDR would work under the constraints of NBA owner rules and watch the relationship break apart. Dude, hates his sister.
posted by jadepearl at 6:12 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]

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