Los Angeles Lakers governor Jeanie Buss has been a trailblazer for women in sports, successfully running her NBA franchise in addition to the women’s professional wrestling promotion, Women of Wrestling (WOW).
Buss started running her father’s, Dr. Jerry Buss, sports ventures in her teen years. She served as a general manager of his team tennis franchise and owner of a roller hockey side before taking on responsibilities on the Lakers.
Throughout the years, Buss has become the first female controlling owner to win an NBA championship, while WOW is now the only all-female wrestling promotion with a global reach. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirsten Chuba, the 60-year-old credited Title IX for inspiring her mission to develop women’s sports:
“When I was growing up, the passage of Title IX really changed my life. When I was in high school, one day they told me, ‘You’re on the girls golf team’ and I said, ‘I’ve ve never played golf in my life, why am I on the team?’ And they said, ‘Well, because of Title IX, we can’t have a boys team unless we have a girls team, and we’ll teach you.’ So because of that, I got an opportunity that I never would have taken, I never even would have thought of, and learned how to play a game that I’ll play the rest of my life. So I knew that in my position, being a high-profile woman in sports, that people would look to me and say, ‘How are you investing in women’s sports?’ There are so many great collegiate athletes that participate in sports because of Title IX. It’s great for them because they earn a scholarship and get to play, but once their eligibility expires, what do they get to do unless you’re going in the WNBA or a professional tennis player or an ice skater or something? There’s not a lot of places for women to go and participate in sports in front of their hometown.
“Being a business woman on the sports side had to be something that I would invest in that would be sustainable — that would be something that if we built would outlast me; it would be giving back something that could reward women in wrestling forever. Wrestling was the right platform to give these women an opportunity to shine and be center stage. Certainly women have been featured in wrestling before, but WOW is the only all female-wrestling [organization]. Usually women would be given the undercard match or the side show, never center stage, so that’s why I thought this was the right property for me to get involved in, and invest my own personal money. This isn’t Laker money, this is my money.”
Another season of WOW is set to start this week, launching in syndication via Paramount Global Content Distribution as part of the largest-ever distribution deal in women’s wrestling history.
Discussing the differences between her involvement in the Lakers and WOW, Buss said overseeing the wrestling promotion isn’t her day job and that she invests in it with her personal funds.
Buss ‘optimistic’ heading into 2022-23 season
The Lakers went through some significant changes, replacing head coach Frank Vogel with Darvin Ham and bringing in plenty of new faces to partner LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
However, L.A. failed to trade Russell Westbrook despite the guard’s questionable fit. Still, Buss recently said she is “optimistic” heading into the 2022-23 NBA season.
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