Jeanie Buss has been the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers for just over three years, and has enjoyed relative instant success. Despite her first move — hiring Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations — not going completely according to planned, Buss has pivoted well and put the franchise in a position to be championship contenders.
Perhaps the toughest part of Buss’ job as owner is handling the pressure of owning one of the biggest brands in all of sports, and inheriting it from Jerry Buss, her father and possibly the greatest owner in the history of sports.
The Lakers have been associated with championship glory since the beginning of her father’s tenure, winning 10 championships in his 32 years with the team.
Buss said she loves the fact that there’s pressure on her to build championship level teams consistently, and that she believes her father would fight for basketball to return this season for the L.A. community, via “Daddy Issues” with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson:
“Yes, there’s pressure. As there should be. The Lakers is a brand that is about winning. That’s what I have to continue. I appreciate the pressure. In the conversations I would have with my dad, he would say, ‘You’re gonna do things your way, Jeanie. Don’t feel like you have to do it the way I do it. You have to keep the team evolving and competitive.’ A lot of the challenges — like a pandemic — he and I never had a conversation about that. But I know what he would want: get back to basketball, how important the team is to the community.”
Buss added that her father apologized for putting that pressure on her, but knew she’d be the best one for the job:
“That he put that pressure on me, he apologized for it and said, ‘This really isn’t fair to you, Jeanie, but you’re the only one that I feel will do what needs to be done.’”
Although Buss’ brother Jim was the person who took over directly for their father, it was clear that he did not have a plan in place to bring the Lakers back. It was clear to Buss and her father that she was the one who would be able to bring success to L.A.
After weeks of uncertainty, Buss can find some solace in the Lakers will indeed have an opportunity to play for a championship this season. They occupy the top seed in the Western Conference and will head to the Orlando bubble with plenty of expectations.
No matter how the season ultimately unfolds, Buss has earned immense respect from the L.A. community for turning the Lakers around so rapidly. Moving forward, it seems that Lakers players, staff and fans believe in Buss and Rob Pelinka to lead the organization.