First thing’s first: I’m from Boston (ok, New Boston, NH). I am a die-hard fan of all New England sports teams, but during the finals of the NBA Playoffs, I was glued to the screen rooting for the LA Lakers, because for our July/August edition, Haute Living had scored the un-gettable cover feature on Dr. Jerry Buss, owner of the Lakers, and his daughter Jeanie, the team’s EVP. When we first approached the team about the possibility of doing the cover piece, the team’s VP of public relations said, “I can pretty much guarantee you that Dr. Buss won’t agree to do this.” We sent the request anyways, and he and Jeanie jumped at the opportunity to appear on the cover and discuss the team’s dedication to greatness. The issue went to print last week, and all of the articles are now available online, including the exclusive feature profile on Dr. Jerry Buss and Jeanie Buss.
The photo shoot took place back in January 2010, when the playoffs were a distant thought. Our photographer, Tatijana Shoan, met up with the Busses in Jeanie’s office, where she decided that the team’s plethora of championship trophies would serve as a great backdrop for the shoot. She was right; the resulting shot is nothing short of iconic. However, had the Lakers not clinched the World Championship title this year, featuring the team’s owner and EVP on the cover posing with trophies wouldn’t have been very haute. Hence my rooting against my home-team’s victory.
I shared this story with Jeanie when I spoke with her the week after the Lakers won Game 7. Her thoughts: “I don’t care who you root for, as long as you are rooting for someone!” It’s this fresh attitude that allowed her to shoot to the top of an industry typically dominated by males, which she addresses in the article, saying, “Sports is a great business and it’s a competitive business. If you think that being a woman is a weakness, then it will be used against you. There is nothing weak about being a woman.”
That is something that she proves time and time again. She’s the EVP of Business relations, and she says, “Business for the Lakers is good.” That’s due in large part to the “Winning Legacy” that her father created. Under his watch, the Lakers racked up a record 10 NBA titles, which makes Buss not only the most successful owner in the NBA but in any professional sports league. In the 31 years that Buss has been calling the shots, the team has made it to the finals 15 times and won almost 70 percent of its games. That makes the team the most valuable franchise in the league, but the family is adamant that they will never sell.
Read the entire article for more of the Busses’ insights on what it means to run a family business that affects the socioeconomic fabric of the entire city.