Jeanie Buss was born into the family business, attending World Team Tennis meetings when still a teenager with her dad, the late Dr. Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss, who turned the Los Angeles Lakers franchise into an historic championship brand, saw the talent in his daughter at an early age. By the time Jeanie Buss was 19, she was the General Manager of the Los Angeles Strings Tennis team. In her “spare” time she earned a business degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California with honors.
The spectacular success of the Lakers’ organization is as evident as the 16 Championship Banners that hang inside the STAPLES CENTER, and 10 of those 16 championships are the legacy of Dr. Jerry Buss. With Jeanie Buss as the driving force behind the Lakers, there is little doubt that legacy will continue.
In 2017, Jeanie Buss became CEO of the Lakers and represents the team on the NBA Board of Governors. In her role, Buss oversees the business and basketball operations of the team and works closely with President of Business and COO, Tim Harris as well as President of Basketball Operations, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka. Sporting News named Jeanie Buss one of the top 20 most influential women in sports. Forbes called her “one of few powerful women in sports management”, and ESPN said she is “one of the most powerful women in the NBA.”
Just as Jeanie Buss has grown into her job as one of the most important women executives in the world of sports, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to provide leadership of another kind in communities around the Southland.
Young people who have attended The Salvation Army’s Bob and Tilly Sinnett Red Shield Youth and Community Center in the Pico Union District of Los Angeles have heard Lakers great Kobe Bryant deliver an inspirational talk about the importance of sportsmanship in 1998. In 2010, current and former Lakers players, along with then NBA Commissioner David Stern, dedicated a refurbished library and learning center made possible by the financial support of the team and the League. Every day since, children from Pico Union have access to state of the art learning tools and adult mentors. The Lakers Youth Foundation also provided a $30,000 grant to resurface the Red Shield gymnasium floor providing youngsters and young adults with a professional grade athletic court for sports leagues and other activities.
Beyond the Pico Union District, Jeanie Buss and the Lakers have had life changing points of contact with other Salvation Army clients. For the past two years, those experiencing food insecurity in the Inglewood area have been blessed to have Lakers players participate in a large-scale holiday food distribution at The Salvation Army’s Inglewood Corps.
As a pioneering woman executive as well as the leader of one of most storied franchises in the history of American sport, Jeanie Buss has achieved much. The Salvation Army is honored to recognize Ms. Jeanie Buss at the 2018 Sally Awards not only for her outstanding modeling of professional success, but more importantly, for her commitment and that of the Los Angeles Lakers players and staff to be a positive force for good.