Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss discussed her ownership struggles with her brothers, her relationship with former fiancé Phil Jackson, why Magic Johnson was the right person to take over the team and how Kobe Bryant has inspired her. Jeanie very well could be the most powerful women in sports.
On drafting Lonzo Ball:
I can’t remember anybody with more hype going into the draft except for Magic Johnson. Now we have a kid, born and raised in Los Angeles, and that’s exciting for our fans, and for us, to know that we have someone that really represents the city. It seemed like I was watching a movie. It was really special and a great opportunity for him and us.
Her thoughts on Lavar Ball:
The day of the press conference after the draft, we flew them back to LA so I got to meet him in my office face to face. He’s a dad who loves his children, and I have to admire that. It’s a joy to work with him and his family. But I won’t be wearing Big Baller Brand because I have to stay neutral.
On hiring Magic Johnson:
My dad always thought that Irving and I would run the team together some day. It was just kind of fitting that he and I would come back together. We speak the same language because we were kind of raised by the same man. We are of like mind.
On coach changes and the decline of the team:
In my position you have to know how you’re going to price your tickets and plan about 24 months out. In the NBA, the most lucrative part of the season is the playoffs, which go pretty much right to your bottom line. The front office came up with the timeline to evaluate our coaches and I supported that, but when you are changing coaches every 18 months that doesn’t get you in the right direction. You can’t switch things up that quickly. At the time, I couldn’t see any progression that was getting us where we needed to be.
On the All Star game change:
That draft in itself is going to be a great TV show. Our commissioner comes up with new ideas and continues to evolve the game. It shows what a great relationship we have with our players union.
Always interesting to hear her take on things.