Jerry’s Daughter & Real Lakers Successor Explained


  • Jeanie Buss, portrayed in Winning Time, demonstrates determination and business acumen, foreshadowing her real-life decisions as the owner of the Lakers.
  • Jeanie became General Manager of the Los Angeles Strings at age 19, leading them to a championship and later becoming a successful sports executive.
  • After her father’s death in 2013, Jeanie took over as the controlling owner of the Lakers, making significant changes and appointing Magic Johnson as President of Basketball Operations in 2017.

The rise of Jeanie Buss is given new emphasis in Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty season 2. Jeanie Buss, the young and bright daughter of owner Jerry Buss in the acclaimed HBO series, is tasked with the responsibility of managing the Los Angeles Strings, a professional tennis team that has several world-class players including Martina Navratilova. Jeanie, portrayed by Hadley Robinson in Winning Time, demonstrates a similar determination and business acumen to her fun-loving father Jerry (John C. Reilly) in the series, laying the foundation for how she would ultimately take the reins of the Lakers’ entire franchise.

Jeanie is faced with a difficult decision in Winning Time season 2, episode 3 that forces her to make a business decision at the expense of her brother, Johnny (Thomas Mann). Jeanie trades Johnny’s tennis-playing love interest to another team outside Los Angeles, essentially breaking Johnny’s heart. This type of non-nonsense business sense from Jeanie foreshadows some of the real-life decisions she would later make as the owner of the Lakers. Throughout the series, Jeanie Buss has always looked up to her father despite his flaws and has sought to make him proud. That core dynamic in their onscreen relationship reflects the real-life lessons and sentiments Jerry passed down to Jeanie.

RELATED: The Lakers’ 1980 Roster & Who Plays The NBA Team In Winning Time Season 2

Jeanie Buss’ Career During Winning Time Explained – The LA Strings & Lakers Involvement

Jeanie Buss in Winning Time season 2, episode 3

As depicted in Winning Time, Jeanie Buss officially became the General Manager of the Los Angeles Strings in 1981 at the age of nineteen. Jeanie would eventually lead the Strings to a TeamTennis championship in her very first year, much like her father did in his first year as owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jeanie’s incredible access to the inner world of sports management, combined with the guidance of her trailblazing father and her outstanding education at USC, enabled her to learn the skills and tools needed to exceed in the competitive industry.

Jeanie would manage the LA Strings through their second championship in 1990 until the team ultimately dissolved in 1993. She then went on to become the owner of the Los Angeles Blades, a professional roller hockey team that competed in the Roller Hockey International league until 1999. Jeanie was also selected as President of the Forum, the Los Angeles venue where the Lakers played from 1967 to 1999. Jeanie became the Vice President of Business Operations for the Lakers in 1999. In the 2000s and beyond, Buss has been widely regarded as one of the most powerful and influential female sports executives in the world.

Jeanie Buss Became The Owner Of The Lakers After Jerry Buss’s Death In 2013

Hadley Robinson and Jeanie Buss side by side.

Jeanie remained a loyal part of the Lakers organization throughout her career. When Jerry Buss passed away in 2013 at the age of 80, his two-thirds ownership of the Lakers was passed down to his six children and Jeanie became President of the Lakers. Jeanie continued to oversee the business side of the Lakers while her brother Jim stayed on the basketball side of the organization as an Executive VP. In the ten years since Jeanie took over as the controlling owner of the Lakers, the team has won one NBA Championship in 2019-2020 with one of the greatest players of all time, LeBron James.

Jeanie was reportedly in a legal battle for control of the Lakers during the late 2010s. In 2017, Jeanie made an internal change that completely changed the management personnel of the Lakers that began with accepting the resignation of her brother, Jim, and firing longtime General Manager and former Laker player Mitch Kupchak. Kupchak had held the position of Lakers General Manager since he retired from playing basketball in 1986, becoming Jerry West’s assistant and eventually succeeding him in 2000.

Jeanie Buss Made Magic Johnson President Of The Lakers In 2017

Magic Johnson comparison in Winning Time

Jeanie then appointed Magic Johnson as President of Basketball Operations, making good on her father’s commitment to make Magic an integral part of the Lakers throughout his life. Magic considered Jerry Buss one of his greatest friends and mentors, which contributes to the current Lakers ownership and management leaders keeping his spirit alive within the organization. Both Johnson and Jeanie are extremely successful, multiple franchise owners after following in the footsteps of Jerry Buss as depicted in Winning Time. Buss is also the owner of the WOW Women of Wrestling League. Johnson is a partial owner of the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, the NFL’s Washington Commanders, the MLS’s Los Angeles FC, and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

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