Buss-ing Through the Glass Ceiling

By Jamya Kyle

This past Sunday Jeanie Buss was the first female controlling owner of any NBA Organization to win a championship. While Buss took over as the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, at the age of 19, Buss started a family business as the general manager of the Los Angeles Strings, which was a professional tennis team, while she studied at USC. 

“ Basically, my dad bought me the team,”

 Buss mentioned. Later on she became the owner of the Los Angeles Blades which is a professional Hockey Team. Before taking the position as Vice President of the Lakers, Buss was also the President of the Great Western Forum. In 2013, after Buss’ father passed away, his position in controlling ownership of the Lakers was passed down to six of his children. Buss took over as the controlling ownership team president while representing the Lakers on the NBA Board of Governors

There are currently three women in the NBA Organization who entirely own their own franchise. In 2018 after Gayle Benson’s husband passed away, Benson Inherited the New Orleans Pelicans in addition to the New Orleans Saints. In 1986, Gail Miller and her husband bought the Utah Jazz Organization when suddenly her husband passed away in 2009. Which they have not yet experienced an NBA title. 

In 2018, Jody Allen took over the Portland Trail Blazers after her brother passed, which she now owns the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. In the early 2000’s, Stan Kroenke owned the Denver Nuggets which is now passed down and in the name of his wife Anne Kreonke. This was put in place so Kreoenke could keep his ownership of the Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, in addition to owning the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. While their son Josh Kreoenke is with the Colorado Franchise. 

In 2005, Sporting News announced Buss as Top 20 one of the most influential Women in Sports. In 2011 ESPN mentioned Buss was “one of the most powerful women in the NBA” also Forbes named Buss as “one of few powerful women in sports management”. These are only a few of Buss’ big accomplishments since she has been in the sports business, and these will not be the last we hear about. 

This week Buss has shared a meme which has gone viral on social media platforms sharing to everyone “How she started” vs “How it’s going”. Buss is showing the path she has been down while having the title of a controlling owner as a woman of the organization. It has been more than 70 years without a woman accomplishing a title overall as a principal owner. This meme has been used as motivational use for various women in the sports industry, encouraging all women in sports that anything is possible as long as the work is put in.