Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss received a rude welcome to the NBA ownership ranks when she assumed control of the team.
After her father Jerry Buss’ death in 2013, Jeanie Buss became the Lakers team owner and the team’s representative at NBA Board of Governors meetings. Buss told In Depth with Graham Bensinger on YouTube this week that at her first league meeting, a fellow team owner sexually harassed her.
“As we were waiting, taking a break from the meeting and everybody’s in line for the buffet for lunch during the lunch break, somebody grabs my ***,” Buss said. “I turn around and I was so shocked. But it was like, again — if I didn’t have the confidence that my dad put in me, that was a moment where I wanted to shrink and to be nothing, that I would have, you know, gotten sick and said, ‘I gotta go.’ Do I really belong here? You know, I’m just really not one of the group, like I’m been singled out.
“It made me really self conscious.”
But Buss, now 62, held her ground.
“I just gave him a dirty look, like back off,” Buss said. “And I stayed in the room. I realized that I might not be able to gain the respect of the existing ownership groups. But everybody that came after me, I could help them in the room because they’d be the new person.”
Buss has told this story before, in her 2010 book Laker Girl. Recalling the experience today, after the rise of the “Me Too” era, puts that other owner’s deplorable act into even more context.