Out of Office: Jeanie Buss

The Los Angeles Lakers governor joins Rich Kleiman and Gianni Harrell for the Season 2 premiere of Boardroom’s “Out of Office” podcast.

Listen to the full episode by clicking here.

The Lakers occupy a unique space in the basketball conversation. They always have. From the days of Minneapolis and George Mikan, to Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, and Wilt Chamberlain, to Magic and Kareem, to Shaq and Kobe, to LeBron and AD, the Lake Show has never ceased to capture imaginations.

And these days, the person steering the ship is the most powerful woman in the history of basketball, and arguably professional sports in general: Jeanie Buss.

On the Season 2 premiere of Boardroom’s “Out of Office” podcast with Rich Kleiman and Gianni Harrell — marking 25 years to the day since Kobe Bryant made his Purple and Gold debut — the Los Angeles Lakers governor talks growing up as the daughter of the great Dr. Jerry Buss, the singular greatness of Magic Johnson, navigating behind-the-scenes NBA drama, and what it takes not just to win a championship, but become a dynasty.

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This episode is packed with stories, insights, and lessons learned from a lifetime growing up around the uppermost tier of the sporting establishment. In particular, don’t miss Buss telling Rich and Gianni about meeting Magic for the first time:

“I was 17 and Magic was 19, and I’ll never forget the first day I met him. I was living with my dad in his house on Beverly Glen in Bel Air, and back then, the draft was literally [that] you’re sitting at home and they call you and they say, “Hey, you were drafted No. 1. Get on an airplane to, you know, wherever you were going. So he got on a plane, flew out to Los Angeles, and Bill Sharman, our general manager, brought him over.

When the doorbell rang my dad said, “You know what? I’m not ready yet. I’ve got to do a couple things upstairs. Will you bring them in the house, offer them something to drink, and I’ll be down in a few minutes?” So, you know, make conversation. So I opened the door and it was this smile that just… It was blinding, you know? And like there [were] sparkles coming off his teeth. As soon as you met him, you’re just floored by who he is.

So, I bring them in, we’re having small talk, and he goes, “You know, I’m really excited that I was drafted by the Lakers, but I’m only gonna stay here for three years because I, I want to go back home and play for my hometown team in Detroit.” And I went, “Excuse me?” And I said, “I need to go. I’ll be right back.” So I ran upstairs and I’m like, “Dad, you’re not gonna believe what he said. He said he’s only going to stay for three years. He wants to go back home and play in Detroit.” And my dad was like, “Jeanie, calm down.” He goes, “As soon as he puts on a Laker uniform and walks out on that crowd and hears the cheers for him,” he goes, “he’s never gonna leave.”

“And he’s never left. He was exactly right.”