Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss shared a troubling story about how an NBA owner grabbed her behind during her first NBA board of governors meeting. Buss explained the experience in an interview with Graham Bensinger.
“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 a–,” Buss said on the show. “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.”
Buss became the controlling owner of the Lakers following the death of her father in 2013. This isn’t the first time that she revealed what happened to her in that meeting, as the younger Buss shared the story in her November 2010 book Laker Girl.
Even though she had to deal with the groping from another NBA owner, Buss refused to back down, and it is a big reason why she is so successful as the Lakers’ president today.
“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.”
From there, Buss has made a point of helping out new owners and letting them get acclimated to the NBA. One of those owners is current Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
“So, then the next new person was Mark Cuban,” she said. “And I made sure that from day one, I put my hand out to him and said, ‘Hey, if I can help you understand any of this stuff, if there’s any questions, here’s my number. Call me now and I’ll help you and I’ll support you.’”
Since taking over for her father as controlling owner of the Lakers, Buss has navigated the team through some tough times on the court to eventually get the franchise back to the top of the NBA.
After the Lakers struggled during the end of superstar Kobe Bryant’s career, Buss helped the team usher in a new era, led by the signing of future Hall of Famer LeBron James prior to the 2018-19 season.
James immediately helped the Lakers turn things around, leading the team to an NBA title in the league’s Orlando, Fla. bubble in the 2019-20 season – just his second campaign with the Lakers.
Last season, the Lakers made the Western Conference Finals, a sign that they are still among the best franchises in the NBA. The team is hoping to get back to the NBA Finals this season.
Buss’ perseverance and bravery are clearly evident in how she handled such a horrible situation earlier in her time in the NBA. Hopefully, incidents like the one Buss had to go through will never occur again in any setting across the NBA.