Lakers' Jeanie Buss becomes first female controlling owner to win championship

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3 min read

Jeanie Buss made history late Sunday when she came down to the court to accept the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Buss, who took over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, is the first female controlling owner to lead an NBA organization to a championship.

The Basketball Association of America formed in 1946 and merged with the National Basketball League three years later to form the NBA. It’s been more than 70 years without a woman winning a title as the principal owner.

Buss, 59, took over as controlling owner of the Lakers in 2017 after a legal battle with her brothers. The Buss Family Trust owns the organization, and Buss serves as president. Her father, Jerry Buss, won 10 NBA titles as owner of the team from 1979 until his death in 2013.

Buss joined in the meme taking over the internet this week showing how far she has come as the controlling owner of the organization.

Women who have led NBA teams

 Owner of the Los Angeles Lakers Jeanie Buss speaks after the Los Angeles Lakers win the 2020 NBA Championship Final over the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on October 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jeanie Buss celebrates the NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Irene Pollin was not a controlling owner, but was a co-owner of the Washington Wizards with her husband, Abe. They won their only NBA title in 1978 as the Washington Bullets.

There are currently three women in the league who outrightly own their franchise.

Gayle Benson inherited the New Orleans Pelicans — as well as the NFL’s New Orleans Saints — when her husband, Tom, died in 2018. Gail Miller owns the Utah Jazz organization after her husband, Larry, died in 2009. They bought the team in 1986 and have not yet experienced an NBA title.

And Jody Allen took control of the Portland Trail Blazers in October of 2018 after her brother, Paul Allen, died. She also owns the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

Stan Kroenke became the new owner of the Denver Nuggets in 2000, though it is now held in the name of his wife, Anne Walton Kroenke. The move was made so that Kroenke could keep ownership of the Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche while also owning the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. Their son, Josh Kroenke, runs the Colorado franchises.

Sara Blakely is part of the Atlanta Hawks ownership group under principal owner Tony Ressler. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, along with her husband Will Smith, are part of the ownership group for the Philadelphia 76ers. Josh Harris is the principal owner.

Sheila Johnson, Michelle Freeman and Laurene Powell Jobs are part of the current Wizards ownership group, Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

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