Jerry Buss Rumors
Stepien started the Teddis in 1980, and yes, times were different. The Laker Girls had been formed just a year earlier by then-team owner Jerry Buss. That same year, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders appeared in their first made-for-TV movie. The Teddis were supposed to be Cleveland’s version of the same. Instead, the Teddi-Bears’ numbers were cut from the All-Star Game’s telecast. They thrived on mall shows and the local soapbox derby. And they were booed. Oh, they were booed. To be clear, no one who spoke to The Athletic had any stories of Stepien being frisky with the women. He was engaged to a woman at the time who was younger than some of the dancers.
It’s a new chapter for Ms. Buss, too. The eldest daughter and successor to one of the most famous N.B.A. owners, Dr. Jerry Buss, who died in 2013, she’s emerged as the franchise leader in her own right. “Jeanie is not just one of the best owners in the N.B.A.,” said the former Lakers player, coach and investor Magic Johnson. “She is one of the best owners in all of sports.”
Johnny, the owner of the Ice House Comedy Club, said he now isn’t speaking to his brother Jim and maintains an emotional distance from the management of the family business and from the sister in charge. “Jeanie really matured in the last two years, to a point I’m really proud of her, but it doesn’t mean I’ll talk to her much,” he said. (A lawyer for Jim Buss could not be reached for comment.) Ms. Buss makes no apologies. “My dad had his children, but the Lakers was his baby,” she said. “My father said, ‘You are ultimately in charge, you have to protect the baby.’”
Magic Johnson: Who would have thought my sister and I would win a championship in the same year?? @jeaniebuss as owner of the @Los Angeles Lakers and me as owner of the @Dodgers. Her father Dr. Jerry Buss is smiling down from heaven proud of both of us! 💙🤍💜💛
The message was clear: There might be drama engulfing the Lakers, but James wouldn’t be adding to it. They were in this together. James told Buss he’d long been an admirer of her late father, Dr. Jerry Buss, and how he ran the NBA’s glamour franchise. He was displaying an understanding and appreciation for Lakers history that both surprised and touched Buss, according to a close associate of hers. “It was very genuine,” Paul said.
There’s a reason Buss and James tried so hard to make that dinner happen on that off night in March 2019: They needed each other. “I know what my name, my stature and what I’ve done in this league comes with whenever I decide to join a franchise,” James said last week after the Lakers closed out the Houston Rockets in their second-round playoff series. “I know what my name comes with. And it comes with winning. I take that responsibility to the utmost [more] than anything. …