The captivating HBO series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” takes viewers on a journey through the pulsating heart of the Los Angeles Lakers’ golden era. While the on-court triumphs of iconic players and legendary games are at the forefront, the second season of the series introduces a new emphasis that shines a spotlight on an influential figure behind the scenes: Jeanie Buss.
Jeanie Buss, portrayed by Hadley Robinson in the show, emerges as a pivotal character whose determination, business acumen, and unwavering dedication to the world of sports lay the foundation for her future role as a leader in the Los Angeles Lakers franchise.
In this dynamic portrayal, Jeanie steps into the role of managing the Los Angeles Strings, a professional tennis team that boasts world-class players including the iconic Martina Navratilova. With a determined spirit reminiscent of her father Jerry Buss (played by John C. Reilly), Jeanie navigates the complexities of sports management while echoing her father’s legacy of success. This formative experience sets the stage for her eventual rise to the helm of the Lakers.
The second season of “Winning Time” also delves into Jeanie’s unyielding commitment to her role, even when faced with difficult decisions. A poignant moment unfolds in episode 3, where she must make a challenging business choice that affects her brother, Johnny (Thomas Mann). This portrayal of Jeanie’s non-nonsense business sense foreshadows the real-life decisions she would go on to make as the owner of the Lakers.
Throughout the series, the dynamic between Jeanie and her father Jerry resonates deeply. Their relationship is depicted as a mix of admiration, loyalty, and a desire to make each other proud. These sentiments mirror the real-life lessons and values Jerry instilled in his daughter, shaping her approach to leadership and sports management.
In reality, Jeanie Buss officially assumed the role of General Manager of the Los Angeles Strings at the age of nineteen in 1981. This bold move reflected her determination to excel in the male-dominated sports industry. She swiftly led the Strings to a TeamTennis championship in her debut year, mirroring her father’s early successes with the Lakers.
Jeanie’s extensive involvement in sports management continued as she managed the LA Strings to a second championship in 1990 and later owned the Los Angeles Blades, a roller hockey team. Her journey also led her to the role of President of the Forum, the historic venue where the Lakers made history.
As Jeanie’s journey unfolded, she emerged as one of the most influential female sports executives globally. She continued to ascend within the Lakers organization, ultimately becoming the President of the team. Jeanie’s leadership and strategic decisions helped guide the Lakers to an NBA Championship in 2019-2020, solidifying her legacy as a key architect of the franchise’s triumphs.
The show’s portrayal of Jeanie’s trials and triumphs highlights the complexities of her real-life journey. The legal battles, internal changes, and tough decisions she faced are woven into the fabric of her remarkable story. From her initial steps into sports management to her position as a controlling owner of the Lakers, Jeanie Buss embodies the legacy of her father while carving a path uniquely her own.
“Winning Time” beautifully encapsulates the essence of Jeanie Buss, a woman whose dedication, business savvy, and passion for sports have reshaped the Lakers and left an indelible mark on the world of sports. The show’s portrayal is not only a tribute to her journey but also a celebration of her enduring legacy as a visionary leader in an arena historically dominated by men.