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Jeanie Buss on WOW reboot, Lakers showcase 'legacy' and Jerry West's 'over the top' portrayal in 'Victory Time'

Jenny Buss may be the most famous controlling owner and CEO of the Los Angeles Lakers , but She is also the force behind Women Of Wrestling, the only all-female wrestling organization with a global television footprint. Bass has been involved in the property for almost two decades and opened in September 48, WOW will be relaunched as a joint distribution through Paramount Global Content Distribution, the largest distribution deal in women’s wrestling history.

The Athletic Director has been especially hilarious over the past six months in addition to wrestling and Lakers commitments, premiering Hulu documentary Legacy: The True Story of the Los Angeles Lakers (she is an executive producer) in August, also on HBO Winning Time: The rise of the Lakers dynasty. Before WOW’s return, Bass was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter about her take on women’s sports Commitment, treatment of Kobe Bryant story in Legacy and thoughts on the description of Jerry West’s winning time .

Why do you want to bring back women in wrestling with this new, bigger platform?

The passage of Title IX really changed my life when I was growing up. When I was in high school, they told me one day, “You’re on the women’s golf team,” and I said, “I’ve never played golf in my life, why am I on the team?” They said, “Well, because of Title IX, we can’t have a men’s team, unless we have a women’s team, and we’ll teach you.” So because of that, I got an opportunity that I would never take, I don’t even Will think, and learn how to play a game I will play for the rest of my life. So I know that in my position, as a high-profile woman in sports, people will look at me and say, “How are you investing in women’s sports?” There are a lot of great college athletes participating because of Title IX sports. That’s great for them because they can get scholarships and start playing, but once their eligibility expires, what can they do unless you’re in the WNBA or something like a pro tennis player or skater? There aren’t many places where women can play sports in front of their hometown.

As a businesswoman in sports, I have to invest in this that will be sustainable – if we build it, it will outlast me; it will It’s about giving something back that will reward women in wrestling forever. Wrestling is the right platform for these women to have a chance to shine and take center stage. Sure, women have wrestled before, but WOW is the only [organization] that wrestles all women. Often women are placed in an undercard match or side show, never center stage, so that’s why I think it’s the right property for me to get involved and invest my own personal funds. It’s not Lakers money, it’s my money.

Are there any major changes in the new product release?

It is character driven. I would like to point out that our cast is very diverse and every young woman can see herself in our characters and performers. So I think we’re working on expanding diversity and inclusion over time, and that’s what you’re going to see in our wrestling.

What does this release from Paramount Universal mean for women’s wrestling and the access it provides?

With CBS Paramount as our partner, they see the value in women’s sports and they want to be part of our vision partners in . They gave us a bigger stage than women’s wrestling in the past. They’re stepping up to support the idea of ​​what we’re trying to build, and it’s a great partnership. Everyone from all the markets we’re going to air in has really embraced our vision of what women stand for, and they want a lot of fun and entertainment too. It kind of fits all the markup we try to do in this business.

How do you think women’s wrestling has changed throughout your involvement?

I’m the one who goes to see Wonder Woman The movie, when it came out a few years ago, I cried at the opening because that was always my dream – why can’t there be more, why can’t there be a female superhero to make a movie ? That movie was obviously a huge success and led to a sequel, and we’re just seeing this time frame where women can take center stage right now: they can open a movie, they can lead like Serena Williams The U.S. Open gets huge ratings. Now is a great time for women to get involved in sports.

WOW creator David McLean is also the founder of Wrestling Beauty – indeed you see the Netflix show about women Increased interest in wrestling GLOW ?

Of course, GLOW script series Added more credibility for people not in “” s; NOW GLOW The scripted series introduced them to women in wrestling. I think they captured the hopes and dreams of a lot of women who wanted to be performers, there just wasn’t a way out, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for women to shine and take center stage. That’s the opportunity WOW offers women.

Wrestling Girl Courtesy WOW Television Enterprises LLC

Your work in WOW with you How does the operation at the Lakers compare?

It’s very different, of course I don’t play WOW every day. I’m an investor, this is my personal money, I’m a WOW fan, but it’s not my day job. My day job is with the Lakers, and that’s my day job. They’re very similar, but very different, which means we’re dealing with people who are legendary in both; we have to deal with the everyday reality that they’re athletes, and athletes get hurt. You want to be healthy and happy and do your best in training, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. You have to figure out how to deal with what the injury can bring, so they are very similar but different. I like them both.

What are the challenges of running a women’s sport compared to a men’s sport?

People ask me, “What does the women’s movement need to grow?” People who create opportunities for women. The more opportunities there are, the greater the growth. This is my little contribution to women’s sports. I was fortunate to have mentorship and lifelong friends at Billie Jean King. from me; I watched Billie Jean King play Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Genders” and it blew my mind because I had never met a girl before that Play games for boys, or play games with boys. It just opens up a whole realm of possibilities, why shortsighted your possibilities as a woman? I hope to inspire the next person like me by doing what I’m doing and speaking up and trying to be a leader and role model in this field.

Speaking of Lakers, you have this Hulu series Legacy NOW OUT – With all the Lakers content out now, why would your family want to be a part of it?

coming soon My father, Dr. Jerry Bass, died many years ago. Over the years, since he left, I’ve been reminding people of all the great things he’s done – the innovations he brought to the NBA, like the Lakers girls, and really combining sports and entertainment in one game . We decided it was time to tell this story from the people in our lives. It’s been a seven-year process, but once we signed director Antoine Fuqua — who is very respected in the industry and a great storyteller — that’s when we really hit our stride. I am very proud of the final product. It’s instructive behind the scenes, but it’s really not the whole Lakers story. Since Jerry Buss bought the team at 1440, and the Lakers and How cultures really come to understand each other about what’s going on in the world. It’s almost like a history lesson about what happened in Los Angeles, what happened across the country.

Do you want to deal with Kobe Bryant’s life and legacy on the show?

It still hurts, it will hurt for a long time. We’ve discussed all the ups and downs of being a Lakers fan; there were some staggering highs and some heartbreaking lows, like Magic Johnson having to retire because of HIV. Of course, we miss Kobe every day, we miss [his daughter] Gianna every day; I put on my bracelet and think about them and what Kobe left behind for the Lakers. He really set a standard for Lakers excellence, and I personally think we’re going to continue and operate at the level he brought us.

Was his family involved in the show?

These conversations are private, so I don’t really want to share them. But we are very, very, very supportive of the Kobe family.

How do you think these six months will be when there are multiple Lakers projects at the same time ? (On top of Winning Time , Johnson also released the Apple documentary They call me magic in April.)

Look Really like it. We are not involved in HBO scripted series. I’ve seen it — I don’t recommend people watch it, or I don’t tell people not to watch it; everyone grows up and they can make their own choices. They did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. I think John C. Reilly did a great job of playing my dad and capturing his passion for the sport. A few other things, not so much. These are the things that happen when you are a high profile organization and people want to talk about you. It’s a good thing when people want to talk about the Lakers.

Hadley Robinson in ‘ Winning Time’ as Jenny Buss Courtesy of Warrick Page/HBO 1234970324

How do you feel about your image in the play? This seems positive to me.

Yes until it’s not. Even though they portray my character as having a lot of commitment to the Lakers girls and things like that, that’s not the case. But I was there, I was there in the beginning, I was just there as my dad’s right-hand man, and whatever he needed to do, he was happy to turn it over and say, “Go and buy donuts,” “Go and try in Russia. Bring some activity back to the forum.” All he needed from me was what I wanted to do, and it was a good time of my life.

Jerry West 1440 Not particularly satisfied with this drama , what do you think of his portrayal?

Jerry is a very, very successful guy, on and off the court. That’s not the Jerry West I remember growing up.

Is there anything specific you don’t like? Did you ever feel ke it was especially destructive?

I don’t think scripted shows damage the brand. If so, there would be serious legal implications if they tried to destroy the brand. We run the business in real life, not in the scripted world.

Is there a Lakers script show you want to do?

We do have an agreement with Mindy Kaling and her production company. So we’re 1440 developing a family based scripted comedy have a basketball team.

We’re a few weeks away from the NBA season returning, how do you feel about getting back on the court and the Lakers now Where?

This is the time of year when everyone is optimistic. We’ve made significant changes in hiring a new coach, Darvin Ham, who brings the work ethic that Lakers fans really expect. I’m optimistic, but injuries are definitely out of your control, so we try to control everything and prepare for the best possible success. But everything else has to go our way too.

Interview edited for length and clarity.



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