Known for her leadership and influence in sports and beyond, Jeanie Buss, governor of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be honored at the 2021 Virtual Celebration: #BruinsTogether on May 26, hosted by the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA. The center, which is envisioned and supported by Jane and Terry Semel, aims to build a culture of health as the foundation for a resilient, equitable and thriving community for more than 85,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors at UCLA.
Buss will receive the Eudaimonia Lifetime Achievement Award at Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center’s annual celebration, which is being held virtually for the second year. Eudaimonia is the sustained happiness that comes from living a life rich in purpose and meaning, and this award recognizes individuals who exemplify the core values of eudaimonia, including fulfillment of one’s greatest potential, investment of intensive effort in the pursuit of excellence, resilience in overcoming obstacles and contributing to the betterment of a global society.
Buss was selected for her inspirational leadership in taking a stand to destigmatize mental health in the NBA, building a model mental wellness program to share with other NBA teams and throughout professional sports. She used her public platform and position of influence to talk openly about mental wellness issues in an industry that has long shied away from the topic. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Buss has been an anchor for her team, helping people navigate last year’s many challenges. She has demonstrated her dedication to advocacy, selflessness and the public good.
Buss will join a group of esteemed leaders, including 2020 recipient Janet Napolitano, former president of the University of California, and 2019 recipient Quincy Jones, legendary record producer, musician and humanitarian.
As one of the only female governors in American sports, Buss has been an inspirational leader in the industry. Her career in sports team management began at the early age of 19, when her father, Jerry Buss, named her general manager of his Los Angeles Strings, part of the TeamTennis league. Since then, Buss’ career has continued in a fast upward trajectory, including being president of the Great Western Forum in the 1990s. In 1995, Buss was an alternative governor of the Lakers, which her father owned. When her father died in 2013, she became the franchise’s leader.
Named one of the most powerful women in U.S. sports by Forbes in 2018, Buss is known for her business acumen and is well-respected among her NBA peers.
“Jeanie is not just one of the best owners in the NBA, she is one of the best owners in all of sports,” said Magic Johnson, the former Laker who was recently the team’s president of basketball operations.
During a particularly challenging year, Buss accepted the NBA championship trophy last October, making her the first female owner of a championship team in NBA history.
In 2000, Buss co-founded Women of Wrestling with David McLane to help change that sport’s status quo. Buss also co-authored the 2010 memoir “Laker Girl” with Steve Springer.
During the virtual celebration, recipients of the jane b semel award will also be recognized. This award honors students, faculty and staff for their significant contributions to promoting a culture of health and well-being. The 2021 awardees are Dr. Nicole Green, executive director of UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services; Al Ferrone, senior director of UCLA Dining Services Administration; Jessica Arzola, graduate student and Global Food Initiative fellow; Maria Garibay, undergraduate student and Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center staff member; and Miranda Kim, undergraduate student and assistant commissioner of the Student Wellness Commission.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will also feature a health equity and social justice panel moderated by Green. The panelists include Metta Sandiford-Artest, NBA world champion; Dr. Michael Rodriguez, professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; Arzola; and Kim.
In addition, there will be performances by a cappella group Resonance, who won first place in the West quarterfinal of the 2020 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, and David Flores, a member of the musical group Las Cafeteras.
The 2021 virtual celebration recognizes the compassion and resilience of the UCLA community, which has worked collaboratively to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and to institute changes to address health equity and social justice.
Register to attend the virtual celebration.