Expressing an interest in tennis will land most kids a cheap racket and a can of balls. But for Jeanie Buss, 21, it meant acquiring her very own team—the four-player Los Angeles Strings, one of eight franchises in the Team Tennis league. Dad Jerry Buss, who owns basketball’s L.A. Lakers and hockey’s L.A. Kings, gave Jeanie his tennis team three years ago, making her owner and president. “I thought it would be best to start training her now,” he explains, “for the time when she takes over [all my sports holdings].” Jeanie, a USC business major, earns her $25,000 annual salary organizing invitational tournaments, making personnel decisions and overseeing a $1 million budget. In her first two seasons the Strings lost money, but this summer (the 14-match season begins July 17) Buss hopes to turn a profit. Jeanie’s parents were divorced when she was 9, and since 1980 she has lived with her father in Pickfair, the legendary 22-room Hollywood estate once owned by Mary Pickford. A former Miss Pacific Palisades, Jeanie dates Kings defenseman Jay Wells, but she doesn’t play tennis and has avoided one pitfall of professional sports ownership—giving the players advice. Take note, George Steinbrenner.
Struggling valiantly to keep up with more than 8,000 members in 37 states and 15 countries, the president of the Boston Computer Society, Jonathan Rotenberg, spends about four hours a day on the telephone. One night in 1978 a business colleague called for some professional advice and then suggested the two of them nip out for a drink. “I can’t,” responded Rotenberg. “I’m only 15.” Now 20, Rotenberg is an economics major at Brown University. Once or twice a week he commutes from Providence to the society’s Boston headquarters, where he arranges guest-speaker symposiums and publishes a bimonthly magazine called Computer Update (“a sort of high-tech Atlantic Monthly”). Jonathan, whose father is a Boston real estate manager and whose mother is a handicrafts store owner, founded the society in 1977 “to demystify computers.” Rotenberg pays himself no salary and has turned down a job offer from Apple chairman Steven Jobs, but he should have no trouble keeping himself in three-piece suits when he graduates next spring. His consultant’s fee is already $1,500 a day.