As CEO and governor of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeanie Buss, is one of the most powerful women in professional sports. With her latest venture, Cincoro, she’s shaking things up off the court with a starting five of fellow NBA elites — including a certain Hall of Famer who goes by the moniker “Air Jordan.”
As equal partners of Cincoro, Buss, Jordan, Wyc Grousbeck, Emilia Fazzalari, and Wes Edens entered into the tequila category with a strong ground game. After a friendly dinner proposal back in 2016, the entrepreneurs made their way to Mexico, visiting prospective producers in tequila’s birthplace of Jalisco. According to Buss, she and her colleagues were unwilling to simply sign a contract on a pre-existing tequila. Instead, she wanted a hand in shaping exactly what was going into the glass — namely, 100 percent blue weber agave, slow-cooked, and sourced from private farms in both Jalisco’s highland and lowland regions.
The result was Cincoro, an amalgam of the Spanish words “cinco,” for five (as in partners) and “oro,” for gold (as in standard). The brand launched in September 2019, with success as staggering as its price tag — Cincoro Extra Añejo retails at a whopping $1,600, making it one of the most expensive tequilas on the market.
Count it as another success for Buss, whose accolades are many: After attending one of the top business schools in the country at the University of Southern California, she graduated with honors, and today serves as a trustee. In 2011, Sports Business Journal shortlisted Buss as one of the top women Game Changers in the male-dominated industry. But at the end of a busy day, she calls time out with a calming cocktail, like the rest of us.
Here she reveals what’s going into her glass before dinner, her love for the “Blues Brothers,” and why you shouldn’t mask the taste of alcohol with sugary mixers. As her esteemed business partner Michael Jordan famously said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
1. What’s your desert-island drink?
If I were on a deserted island, I would find some coconut and pineapple to mix with my tequila and create a Piña-Rita! I have been inspiring my friends to switch up their favorite cocktail to opt for tequila. For example, if you like a Piña Colada or Chi Chi, replace the rum or vodka with tequila and I promise that you will have a new favorite drink!
2. What’s the drink that made you fall in love with drinking?
One of my favorite cocktails was introduced to me by my then boyfriend, Phil Jackson. Myers Rum, ginger ale, and lime – I had the bartenders at STAPLES Center nickname the drink a “Phil Jackson” and we would meet after each game and enjoy one together.
3. How have your tastes changed over the years?
When I was younger, my friends and I spent our time trying to avoid the taste of alcohol by covering it up with sugary mixers. All that did was lead to really terrible hangovers. Now, I really enjoy sipping añejo [tequila] over ice with a slice of orange to savor the taste. It’s so good.
4. What interests you that people might not know?
I love watching musicals. My favorite movie is “The Blues Brothers” because people may think it’s a comedy, but it actually is a musical with performances by legendary Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles and, of course, songs by the Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. It’s those unique ingredients that make it the best movie ever made.
5. What’s your favorite drinking destination, and why?
New York City, of course! New York City at night has the most amazing energy — I always love a great night on the town. Let me ask you, have you ever been to CATCH Steak? I rest my case!
6. What’s the best and worst bottle in your fridge right now?
7. What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to drinking?
At home, I like to have a cocktail before dinner, which nowadays means something like an Añejo Old Fashioned. If it’s after dinner, I like to treat myself to a White Russian for dessert from time to time.