What It Was Like to Be the First (and Only!) Female Scout in the NBA
How Bonnie-Jill Laflin scored her dream job and her advice to any women hoping to do the same.
Being the first at anything can be a bit scary, but a little intimidation couldn’t stop Bonnie-Jill Laflin from going after her dream job as the first ever female scout in the NBA. Though Laflin is now a huge sports personality with her own show, it was her time as an NBA scout for the LA Lakers that taught her the most about her career. Back then, she was assigned to watch out for prospective players and report back to the team’s general manager. It was a position that meant her superiors were relying on her expertise and gut instincts about up-and-coming players—which ultimately would determine if these guys got signed. Yeah, you could say she was a pretty big deal. But as impressive as Laflin was at this job, her journey to the position was even more amazing.
From Shouting to Scouting
When she was young, Laflin knew she wanted to be involved in professional sports, so she dove in wherever she could—and at the beginning, that meant cheering on the sidelines. “It was a way for me to get in these organizations and inside the sports world and capitalize on it,” says Laflin. So she took advantage of her proximity to the action and went on to cheer for the San Francisco 49ers for two years, where she won a Super Bowl ring with them in 1995. Then she moved on to the Cowboys—the mecca of all pro-sports cheerleading organizations—and even landed a spot on the cover of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Calendar.
After racking up recurring roles on Baywatch and Ally McBeal, Laflin’s popularity grew, which gave her the chance to move to LA, where she was hired as a sports broadcaster for CBS. “And among the many stories I got to report on, I was assigned to cover the LA Lakers,” says Laflin. It was an opportunity that gave her even more knowledge of the industry, and one that put her face-to-face with Jerry Buss, Ph.D., former owner of the Lakers.
This article originally ran on Women’s Health Magazine. Click here to see the full article and all the amazing tips Bonnie-Jill has to share.