A few years ago....cough cough about 10 years....cough cough...I was lucky enough to work for the NBA for about 3 years. If you know anything about me, the opportunity to work for the league was an absolute dream. To this day, its still my favorite company that I have ever worked for. I STILL go online to see if there are any positions that I would apply for. My 'main' job there was as an HRIS Analyst (which I still do today....) but as an NBA employee, you got to volunteer for the fun stuff like working the NBA Lottery night, being able to work the NBA Draft, or being able to go and work at the NBA All Star game. If you have ever been to a city that's hosting the NBA All Star game...you have witnessed the amount of fun and crazy type energy that goes with it. The picture above was my 'Golden Ticket' the whole weekend. If you were wearing that pass along with the 'JS 1 2 3' indicated, you could go ANYWHERE the whole weekend. So, I have some....interesting....stories that I may or may not share later.
I remember applying at other bigger companies after leaving the NBA and while we discussed the role and the company, the conversation always shifted to 'So how was it working for the NBA?'. Honestly, the NBA is ran just like any other billion dollar corporation except the 'product' is some of the best entertainment you can watch. During the time I worked for the NBA, they had three different locations: two offices in Secaucus, NJ and the main office on Fifth Avenue in New York City. I worked at one of the Jersey offices. Which was super cool, but anytime I got a chance to go over to the NYC offices, I took it. Most workplaces don't have pictures of Vince Carter doing the between the legs dunk from his legendary 2000 Dunk Contest performance on the wall, or random NBA Hall of Famer's like Bob Lanier just casually walking the hall. To be one hundred percent honest, while going to the All Star game was awesome, you work VERY hard during your time there. You are usually put on team that is responsible for anything from VIP passes to player/talent transportation (which was my job). I usually started working at 9 and I didn't get 'off' until around 7 or whenever the all star stuff for the night started. I think the misconception behind working somewhere like the NBA (or the other sports leagues I can image) is that all you do is hang out with the players (very, very rare) and go to games and sit courtside (again, you are in NYC, so that's the Knicks....courtside or anywhere close....isn't happening). Even doing your 'everyday' job is hard work because working for the NBA is ultracompetitive, so if you aren't cutting it or whatever, there are others ready to step in and quickly.
Overall, like I mentioned, I would LOVE to work at the NBA again someday, although this time, not as an HR Analyst. Basketball Operations is where I would see myself (anyone? If you are reading/listening?). The people you work with are awesome and fun (I still have friends who work there...shout out to my man Jeff and my boy Chris 'Benny' Benyarko.....Queens stand up!), plus 8 out of 10 are basketball fans also. So basketball talk is encouraged! I haven't worked there in a while and when I was there, Commissioner David Stern was still sitting on the throne in the Ivy Tower so I don't know the dynamic with Adam Silver as the head dude in charge. I do know that during my time a bunch of 'once in a generation' problems happened (the dress code was implemented, guys were no longer able to come straight from high school, and of course....the Ron Artest Detroit thing). A lot of people speculated that the NBA was going to get a spotlight put on it and fold because while people enjoyed watching the huge humans playing on the court and not reacting when they would yell and call them any and everything under the sun, it was a different ball game (pun intended) when the athletes started paying attention to what was said and would come up to get you. Race was an issue (and I'm sure still is) brought up A LOT when the NBA was discussed internally. The NBA has a hard job of balancing out race and money, but they have been doing it very well since the early 80's. With all of the superstars in place.....the league is thriving and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon, which is why I still think I have a shot at being an intern in any department! It's never too late!
Remember to take care of yourselves
- John Cannady