Interview with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Interview with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Charlie Abt and Johnny Mambrino

We had the privilege of being able to do an email interview with NBA Commissioner and Rye High School alum, Adam Silver and we were able to get some information on some of the most pressing questions surrounding the league right now. Silver became the commissioner of the NBA on February 1, 2014, and before that he was the NBA’s deputy commissioner.

 

  1. What was the most challenging part of the bubble?

The most challenging part was ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved.  For us to operate successfully, it required extraordinary sacrifices and cooperation from players, coaches, team and league staff, and Disney employees who worked on the NBA campus.

 

  1. Were you ever concerned about not being able to finish the season?

Yes, we were always concerned because COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease.

 

  1. What do you hope is in store for the future of the NBA?

My hope is that we can continue to grow the NBA around the world and use the game of basketball to bring people together.  Our games are shown in 215 countries and territories, nearly 25 percent of NBA players were born outside of the United States, and we have a global social media following of more than 1.9 billion people.  We see a tremendous opportunity to continue that growth.

 

  1. Will there be an 82-game regular season next year, or will it be a shortened season?

It’s still too early to tell, but we’re likely to start next season in either late December or January.

 

  1. What do you think was the biggest key towards the success of the bubble?

The biggest key was everyone on campus remaining vigilant and following the health and safety protocols, which included daily testing, mask wearing, social distancing and constant handwashing.

 

  1. Other than obviously this season, what has been your biggest challenge as the commissioner?

One of the biggest challenges is how the NBA adjusts to the changing viewing habits of you and other young people.  We need to adjust with the times as people are spending increasing amounts of time watching the screens on their phones and tablets instead of conventional TVs.  It’s something that I spend a lot of my time thinking about as we plan for the future. 

 

  1. Considering you went to Rye High School and grew up in New York, what was your favorite NBA team growing up if you had one?

The New York Knicks were my favorite team growing up.  Once I joined the NBA, I became a fan of all of the teams.

 

  1. Did you always want to have a high power position in a league or an organization, or was becoming the commissioner just a matter of circumstance?

I never envisioned working for a league or in professional sports, but I was fortunate to be hired by the former commissioner, David Stern, in 1992.  I worked directly for David for nearly 22 years and learned a great deal from him about what it takes to run a global sports, media and entertainment business, which helped prepare me for my position today.

 

  1. What was your relationship like with former NBA commissioner David Stern before you became commissioner and before he eventually passed?

David was a close friend and mentor.  We spent so much time together over the years and I had the privilege of learning from him every step of the way.  After he stepped down as Commissioner, we still spoke regularly and he was always gracious with his time and willingness to offer advice.

 

  1. What has been your favorite in-game moment as the commissioner, and why?

It’s difficult to choose a favorite.  I’m grateful to attend the Finals every year and to see the game played at the highest level and on the biggest stage.

 

  1. Of the four major sports leagues in the United States, the NBA clearly has the best relationship with its players, how has it come to be this way?

We view the relationship between the players and the league as a partnership.  It’s a relationship that’s built around mutual trust and respect.