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Little League® Exclusive Interview: Adam Silver, National Basketball Association Commissioner

Volume 3 | Issue 6 | June 2015 | Archive
Little League® Exclusive Interview: Adam Silver, National Basketball Association Commissioner
Adam Silver
Little League® International prides itself on not just developing big league players, but big league people. In 2014, two of the major professional sports organizations elected new commissioners, with Adam Silver being named the National Basketball Association Commissioner and Rob Manfred tapped as the new Baseball Commissioner. These two sports industry leaders followed similar paths to their current positions. Both of them worked for years within their respective organizations, instrumental in developing their leagues’ current success, both are graduates of top law schools, and both got their start in sports as Little Leaguers® growing up in New York.

A graduate of Rye Little League, Commissioner Silver started his career as a lawyer in New York City, and joined NBA Entertainment in 1992, eventually being named President and COO. Commissioner Silver then became NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, a position he held for eight years, before being elected as Commissioner in February 2014.

Little League spoke with Commissioner Silver about his Little League days with his family, how Little League prepared him for his professional career, and the importance of youth sports.

Little League: How big of a role did sports play in your childhood, specifically Little League? Was your family involved?

Adam Silver: Sports was a huge part of my childhood. It was one of the ways I connected with my father, whether we were discussing the Knicks, the Yankees, or my own Little League games. My two brothers played in Little League, too, so it was something that brought my whole family together.

LL: What is your favorite Little League memory?

AS: What I remember most about Little League is the camaraderie and how much fun it was to just play baseball with my friends. I learned a lot about teamwork, performing under pressure, and sportsmanship from Little League, all values that have been incredibly helpful in my career.

LL: What lessons did you learn playing Little League that have helped you in your professional life?

AS: Playing Little League helped teach me the importance of learning to cope with failure. I hated to make an error or strike out, but I came to realize it was all part of the game.

LL: How important is it for children to participate in youth sports, like Little League?

AS: There is so much that children can gain from participating in youth sports. Not only do sports build important lifelong habits and routines that stress physical fitness, they also teach kids important lessons about teamwork, integrity, and respect.

LL: In a changing, hyper-specialized youth sports world, Little League encourages diversity and for its participants to try other sports and extracurricular activities. How do you feel specialization is impacting the sports industry?

AS: I think it is important for kids to be able to explore their talents in a variety of ways, whether, just by example, it’s on the basketball court, the baseball field, the debate team, or the school newspaper. I’m convinced that a diversity of activities leads to better athletes and better people.

LL: What role do you think Little League plays in the larger sports industry?

AS: Little League is a foundational experience in sports. Little League alums include not only baseball players, but also basketball players, football players, and athletes across the pro sports industry. In that way, the values learned in Little League ultimately become the values of the major leagues.
Adam Silver
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The Parent Connection - June 2015 - Archive