This is Part III in an NBA culture series. Read Parts I and II:

How to Build Company Culture? Lessons From the NBA.

The Blueprint: Lessons from the NBA Part II

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The NBA Bubble proved to be a well conceived, carefully organized and meticulously executed model for pandemic control. The NBA presented a how-to model that other sports and organizations now seek to replicate. The salvaged NBA season was historic.

This historical dimension was also magnified by the long-awaited comeback of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise winning its seventeenth championship title, while the mournful pall of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s…


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This article is Part II following How to Build Company Culture? Lessons From the NBA from March 10, 2019.

On the morning of December 5th, I found myself at the HSS Training Center on 39th Street in Brooklyn, home of the Brooklyn Nets training facility. The Basketball Africa League, BAL, was holding its first combine. Unlike the jam-packed, media swarmed, agent laden, coach stocked, team executive rich showcase that is the NBA Draft Combine, this event had a more intimate and mission-based setting.

The invite-only event afforded an opportunity for prospects to display their league worthiness to note-taking scouts, as…


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Paradiddle. It’s a word I learned late in life, but one that has directed my life for as long as I can remember remembering anything at all. A paradiddle is one of the most basic patterns for drumming.

I had a decisive moment several years ago, when my basic pattern became strikingly clear to me. I interviewed for admission to a liberal arts university. My high school admissions counselor told me not to bother applying, one of the reasons being that I didn’t have a 4.0 GPA. But I was fortified by self-determination and fail-proofed by my first business suit.


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Lawrence O’Donnell, host of The Last Word on MSNBC, interviewed U.S. Representative and Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell on Thursday evening, May 2, 2019. During the interview, O’Donnell asked Swalwell the skeptic’s query relative to experience for a candidate campaigning for the highest office. To be specific, O’Donnell asked, “How important do you think the issue of experience is, for a candidate for president?”

The context of the question was a comparison between Representative Swalwell and former U.S. Senator and Vice President Joe Biden, also a presidential candidate. Swalwell, age 38 and now in his fourth term, has been an…


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Mark your calendar. In October, exactly two years after their game changing article was published in the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Meghan Touhy’s book, She Said, will make its debut. Many people are hoping it will fuel another phase of the #MeToo movement, launching it towards fundamentally and permanently revolutionizing the response to sexual harassment and gender disparity, in the workplace.

The truth, as most will admit, is that women and their allies are still at a loss, for how to more comprehensively and effectively deal with disrespect and devaluation in any interaction. The systemic problems institutionalized by…


A Season Deferred

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The Boston Celtics have been eliminated from this year’s playoffs, by the “Fear the Deer” Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics dismissal from postseason play cannot be regarded as an upset. The moment the seeding was set, their fate was destined for an insurmountable showdown with the Bucks. No one outside of the Celtics organization and fan base had any hope or expectation that Boston would prevail and advance to the Eastern Conference Final. They were outmatched, outplayed, outcoached and outmanned, particularly when considering the critical absence of Marcus Smart due to injury, at the start of the series.


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The Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball as the second player picked overall in the NBA Draft on June 22, 2017. Ball was touted as a redeemer of a Lakers franchise that had fallen from the glory of its past. That same day, the Lakers announced a trade to acquire the draft rights to Kyle Kuzma. One of the players jettisoned from the team was D’Angelo Russell, now the centerpiece player of the Brooklyn Nets.

The move was not entirely unexpected by Russell. He and Ball played the same position, and it had become clear that Ball would be given…


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WNBA Player Nneka Ogwumike Photo by Gary A. Vasquez USA Today

The NBA’s February 2019 All-Star Weekend bash in Charlotte staged events on and off the court. Most were designed to be entertaining, others enlightening. Of course, there was the celebrity game, the three-point shooting contest, the dunk contest, musical performances, fashion, art and interactive activities offered to enhance the fan experience.

Other events took on a dimension of social impact. The National Basketball Wives Association (NBWA) presented The Women’s Empowerment Summit, honoring the Evolution of Women in Business. It also, along with the March of Dimes, co-sponsored a baby shower for low income mothers. …


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A few months ago, while flying across the country, I decided to binge on my favorite basketball podcast, The Woj Pod, hosted by Adrian “Woj” Wojnarowski from ESPN. The season’s end retirement of the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade was on my mind, so I selected his February 2017 interview. Then I closed my eyes to download the in-depth insights I reliably receive from Woj.

Less than 15 minutes into the interview, I was pulled from my podcast meditation, by a word that is like intellectual candy. Woj, who often asks his guests to talk about the identity and culture of…


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Last week I watched Adam Silver’s interview at the MIT/Sloan Sports Conference, an interview conducted by podcaster, founder and CEO of The Ringer, Bill Simmons. As a female sports enthusiast, listening to Simmons can often times be likened to listening to someone with chronic halitosis. I really want to hear what he has to say, but the odor of his persistent relegation and habitual omission of female athletes and fans can be an alienating stench to tolerate. Nonetheless, I used my interest in the NBA’s current challenges, to cover my sociologic nose and hit play.

Commissioner Silver has always struck…

Alicia Bassuk

Special advisor to leaders, recipient of NBA Championship ring for her role as special advisor to the President, GM and Head Coach of the Toronto Raptors.

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