NBA director converses with first sports business class

Thousands of miles could not keep NBA Director of Events and Attractions Bill Terrell away from FAMU Tuesday.

The first ever sport, recreation and entertainment marketing class, consisting of 43 students, met in the south-wing boardroom of the School of Business and Industry for a conference call with the highly anticipated guest speaker.

The chatter died down at approximately 2:15 p.m. as the red light flashed; the phone rang right on time.

Terrell began the session via speakerphone by introducing himself and telling the class how he started his career with the NBA. In 1989, he was chosen out of 300 candidates to intern in the NBA’s broadcasting department.

He later moved on to work in the merchandising department and then to the Events and Attractions Department, where he has been working for the past 15 years. His job is to market the league through various events around the world and “to make basketball the number one sport in the world,” Terrell said.

For a little over an hour, each student had the opportunity to pose questions and converse with Terrell on a deeper level. Discussion topics ranged from the NBA’s new initiatives, international expansion plans, player’s images and the recent-enforced dress code policy.

Terrell also gave the students advice on and insight into what the NBA looks for in potential employees.

“We look for the best people at the top of their game,” he said. “Be well prepared; the more knowledge you have, the better you’re going to look.

“You have to stand out. Read all the business journals. And I can’t say it enough, you have to be knowledgeable about the company you’re interviewing for,” Terrell continued.

Amanda Shelton, a third-year business administration student from Houston, said she was glad she registered for the new sports marketing class.

“I’ve always had an interest in sports through playing basketball, so it was second nature for me to take this class,” Shelton said. “It was very informative to learn about the NBA’s international efforts in China and where the NBA is moving toward.”

Roscoe Hightower, associate business professor, created the class due to a high demand by the students. Hightower takes pride in helping diversify the curriculum and exposing students to professionals in the sport business world, he said.

“It is strategically important to connect the students with industry leaders,” the professor said. The class is becoming very popular. But there are still people out there who don’t know we offer the class.”

According to online curriculums, other universities like Florida State University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida already have programs in place offering sports management degrees.

Hightower said he remains optimistic that the new sport, recreational and entertainment marketing class is the first step to obtaining the goal of offering sport management degrees at FAMU. In the meantime, the NBA’s commissioner David Stern is on the agenda to be the next call-in guest speaker for the spring semester sport marketing class.