Deputy commissioner Adam Silver will recommend to the NBA’s Board of Governors that Mark Tatum succeed him when he takes over as commissioner, according to multiple reports.
Commissioner David Stern is retiring and Silver will succeed him Feb. 1. Tatum is the NBA’s executive vice president of global marketing partnership.
Tatum has worked in the NBA since 1999. He oversees marketing for the NBA, WNBA, NBA Development League and USA Basketball. He is the main point person with some of the NBA’s biggest sponsors, including Coke, Nike and Gatorade. He has also forged new relationships with companies including Diageo, which is the NBA’s official spirits sponsor this season.
In addition, Tatum has brought in corporations including Cisco and SAP to work with the NBA. Cisco’s TelePresence is used throughout team arenas. He is also responsible for the NBA’s sales of its media-affiliated groups, including NBA TV and NBA.com, and its sales with media partners ESPN, ABC and TNT.
If he is approved by the NBA’s owners, Tatum, who is African-American and Vietnamese, will become the highest ranking executive of color in a professional sports league. His approval is expected to be a formality.
“It’s smart of Adam not picking from the usual suspects,” a league source told NBA.com. “He already has great relationship with all of the sponsors.”
Before coming to the NBA, Tatum worked for Major League Baseball, Clorox, Pepsi, and Proctor and Gamble.
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