Letters From Leaders

Adam Silver Commissioner National Basketball Association

Adam Silver
National Basketball Association

You may not know it, but you have already acquired an important leadership trait: resilience. The world will need your talent, creativity and toughness to help us come out of this challenging period stronger than ever.

To do that, here are some leadership lessons that I have learned during my nearly 30 years at the NBA that may help you.

First, relationships matter, especially relationships with people who have different points of view. I am fortunate to work with an incredible group of NBA players, coaches, team owners, partners and league office colleagues, and relationships are at the core of collaboration and compromise.

Second, your values matter. There will always be factors outside of your control, but what you stand for will help you stay grounded and will guide you.

Third, understand the emotions around difficult issues but also keep a fact-based mindset to make balanced and informed decisions.

Fourth, be engaged in the world around you. As we are seeing today, we are all part of the broader society and can build bridges and bring people together.

And fifth, follow a lesson from one of the NBA’s truly great leaders, Bill Russell. An 11-time NBA champion as a player and coach for the Boston Celtics and a civil rights icon who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Bill once said, “Learning is a daily experience and a lifetime mission. I truly believe in the saying, ‘We work to become, not to acquire.’”

I look forward to seeing what you become – the leaders our future needs.

Adam Silver, NBA