By Sentinel News Service
NBA Vice President of Basketball Operations and former NBA All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim has been named President of the NBA G League, it was announced recently by NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. Abdur-Rahim will replace Malcolm Turner, who will step down Jan. 11, 2019, to become the Athletics Director at Vanderbilt University.
In his new role, Abdur-Rahim will be responsible for all aspects of the NBA G League’s business and basketball operations, including the implementation of the newly formed professional path, ongoing testing of experimental rules and league-wide expansion efforts.
“Shareef’s unique experiences as a player, team executive and member of the NBA’s Basketball Operations department make him a fantastic fit to be the next President of the NBA G League,” said Tatum. “He is well-prepared to build on the tremendous progress that the NBA G League has made under Malcolm, who deftly oversaw a pivotal period of expansion and transition. We thank Malcolm for his lasting contributions to the NBA and the NBA G League and wish him the best at Vanderbilt.”
Abdur-Rahim, who turned 42 today, previously worked five years with the Sacramento Kings, serving as an assistant general manager and assistant coach as well as spending the 2013-14 season as general manager of the NBA G League’s Reno Bighorns (now known as the Stockton Kings). Abdur-Rahim earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
As a player, Abdur-Rahim averaged 18.1 points per game in 12 NBA seasons. The third overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, he was named an NBA All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks in the 2001-02 season. Abdur-Rahim also earned a gold medal with USA Basketball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
I am thrilled to have this extraordinary opportunity with the NBA G League,” said Abdur-Rahim. “I’ve seen firsthand the NBA G League’s remarkable growth under Malcolm’s leadership, and I look forward to working with the players, teams and my colleagues to take the league to even greater heights.”
“I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to lead the NBA G League,” said Turner. “I am proud of the transformational work we have done toward achieving our goal of a 30-team league. I want to thank the NBA G League’s owners, presidents, coaches and team staffs for their partnership and Adam Silver and Mark Tatum for their guidance and for entrusting this important part of the NBA’s business to me.”
During Turner’s four-year tenure, the NBA G League expanded by 10 teams (from 18 during the 2014-15 season to 28 for the 2019-20 season) and transitioned from the NBA Development League to the NBA G League as part of a first-of-its-kind entitlement partnership with Gatorade. Additionally, Turner’s commitment to increased developmental opportunities paved the way for the implementation of both NBA Two-Way and Select Contracts.
Under Turner’s leadership, the NBA G League’s impact on the NBA game has skyrocketed. When he joined the NBA G League in October 2014, 33 percent of players on 2013-14 NBA end-of-season rosters had NBA G League experience. Four years later, that number grew to 53 percent to close the 2017-18 season. Additionally, Turner orchestrated an enhanced partnership with USA Basketball to field teams comprised of NBA G League players during the qualifying rounds of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The NBA G League set records for attendance and visibility last season as more than 1.6 million fans attended games (an increase of more than 11 percent over the previous season) and combined viewership across ESPNU and NBA TV grew five percent from 2016-17 to 2017-18. Additionally, the league shattered records for social media metrics last season, with more than 150 million video views and four million actions – increases of 47 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel.