NBA league office member Garth Glissman visits UI campus

NBA Associate Vice President of Operations Garth Glissman visited the University of Iowa to talk with students on a range of topics, including his career and other jobs in sports.

NBA+Associate+VP+for+Basketball+Operations+Garth+Glissman+speaks+in+116+IMU+on+Monday%2C+Feb.+17%2C+2020.+Glissman+spoke+about+the+league%27s+business+operations+to+a+room+of+Sports+Management+students.+

Shivansh Ahuja

NBA Associate VP for Basketball Operations Garth Glissman speaks in 116 IMU on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. Glissman spoke about the league's business operations to a room of Sports Management students.

Austin Hanson, Assistant Sports Editor


NBA Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations Garth Glissman’s story is one of tenacity and grit. Hailing from Nebraska, Glissman’s tale should serve as an inspiration for Midwesterners trying to find a job in the world of sports.

Glissman has visited the University of Iowa to speak with students the last two years. This year, he came to Iowa City straight from the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

Glissman believes the Midwestern perspective and work ethic are valuable. He visits Iowa to give back to the Midwest and its rural communities and talk to students in the UI’s highly regarded Sport and Recreation Management program.

“You have to be willing to work really hard, sacrifice more than your competition, and also be really honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses [if you want to work in sports],” Glissman said. “Find an area of the sports industry where your skill and background are a fit.”

Glissman represents the NBA in the Midwest because he knows it best. He grew up on a small farm outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, where he worshiped the Cornhuskers.

“So much of my childhood focused on the University of Nebraska,” Glissman said. “I grew up in the heyday of Nebraska football. I was 12 years old when Nebraska won the first [NCAA] National Championship under Tom Osborne in 1994. I never had cable TV until I went to college. I was limited in what I could watch on TV.”

Glissman was eventually admitted to the University of Nebraska, where he would walk-on as a backup quarterback at his dream school. As a freshman, he also contributed to the men’s basketball team.

“I was fortunate enough that I was a pretty good athlete, not a great athlete,” Glissman said. “Ultimately, I got a chance to be a walk on student-athlete at the University of Nebraska, which was a dream come true for me.”

Glissman graduated from Nebraska with a history and political science degree. He then returned to Lincoln to earn a degree in law a year later.

During his time in law school, Glissman picked up a hobby that would change the trajectory of his life and career.

“I did well my first couple years of law school, but I felt like something was kind of missing,” Glissman said. “Starting my third year of law school, I started coaching [basketball] again. I was fortunate enough to get the head varsity [basketball coach] job at a very small private school in Lincoln as a third-year law student.”

After practicing law by day for six and a half years and coaching high school basketball by night for eight, the NBA came calling.

Ever since, Glissman has been a key component in forming the next generation of professional basketball.

“One day the NBA reached out to me and said, ‘You have a unique résumé in that you have a fairly long track record as both a corporate attorney and as a high school basketball coach. That’s pretty rare in our business, and given that we are in the business of basketball, we think it might make sense to talk to you and see if there might be a fit,’” Glissman said.

“That led to a six-month dialogue with the NBA that ultimately culminated with some formal interviews, and I flew out and met with people at [NBA] headquarters in New York City, and they offered me the job in May of 2016.”

Glissman completed the first leg of this year’s visit with a lecture Monday at the Iowa Memorial Union. His trip to Iowa City will conclude today with a lecture at the Boyd Law Building.

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