In the last few years, the NBA has seen a significant rise in the number of women fighting for their own courtside seats among the league’s leadership. Where once it was only a boys’ club, women can now be found in a variety of key positions, pulling the strings behind some of the biggest decisions in professional basketball.
While the NBA has one of the best reputations in the sports world for its conscious commitment to increasing gender diversity, the majority of positions held by women still tend to fall within the realms of marketing or public relations rather than administration. But Becky Bonner, director of player development and quality control for the Orlando Magic, has her eye on the general manager prize and, according to Magic President Jeff Weltman, she’s got “unlimited potential.”
Bonner — who’s elder brother Matt played 12 seasons in the NBA — was a former Division I player and already a six-year front office veteran of the league. “I speak player,” Bonner explained in an interview with Bleacher Report. “When I’m on the court, I’m very comfortable,” Bonner explained, citing that simply by association as “Matt’s sister,” she was able to get an early look into the inner workings of the NBA.
As director of player development, Bonner handles everything from the redesign of the team lounge, to organizing team dinners, to renewing player passports. “I’m not too cool to do anything,” Bonner says. “If you need me to rebound for you in my skirt, I will. If you need me to look at the players lounge and redesign it, I’ll do that — even though I may lack that talent.”
“As anyone who has daughters, you’re always hoping that, as we all progress, we get to the point where none of this matters, whether it’s hiring practices or compensation,” Magic president Jeff Weltman explains speaking to Becky’s credentials, “And we look for the best people, the people that can most dramatically impact our chance to win … Becky was that person for us.”
While nothing is set in stone, Bonner remains focused on her end goal, but whether or not she makes it to G.M. first, for the NBA, a female GM is no longer just a possibility — it’s an eventuality.
Read the full story at Bleacher Report.