I have a lot of experience placing people in internships as about 10 of my former interns moved on to internships to NBA teams. The biggest thing that surprise applicants for these positions is that most positions are unpaid. Not only are they unpaid, but you have to pay rent and living expenses while being on the job with an NBA team. Some organizations give you stipends, but the money paid out will barely pay for a studio apartment.So the first thing to be prepared for is supporting yourself and be prepared for zero dollars for working 12+ hours a day for about 8 months.
As an applicant for an internship you have to understand that organizations receive in the neighborhood of 150 people seeking internships in the basketball operations department of NBA teams. Just having a resume saying that you are an avid fan won’t secure you a position. I would say a prerequisite should be to have a skill in which will catch the eye of the hiring person.
I would suggest being a manager of your college basketball team or some type of student assistant or video assistant. This will give you some on the job work experience before applying for the position. Most teams will train you to do the job once you get there, but you are trying to impress the person in charge of hiring. There are thousands of people from all around the world that will give up anything to work for an NBA team. The competition is pretty strong and you need something that stands out on your resume.
We spoke about the fact that you wont be getting paid, but also put into consideration the expenses that you need to look at for spending 9 months with a team. Hopefully you can luck out and have family or friends close to NBA cities that you can stay with rent free. Here are some total expenses for a 9 month period to look at.
RENT $9,000 (Average about $1,000 a month over 9 months)
FOOD $3,000 (Average of $350 a month for 9 months)
CAR $2,000 (Gas/Tolls over a 9 month period)
MISC $1,500 (Cell Phone and other living expenses)
So as you can see by living bare minimum and not splurging you are looking at $15,000 in expenses. If you can luck out an get a team to get you a stipend or have relatives/friends that you can stay with or your mother/father can help you with living expenses it can work out. I think many people don’t understand that there is a major financial obligation to commit to and it isn’t just the long days.
I think there is a pretty big percentage of NBA front office/video positions that are filled with interns that worked previously with that team or another. There are some organizations that value their training of interns to promote them and have them move up in the organization. I’d say it’s easier to get in the NBA when you have experience interning rather than trying to get in form the outside. These positions are very valuable and hard to get.
With many teams in the NBA that value interns there are quite a few that don’t. They value the work that you do as an intern, but just would rather hire experienced people from the outside. With that being said you can donate $15,000 + as well as 60 hours a week of your life for almost a year with nothing to show for it. If you have the opportunity to be an intern trying to impress your bosses would be the first thing on your mind.
Being an intern can be a great career move for people that can make the sacrifice. You will have the opportunity to connect with so many people that can help you get a job down the line. There is no guarantee that you will get a job from an internship, but getting the job is the first step.
Take my advice and try to acquire experience in some capacity. This could be as a manager, student video assistant, high school coach, basketball training, or something that has to do with basketball. Everyone works hard or at least put that on their resume. Do something that sticks out and get prepared to work 40-60 hours a week and invest $12-$15 thousand dollars to finance this.
Try to go to NBA sites and get contact information with people in video and basketball operations. I would suggest not to try t bother high level people in organizations like Head Coaches and General Managers. Try to identify video people or assistant video people. Reach out to assistant coaches or player development people as well. there isn’t a perfect person to reach out to, but the biggest thing is don’t be a pest. You may think it is dedication others will think it is you being a pain. Send an email or fax with you information. Be low key, but try to stand out a little bit.
Hopefully this works and you can find something. Remember, anything you try put work and effort into as well as stand out from your competition.