SBJ/November 10 - 16, 2003/Careerspeople

Community connection brings longtime Charlotte player to post with new team

Name: Dell Curry

Age: 39

Title: Director, basketball relations, Charlotte Bobcats

College: Virginia Tech (1986), bachelor of arts, sociology

Resides: Charlotte

Grew up: Grottoes, Va.

Previous job: Professional athlete

Family: Wife, Sonya; sons, Stephen and Seth; daughter, Sydel

Last book read: Bible

CDs he listens to most: CD of my church choir

In an effort to reconnect Charlotte with pro basketball, the NBA expansion Bobcats have promoted to an executive position the first expansion-draft pick by the city's now-departed Hornets.

Dell Curry was named the Bobcats' director of basketball relations after a 16-year career in the NBA, including a 10-year stint with the Hornets. The Virginia Tech graduate, who kept his home in Charlotte even after moving on to the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors, established the Dell Curry Foundation in 1988 to offer skill-based programs and group-living arrangements to youth and young adults. His foundation has opened five reading and learning centers in Charlotte.

In his new role, Curry will be an integral member of the Bobcats community relations, public relations, sales, and marketing efforts. He also will serve as an adviser and scout on the team's basketball operations staff.

Curry recently spoke about his new position.

Curry

What is the biggest challenge of your new position?

It is going to be learning the front office as a whole. Having been an NBA player for the past 16 years, usually the only time you go in the front office is when you've got a big problem (laughs).

Going in and learning how that office runs and the responsibilities that I will have will definitely be my biggest challenge.

What are your strengths?

Here in this community, I know the people of Charlotte. They know me from playing here so many years, so I'm a recognizable person to them. Also, I know the NBA, and I know what type of players it takes to have a successful organization both on and off the court. I will also bring new excitement to a new team.

What areas do you want to improve in?

I want to actively participate in getting the public aware of the type of organization that Bobcats owner Robert Johnson and Bobcats executive vice president Ed Tapscott want to have here in Charlotte. After the Hornets left, the city has taken on a kind of disgruntled feeling. We need to make the public and this city aware that this is a very different organization with very different people, morals and values.

What are two things you wish you could change about the sports business?

One thing is that everyone needs to remember it is a sport and it is just a game. It's meant as pure entertainment and it's meant for people to come out and enjoy. Secondly, I think the athletes themselves need to change. Athletes need to respect their game, learn the history of their game and value what they're doing. More athletes need to really appreciate the special opportunity they have to play professional sports.

What recent accomplishment are you most proud of?

I had the opportunity to play 16 years in the NBA and to provide a good living for myself and for my family. Also, I spoke to the North Carolina men's basketball team recently and I said, "Fellas, whatever you do, get your degree. That carries a lot of weight. To have an education and a degree shows your team what type of work ethic you have." I'm real proud that I have a degree.

When you're not working, what do you do in your spare time?

I have three children, and they're all very involved in athletics. The majority of my time is spent with my family and athletic events. And, I love to play golf. My best game is a 73.

Alisha Puckett is research associate for The Sports Business Daily, an affiliated publication.

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