Brian McIntyre Set To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award From Basketball HOF
BRIAN MCINTYRE has left an indelible mark on the game of basketball during his 30-plus year career as a public relations executive, and tonight he will be honored for his dedication to the sport. McIntyre at a ceremony in Springfield, Mass., will receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor the Basketball HOF can bestow on an executive, short of induction. McIntyre's career started with the Bulls in ’78, and he joined the NBA's league office in N.Y. in '81. During his time with the league, McIntyre helped formulate and implement many of the NBA’s communications procedures still in place today. He also had a hand in creating several player awards, and initiated White House visits for the league's annual champion. Last year, McIntyre stepped down as NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications, but he continues to work with the league in an advisory role. He took some time to speak with Staff Writer Theresa Manahan before tonight's ceremony.
Q: Who have been some of your mentors through the years?
McIntyre: Quite a few people, but definitely people like JOHNNY KERR, MATT WINICK, HAL CHILDS, TOM AMBROSE, JIM FOLEY, JOHN WHITE, BOB KING and JIM HEFFERNAN.
Q: How has the world of sports PR changed since you entered your position?
McIntyre: Wow. I mean we’re talking massive changes. When I started with the Bulls in 1978, basically Al Gore hadn’t quite yet invented the Internet (laughs). ESPN was just beginning, I think it was strictly tractor pulls in those days. I didn’t get it in Chicago and I didn’t get it for my first few years living in the New York area. International wasn’t there. I mean just the massive changes that have happened. Print journalism was king when I came in because they set the agenda. They did all the work. Television got all the credit and all the money. But the Internet wasn’t even a player. Now this is just instantaneous. The news cycle used to be 24 hours, now if it is 24 seconds if you are lucky. Things are instantaneous; that’s both good and bad. As a consumer, to be able to get your array of information almost any way you want almost any place you want is tremendous. The downside is that perhaps not all people who are providing information verify what they are writing. And if there is a bone to pick on that, that’s one of the big things that would be great if it were remedied. I’m not sure if it will ever happen. But there’s just so many people out there now that people just run with things instead of double checking.
Q: MARK CUBAN wrote on his blog a few weeks ago that he doesn't really need the mainstream media to cover his games anymore. What are your thoughts on his comments?
McIntyre: It’s an interesting thought. It’s not necessarily one that I agree with wholeheartedly. I do remember reading the piece, and he made some interesting points. But I still think the media can provide a tremendous stamp of third party approval on something, and I think that is an important thing.
Q: You were responsible for initiating the visit of NBA championship teams to the White House. How did that come about?
McIntyre: I think baseball was getting its team invited for the last couple years and I thought why couldn’t we? I went to [then-Commissioner LARRY] O'BRIEN and asked him if it was okay to follow up on it and we did. The first few years we did it we had to be at the White House the next day, the day after the championship the first year I broke it in. And you really can’t discuss it with the team much prior because of superstition and no one wants to deal with it until it is real. We didn’t have a lot of time to put it together.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory from one of those visits?
McIntyre: It’s different styles for different administrations -- but always gracious. I’ve been fortunate to have been at the White House numerous times and it never ever gets old. Every time you walk into the White House or to meet the president you get goose bumps.
Q: What is an attribute of DAVID STERN's that perhaps we don't know that you have seen from your perspective?
McIntyre: He’s a man who cares greatly about what he does, about the NBA, about basketball. He’s a harder worker than anyone here, that’s a great example to set to a lot of people who work with him. He’s got a great sense of humor. He’s sentimental but he doesn’t want to let people know that. He’s got a soft spot to him that I’m not sure is part of his public persona but it’s very much a part of who he is. It’s been a very satisfying 30-year run to work with David Stern. He is an incredible innovator, he has an amazing mind and a tremendous work ethic and he challenges you. He makes you a better worker. I’ve known him a long time, but I’ve never known if he has played chess. I would only imagine that he does and he does it well because he is usually so many moves ahead of most people.