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Volume 22 No. 18
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Celebrating the executives who shaped sports business

Forty Under 40 class photos

Highlighting our Oct. 11, 1999 issue, our inaugural Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 class included a minor league baseball general manager who now is an NFL team president, a rising attorney who now is chairman of a powerhouse law firm, an NBA player who later purchased an NBA team and the general manager of the New York Yankees, who, two decades later, remains as general manager of the New York Yankees.

 

For those playing along at home, the above quartet would be: Tom Glick of the Carolina Panthers, Joe Leccese of Proskauer, Michael Jordan and Brian Cashman. 

 Cashman, then 32 and in his second year as GM, was only 13 years removed from his first gig with the club, an internship he landed after his freshman year at Catholic University. Considering that only one of the Yankees’ previous nine GMs lasted more than two years, you could have gotten long odds on Cashman surviving even that long, never mind more than two decades.

“If you get your foot in the door anywhere, anything can happen,” Cashman said on the pages of that first SBJ Forty Under 40 section, describing the path to what he described as his dream job. “I’m a living example of that.” 

Though few of our Forty Under 40 selections of the last two decades have carried as high a profile as Cashman, many have echoed that sentiment along their way down similarly successful paths.

Among that inaugural class were a dozen winners who went on to found or co-found ventures, an entrepreneurial bent reflective not only of that time — filled with startups at the peak of the dot-com boom — but of the classes that followed.

The sports industry has changed markedly since we launched SBJ’s Forty Under 40. Not one member of the 2019 class had even graduated from college in 1999. The youngest was in fifth grade. Using history as a predictor, some will be on our pages for years, and even decades, to come.

Our most recent Most Influential list included 14 selections who were SBJ Forty Under 40 alums, including Adam Silver (No. 2, Classes of 2000-01), Eric Shanks (No. 4, Classes of 2007, ’08, ’10), Casey Wasserman (No. 7, Classes of 2003, ’05, ’07) and Mark Lazarus (No. 11, Classes of 2000-02).

That’s what can happen if you “get your foot in the door.”