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Volume 22 No. 27
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Tara Gutkowski Schwartz, National Basketball Association

Photo: Courtesy of NBA Entertainment

Tara Gutkowski Schwartz

Vice President, Social Responsibility, National Basketball Association

Born: Huntington, N.Y.
Education: Cornell University, B.S., industrial and labor relations

Tara Gutkowski Schwartz is nearing the two-decade mark at the NBA, and her work with the league’s social responsibility efforts has never been more prevalent.

 

Starting with the inception of NBA Cares in 2005, Schwartz has helped the league stay socially conscious of issues not just in the U.S., but across the globe. In the past two years alone stateside, she has led more than 65 leaguewide community event efforts in Los Angeles and Charlotte, respectively, for All-Star Weekend. Those include physical and mental wellness initiatives, basketball clinics and community forums with league executives and former players. 

But it is her work with NBA Cares, specifically Basketball Without Borders, that Schwartz is most proud of during her time with the league. She visits Africa every summer as part of the initiative, and players and league executives have bought into her mission to grow the NBA’s global footprint through philanthropy.

“The challenge in the work that we do is always making sure that we’re being mindful of what’s going on around us,” Schwartz said. “Our programs are reflective to what’s happening in the U.S. and the world. It’s a challenge, and it’s something that we don’t take lightly.” — Thomas Leary

Getting to know...

Favorite day-off activity: A day spent in Brooklyn with absolutely no plans and the ability to just be with my husband, Eric, and our kids, Blake and Tyson, is just about the best day I could ask for.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: That I have never once skipped dressing up on Halloween. Last year I was a very convincing Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Woman in sports business you’d like to meet: Serena Williams. I have always loved watching her play tennis, but I have so much more admiration for her since she became a mom. Her honesty and openness about what it’s like to be a working mother and the attention she has since received has been so important for anyone in the position. 

Role of sports in social issues: Sports has an incredibly important role in social issues. Through sports we understand that the strongest teams are comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and ideas, united by a shared goal to lift each other up to achieve greatness.