ORLANDO NATIVE KEVIN CARR REFLECTS ON HIS CAREER AS AN EXECUTIVE WITH THE NBA.
AS A LITTLE BOY IN ORLANDO, Kevin Carr used to run outside when it was time for the space shuttle to take off into the heavens.
“I thought, ‘Those people dream big and their talents are taking them out of this world,’ ” he says. “Why can’t I?” That little boy grew up to be the Vice President of Community and Player Programs for the National Basketball Association (NBA.)
How did he go from the suburbs to a plush office overlooking Madison Avenue in New York City?
It all started with mom.
“My mother was the first leader in my life, and she was very consistent and deliberate in setting expectations high for me,” Carr remembers. “She told me, ‘You fear God and you fear me.’”
Having a mother who wouldn’t hesitate to drop in at school to make sure Carr was doing well, led him to be extremely disciplined.
Carr attended Tangelo Park Elementary, Riverside Elementary and Lockhart Middle School before graduating from Apopka High School. Later, he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy with an emphasis Human Resources and Diversity Leadership from Florida State University.
Following graduation, Carr served as Academic and Life Skills coordinator at FSU where he was an advisor for three different men’s & women’s athletic teams. Only a few short years later, Carr was named the Corporate Services Manager for INROADS of Central Florida, Inc.
Next, Carr was hired as the Associate Director of Student-Athlete Support Services and Director of Life Skills at Michigan State University.
Under his leadership, the Life Skills program was awarded the distinguished Division 1A Athletic Director’s “Program of Excellence Award.”
“I have always believed that there is opportunity out there,” Carr says. “I enjoy making a difference and managing risk and reputation.”
In 2001, he joined the NBA.
“Getting my job at the NBA was the easiest job I’ve gotten because it was predicated by years of pre-work,” Carr says.
Personal reputation is everything, and Carr’s hard work in developing new programs and trying new things in previous positions furthered his personal brand.
Carr had a friend who worked for the WBNA. One day she called and told him that there was a job at the NBA with his name on it, Three phone interviews later, Carr had a job offer.
“It was a testament to the hard work that I had put in,” he says. “People knew about my work before they met me.”
No sooner had Carr settled in New York City, when opportunity called again. The NBA needed someone to create a proposal to develop players. The position was in Greenville, South Carolina.
Carr decided to pursue the position.
“It’s all about taking risks and going the road less traveled,” says Carr, who lived in South Carolina for two years. During his first year there, he was promoted.
One of Carr’s favorite aspects of working for the NBA is being able to participate in draft night.
“I help the rookies know where to go, and welcome the families,” he says. “Draft night allows you to see the culmination of years of hard work, time and talent — like a cataclysmic explosion.”
In addition, Carr loves being involved in NBA Cares, the league’s global community outreach initiative that addresses important social issues, as well as the NBA D-League, the NBA’s official minor league.
“The NBA is not always about business; it’s about being a good partner and a responsible organization to those who believe in us,” he says. “We try to give as much as we get from our fans.”
Success costs commitment to quality and constant improvement, Carr says.
“My first two years in the NBA were tough,” he says. “I wasn’t a cut-throat type of executive, but being a nice guy in New York City wasn’t working for me.”
Carr sought guidance from an executive coach, and it made all the difference. He credits his willingness to discipline himself as a key to his success.
“It was a sacrifice to move from Florida to Michigan State, where I froze my butt off for four years, I was very comfortable there, then I moved to New York City for the NBA job. I had a house, and I left it for a small apartment,” he says. “You don’t get anywhere without making sacrifices.”
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.