Finding the next Philippine Basketball Association commissioner won’t be the easiest task in the next few weeks.
The job resembles most senior managerial positions: You have corporate goals to achieve, a staff to lead and a public persona where you deal with internal and external audiences.
However, unlike corporate officers, the PBA commissioner’s position is an extremely high profile media task, a grueling marketing initiative and a basketball officiating crucible each playing date. There is also the important responsibility of relating to the league’s Board of Governors which can be challenging if not handled with care and discretion.
You can now understand why the league is being deliberate in its selection process for a new commissioner. There is no perfect individual for the post but perhaps the search is for a leader-manager who can set directions but be deft enough to choose people who can ably run the league’s key components.
The David Stern model in the National Basketball Association could be a starting peg. Being a lawyer helps but should not be the sole basis for the selection. Stern achieved just a few major accomplishments but have had a lasting impact on the league: Aggressive marketing in various platforms, forging owners’ trust and competent game officials.
Stern was more of a marketing man than a basketball person. He spearheaded the marketing but allowed others to address the officiating issues and improvements. Officiating will never be perfect even with the advent of replays and reviews.
The important element Stern introduced was establishing a high degree of trust and credibility in the officiating. Officiating remains to this day a work in progress but the occasional lapses never really bog down the NBA.
So where do we find such a similar individual for the PBA?
Perhaps more than the basketball knowledge, the person will have to possess leadership skills while managing the day-to-day needs of the league.
Add to this a strong personality that blends determination and charisma, which usually don’t go hand in hand.
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