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Grassroots Programming With NBPA’s Khadija Campbell During Pandemic

Khadija Campbell | Manager, Grassroots Basketball & Events | National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)

Basketball brings so many different walks of life together in one setting with a common love. No matter what goes on outside the game, basketball is something that wipes all your troubles away for those few hours.

Khadija Campbell

Manager, Grassroots Basketball & Events

National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)

× The interview with Khadija Campbell was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

Tell us about your role as Manager of Grassroots Basketball and Events for the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). What does a typical day look like for you?

At the moment, a typical day includes emails, video conference calls and creating one-sheets for programs or decks. My main responsibilities prior to COVID-19 consisted of being the point of contact for all third-party rentals for our space.

Our office is located in Bryant Park and is also the home for all 450 active NBA players (which we call NBPA members).

So, we have our office space, but in the building, we also have a basketball court, conference rooms, training room, hot/cold tub – for when the players come in town, it’s a one-stop-shop for them. They can train, eat (we have a kitchen), take business calls, etc. It’s their home.

When it is not being used by the members, we are able to rent the space for events and that’s where I come in. We’ve hosted events for NIKE, Chase and Kevin Hart, Jordan Brand, The Robinhood Foundation, commercial shoots, and more.

I work with clients to help them execute a successful event. Along with an amazing operations staff, we work as a team to make sure everything from start to finish is smooth.

At this time as you can imagine, our event business has been on hold, so my focus has been mainly grassroots basketball.

We are launching our first virtual summer basketball camp, so I’ve been working very closely with my Senior Director on the marketing, creative, run of the show, integrating partner, player appearance, etc.

We’ve had our hands full with the launch of our basketball training channel (NBPA Training Ground) on the Famer app. I assist with the branding and the look of the training content that we put on the app.

We’ve also been working on another app called Ballogy for our NBPA channel as well.

I am in constant contact with the Ballogy team in regard to booking NBPA members to be featured, working with them on designs and getting it approved. I am the liaison between the Ballogy team and our internal in regard to legal language, marketing, timeline for launch, etc.

One of the goals in your role is to engage youth, encouraging basketball and life skill experience. What strategies do you and your team use to ensure each individual is maximizing their development potential?

Great question! Hiring the right coaches to both represent the NBPA and to help coach and work with our youth. Our team’s role is to be behind the scenes, so we are really strategic when it comes to hiring the right coaches and trainers to be an extended version of us. We can’t physically work with every individual, so we trust the staff that we have out there with our participants on the court.

We take into consideration the coaches/trainer’s history, how they communicate with the kids, how they present themselves, etc.

How has your role and the NBPA’s grassroots basketball programming changed in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic? Tell us how you and the NBPA are finding ways to connect with stakeholders in new ways. What have you found successful?

Honestly, in the beginning, it was challenging because a lot of my/our teams’ responsibilities consist of being face-to-face with clients, hosting basketball clinics and camps, and events. We are always around people not take that away and the transition will be difficult.

Sitting in front of a screen all day isn’t ideal, now imagine trying to teach basketball.

Now, we are extremely excited about the launch of our NBPA Training Ground channel on the Famer app and that is the silver lining from COVID-19. Creating a unique “virtual” experience is one of the new ways that we’ve found success through the pandemic.

What is the most impactful situation that you have had in your role to really make a difference to others?

Being a former collegiate basketball player, I always say that basketball saved my life. Creating these experiences whether it’s a basketball clinic or camp, I have to say is the most impactful situation I’ve had in my role to really make a difference. I say that because basketball brings so many different walks of life together in one setting with a common love. No matter what goes on outside the game, basketball is something that wipes all your troubles away for those few hours.

Being able to provide this experience to these kids is so rewarding. Seeing them smile, or wiping their tears, helping them turn into the athlete that they want to be or just into a wholesome adult; that is very powerful and rewarding.

What are three essential skills someone needs to succeed in the sport industry?

  1. Tough skin – You will get one more no than yes, but don’t stop. Keep being hungry and go after for what you want.
  2. Be prepared – Don’t show up to any meeting, interview, anything not prepared. Know your stuff, do research, show up READY!
  3. Be respectful – Treat others how you would want to be treated. No matter what level you are, remember you were not always there. Treat all people with respect.

Hayley Michie Hayley's Final Thoughts

It’s always heartwarming to see those who once played a sport continue contributing to their adult life. For Khadija Campbell, that sport was basketball. Khadija lived and breathed basketball; she even credits it for saving her life! Ultimately, she decided to continue with basketball, but from a different perspective. From being a coach to working with the New York Knicks to now being the Manager of Grassroots Basketball & Events with the NBPA, Khadija Campbell is following her dreams. It’s truly inspiring to see Khadija provide basketball experiences to today’s youth. Through the lens of her experiences, she’s able to provide the opportunity of a lifetime for youth in her community. You can catch Khadija Campbell working hard on The NBPA Training Ground channel on the Famer App — check it out!

Connect With Khadija Campbell