Every year the NBA Summer League brings together individuals from all over the world. Rather than building friendships, we’ve been able to form a family.
We are proud to spotlight our alumni who have been able to gain working opportunities in sports, and this week we have a feature on 2-year Summer League alum Caden Kinard.
Caden has served a couple different roles with Summer League and was able to make his way on the Los Angeles Clippers staff as a Basketball Communications Assistant!
Q: What are you up to these days?
It’s the middle of my first season working as the Communications Assistant for the L.A. Clippers.
Q: Tell us about your experience interning for the NBA Summer League. What were your responsibilities and job functions?
Interning for the NBA Summer League served as an introduction to, in my opinion, the greatest sports league in the world. The camaraderie shared in the environment is something that is nearly impossible to live up to anywhere else. I’ve interned two summer leagues, but my responsibilities from one to the other were drastically different. My first summer league in 2016 I worked primarily with NBA TV and their social department, pitching, filming and editing segments mainly for online platforms with the occasional television hit. My second season I served as a videographer filming game highlights and interview segments with seemingly every rookie.
Q: What were some of your highlights from working the NBA Summer League?
Two things stick out when looking back over the two summers. One, the relationships are real. It isn’t a two weeks and done, that’s it, see you later. No, I still speak to numerous people that I met from my time in Las Vegas. The other interns working alongside you share a common drive for success, a central characteristic that permeates true friendship. Two, I’m a basketball junkie, and the Summer League provides a really unique game experience compared to normal NBA games. You can watch something like 10 games a day, if you want. Coaches speak to players feet in front of you, which you can hear, an insight usually reserved for the elite season ticket holders. It’s the first look at rookies in a professional setting after months of deliberation about who’s best. It’s just one of the best basketball experiences you can have.
Q: What is one valuable aspect you learned from Summer League that you apply to your current job?
Working Summer League is a 14 day sprint, and the best skill I learned is how to work efficiently. There’s so much noise and action around, and it could be distracting and overwhelming, but it’s also an opportunity to work under-pressure and refine skills.
Q: You currently work for the LA Clippers as a Basketball Communications Assistant. What does your job entitle?
I work in PR, meaning I help out with media relations and the digital department with producing content. On gamedays, I’m apart of the credentialing process and then I write a game recap for our website. On non-gamedays, it changes a lot. I do lot of statistical research and writing.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
The freshness. Narratives shift constantly around basketball, and its part of my job to shift with those stories.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still in the NBA, just in a better job. I guess the cliche that fits would be “climbing the corporate ladder.”
Q: Was your goal to always make it into just the sports industry or specifically to do video production for sports?
My goal growing up was specifically to work in the NBA. One of the things I’m most fortunate with in my life is the amount of clarity I’ve had, I knew I wanted to be involved in storytelling and basketball, and every decision since I was young focused on that goal.
Q: What advice would you give a young person with the ambition to have a future career in sports?
Become a consumer, first. Everybody in sports is producing something, and the only way to learn what skills are valuable and how you can contribute is to digest others’ work.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite hobby outside work?
I’m a big reader.
Role models / People you admire?
Bill Simmons. Creativity is my favorite trait in people, and during my formative teenage years, Simmons was the most innovative in the sports world with 30-for-30, Grantland, his podcast and his column. He taught me the value in unique ideas.
Any hidden talents?
I have an uncanny ability to make breakfast burritos disappear.
Favorite sports movie?
Is Talladega Nights considered a sports movie? If so, that one. Other than that, I’m not the biggest fan of sports movies, which is odd.
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell
Interesting place you’ve gotten to travel to for work?
The most interesting place I’ve traveled to is Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, the home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks. Tucked away in the midwest is the loudest basketball stadium in the world, I’m certain. 30-minutes before tipoff, the jumbotron plays a video that overviews the history of KU basketball, and the fans watch it with rigor. The video replays the Mario Chalmers 2008 championship winning shot, and the arena erupts like its happening live. During the game, the energy and noise is thought-killing. Best sporting arena I’ve ever been to.
Most memorable or favorite sporting event you’ve been to, whether through work or for fun?
For fun, I attended the 2005 Texas vs. USC championship. Nothing will ever beat that game.