Bob Myers’ future as the Golden State Warriors’ top front-office executive has been a hot fan and media topic, with The Athletic reporting Wednesday that money could determine if he’s still running the Bay Area NBA franchise or doing something else after his contract expires next summer.
In an unrelated conversation on Monday about the debut of his new podcasts that features sit-down conversations about leadership with powerful sports, business, political and entertainment figures, Myers talked briefly about his state of mind and thinking about his future.
“I do really like what I do now. I do love our group,” Myers said. “I don’t think it’s anything imminent as far as stepping outside of this job. It’s healthy to ask where you’re at, what you’re doing.”
While the podcast can be viewed as a toe-dip into a potential post-NBA media career, chatting with celebrity guests hasn’t suddenly fueled any desire to quit the Warriors and instead talk hoops on TV next to Shaq — or run another team.
“I’m not having any epiphany to do this or that,” Myers said. “I more look at it as more checking in with myself.”
While he enjoys and is fulfilled by running the Warriors, he said he maintains a range of interests and has his whole life.
“A lot of things are interesting. I thought I’d be a teacher when I was growing up,” Myers said, adding that he’s taught and spoken at Berkeley and Stanford.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob isn’t concerned about the podcast eating up his top basketball executive’s time, Myers said, even if some fans may view it as a distraction. Myers’ accomplishments speak for themselves.
“I don’t think (Lacob) questions my work ethics. (The podcast) is not taking away from my current job,” he said. “It’s not some laborious, hundred-hour task.”
Myers thinks doing something besides front-office work 24/7/365 is a mental health necessity while also making him a better general manager. He said he enjoys making new connections, rekindling old ones, and learning from accomplished leaders. Not all GM work is ginning up complex trades and managing the player payroll, after all.
“It’s probably healthy. I know fans never want us to look up from our jobs. It’s a very insular world, the NBA. And inside that, the insular world of your own team. I think (doing additional things) helps you make better decisions,” Myers said.
Myers’ didn’t set out to run an NBA team, but his career path led him in that direction.
The 6-foot-7 former UCLA basketball player — the Bruins won the 1994-95 national championship during his time there — later got a law degree from Loyola Marymount and went to work for then-sports agent Arn Tellem, doing contract negotiations and related work.
Tellem, now a minority owner and vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons, spoke glowingly of his former protégé and said Myers’ ability to see things from perspectives other than his own was a great skill as an agent and as a GM.
“He did it then well and does it now well and that’s been critical to his success,” Tellem said. “Besides being incredibly smart, his greatest skills were always his ability to connect with people, understand people. His emotional intelligence about him is really exceptional.”
Myers’ time as an agent included working at Tellem and Associates (later part of SFX Sports after being bought) and Wasserman Media Group. He said he was six or seven years into being an agent when he began to wonder if he wanted to do something else but he ended up doing it for 14 years.
Myers leveraged that experience into a role as the Warriors’ assistant general manager in 2011 and was named full GM a year later. What followed was a storybook tenure that oversaw the construction of a roster and front office that would go on to win four NBA championships.
The off-court business and personnel maneuvers he orchestrated earned him the additional title of president of basketball operations (in 2016) and NBA Executive of the Year honors twice (2015, 2017).
During his tenure as an agent and as a general manager, he’s created a vast list of contacts, friends, and acquaintances across a variety of industries — which helps populate the podcast with interesting guests. And, in theory, help him if he wants to eventually do something else.
Tellem said he told Myers not to limit himself to basketball.
“I think he’s in a great spot there. I’m sure he can stay there if he wants,” Tellem said. “He’s going to have a lot of opportunities in the NBA or elsewhere to do interesting and challenging things in his life.”
Whatever shakes out, the podcast is a low-risk endeavor that keeps his Rolodex spinning. It’s produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, which some help from the Warriors, and is available via ESPN’s podcasts library. The audio is available on all the usual platforms and the video version is on ESPN’s YouTube channel.
The “Lead By Example” podcast debuted Jan. 17 with, unsurprisingly, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry. The pods, which run about an hour, drop on Tuesdays, and this week was a discussion with former WNBA star Maya Moore Irons.
Upcoming episodes include California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Disney CEO Bob Iger, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon, retired Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Warriors coach Steve Kerr, and NBA Hall of Famer and TV analyst Charles Barkley.
Myers and Omaha collaborated on picking the guests.
“All these great stories, they’re all different,” Myers said. “There are a lot of different ways to lead, and it’s personal in how you do it. … It’s these pivotal moments of when people made these life choices that drove them in this direction. The takeaways are how people are more vulnerable than you think. They don’t have it all figured out.”
Other than doing a little bit of radio in college, Myers doesn’t have formal training in broadcast media.
“I don’t know if I am good at it or not,” he said. “Hopefully, people like it.”
So why start a podcast?
“Just curiosity. Learning. I love learning about different kinds of leadership,” Myers said.
That curiosity dovetails with the circles in which he moves as a powerful NBA executive, including inside Golden State’s arena, where some of the podcasts have been recorded.
“Being around Draymond and Steph, they’re different kinds of leaders. I like finding parallels. I’m fascinated by it, and I think it’s the scarcest occupation on Earth,” he said.
While social and traditional media are littered with notable people saying something that shouldn’t, or hot-taking, that’s not a concern, Myers said, because his strategy and preference is to ask questions and then listen. He’s also not on Twitter or Instagram.
“I don’t have any type of agenda. They tell their story,” Myers said. “I let the conversation go where it goes. I’m not superscripted.”
He also said he opted for a podcast rather than writing a book despite receiving several inquiries.
“I didn’t want to go down that road. Not ready to do anything like that,” Myers said.
The money he was to be paid for hosting the podcast is being entirely donated to the Warriors Community Foundation, on whose board Myers sits.
“I like doing (the pod), and it’s also for a good reason,” he said.
While his former mentor, Tellem, is on his list for any future podcasts — it’s not clear if another round will follow — he does have a few dream guests.
“Arn would be great. Without Arn, I’m not where I am,” Myers said. “(Former President Barack) Obama would be awesome.” Others include Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, tennis icon Serena Williams, Jerry West of Lakers fame, and Joe Montana.
Myers isn’t a podcast devotee himself.
“I don’t have a regular one. I think some of them are great,” Myers said. “I don’t have time, unfortunately, to listen to too many of them.”
While there are a lot of questions now about his future, doing more podcasts could happen later this year.
“If it makes sense to do it again, maybe I’ll do it again in the fall,” Myers said. “We have to see how it goes,” he said.
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(Photo: Kyle Terada/USA Today)