Shenandoah University students in the Sport Law class taught by Assistant Athletic Director DeShon Foxx, M.S., were recently treated to a surprise virtual visit from one of the top leaders in American sports.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who has served in that post since 2014, virtually joined Foxx’s class on Wednesday, April 13, to offer insight into his journey from being a law school student to eventually becoming the head of the world’s premier professional basketball league.
Silver’s surprise appearance – students weren’t made aware that he was joining until the start of class – was facilitated by Shenandoah University Interim Vice President for Administration and General Counsel Phil Evans, who previously worked for the NBA Development League from 2001 to 2007, first as director of legal affairs and later as league president. Evans said that toward the end of his stint with the NBA, he reported to Silver, who was the deputy commissioner under then-Commissioner David Stern at the time.
Silver, who gave some of his time to Shenandoah the morning after the NBA’s first round of postseason play-in games began, spoke to the class of 25 students for about 25 minutes.
Having Adam Silver speak to our Sport Law class was an amazing experience for our students. In that class we have a lot of students who wish to seek a career in sports, and hearing from Mr. Silver and his insight really provided our students with a sense of the hard work, discipline, and commitment that it takes to achieve your goals. It also provided insight into the many different career avenues one can pursue in sports, from the business side to the legal side and everything in between. I want to thank Phil Evans for making this conversation possible, and a huge thank you to Adam Silver for taking the time to speak to our class. It is amazing what this university has to offer!”
DeShon Foxx, Shenandoah assistant athletic director for student success, inclusion and equity
Speaking in front of a backdrop of New York City, Silver touched on his decision to attend law school and walked students through his path from there to the NBA, where he served in various capacities before taking the reins from Stern eight years ago.
Evans and Foxx also asked Silver to explain how his experience in law school and the characteristics he developed during his time as a student prepared him for his role as NBA commissioner; for tips and advice for people considering law school; and about the most difficult legal issue the NBA has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Having NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as a guest speaker in class was truly amazing and is just another experience from SU that I’ll hold with me forever,” said student Matt McIntosh ’23. “He was able to share valuable information that you can’t get from other guest speakers. After learning about his path to his current position, I learned that no matter what position you currently hold, we all start somewhere very similar.”