News: NBA VP: Woman of character, courage, commitment
Story by Sgt. Barry St. Clair
FORT BRAGG, N. C. – One would hardly expect a National Basketball Association Vice President to deliver the keynote address to the Team Bragg Women’s History Month observance hosted by 16th Military Police Brigade equal opportunity office at All American Chapel March 28, here. The five-foot two-inch woman shares her journey into corporate America and a sport roundly thought of as being a man’s sport.
The women’s history observance also featured Mayne Attraction, a female choir from Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, N. C. and Women of Dance from E. E. Smith High School, Fayetteville, N. C. dance department.
The Chapel was full when Chin shared her experience with Soldiers here about her career in a field traditionally thought of as a male-dominated organization and sport. Chin, who resides in New York and Atlanta, has become known during her 17-year career with the NBA as the “Hat Lady” for handing new draftees their team hat when they are sign with the league.
“Happy women’s history month to all; it really is to all, because it is part of American history, just as Black history, Latino history, Native American history, and all the many groups that would contribute to the fabric of our society,” said Chin by way of introduction.
Chin gave a short speech about the valuable contribution women have made to American life and society before she shared her more personal journey in a male-dominated field.
“I am honored to share my journey with the NBA, which began 23 years ago. Let me begin by way of a background framework of my position… as a life coach for player development, as this will help to better understand my journey,” said Chin.
Chin leads a team charged with helping players transition into the league, their maintenance while they’re there, and transition into society upon retirement. Chin is excited and passionate about the total potential each player represents individually, and as a potential for profitability for the NBA. She has been the first woman to hold the position or work with a formerly all-male staff from the Players Association to Woman’s NBA, and finally as Vice President of Player Development for the NBA.
“I approached my job with many of the principles you’all approach your jobs with,” Chin told the Soldiers and civilians… “Integrity, honesty, professionalism, and compassion.”
Chin then opened the floor for questions about the NBA, her career, or other topics. When asked what was her favorite team, Chin responded, “…all thirty-two, since front office personnel are prohibited from having a favorite.
Chin met two gender-related topics from the audience which resonate with Soldiers head on. One inquiry was related to sexual harassment or assault either in the office or with the players given her comparative size, and the other stemming from typical alpha male conversation.
“I cannot control what anyone else talks about around me,” Chin responded assertively, “but you had darned sure better not address it [sexually suggestive conversation of an inappropriate nature] to me, or we will have problems.”
Chin went on to address Team Bragg leaders on the challenges she sees in her position; challenges Soldiers face everyday. DUI, drug use, health concerns – specifically sexually transmitted diseases, and nutrition each touch individual and team performance and career tracks.
A high turn-over rate is another issue Chin addressed.
“The average length of an NBA player’s career on the court is little more than four and a half years,” said Chin. “We attempt to groom the players for transition out of the league from the time they sign so they are set up for success.”
The Army faces a similar reality with only about 15 percent of personnel reaching a retirement milestone.