Kelly Krauskopf, USA
Assistant general manager of Indiana Pacers
The NBA is one sporting arena which has been hailed for its progressive nature and within that, the Indiana Pacers are one of the most forward-thinking teams. That sentiment was fortified toward the back end of last year when they hired Kelly Krauskopf as their assistant general manager. This was a role fulfilled entirely on merit as well because Krauskopf had been effectively live interviewing for the position during the course of a 19-year stay within the organisation. She arrived at the Pacers after 17 years as general manager of their sister outfit the Indiana Fever, and during her tenure oversaw 13 play-off runs which included three WNBA Finals appearances and one championship back in 2012. The highly-respected Krauskopf then took charge of the Pacers’ NBA 2K League team before writing her name into history as the first woman to her current title in the role’s modern-day format.
– One story which best details Krauskopf’s rise is one regaled in a profile piece from the IndyStar.com. According to the tale, Krauskopf was told in college she wasn’t right for a sports television job because ‘women don’t know how to cover sports’.
– Krauskopf previously served as president and general manager of WNBA’s Indiana Fever for 17 years.
– One of her previous significant roles was with the USA Basketball’s women’s national team, helping out with the selection process on three gold-medal-winning Olympic teams.
Did you know…
Before taking her role with the Indiana Pacers, Krauskopf was at the forefront of the growing esports industry having led the Pacers Gaming company and their NBA 2K League team.
“I am just one of the guys. We are talking about the next team, the next player, what are we going to do and I really feel that. It’s not something where it’s false. I wouldn’t do it if it was.” – Kelly Krauskopf (Source: IndyStar.com)
Kim Pegula, USA
CEO and president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment
It’s not hyperbole to suggest Pegula is the most powerful woman in sport. As owner, alongside husband Terry, and president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, the 49-year-old is in rarefied air. Indeed, the holding company manages Buffalo’s NFL and NHL franchises, the Bills and Sabres, with other American sport properties under their umbrella. She became president of both teams last year after the resignation of Russ Brandon, becoming the first to do so in the history of both leagues. And her position within the American sports empire is very much on merit. As the driving force behind the ‘OneBuffalo’ campaign and accompanying mobile app for enhancing the fan experience for both the Bills and Sabres, the South Korean-born businesswoman has been at the forefront of a phenomenal transformation for not just the franchises, but the city as well. Her fingerprints are clear across both teams and having assumed her new role last year, Pegula is becoming an increasingly important and vocal voice in American sport.
– In May of last year, Pegula made history by becoming the first female president in both the NFL and the NHL.
– Pegula’s influence within the NFL continues to grow and last year she expanded her roles after being named to the board of the NFL Foundation in conjunction with serving on the Super Bowl and Special Events committee.
– Women’s issues in the NFL is at the forefront of Pegula’s impact as she has appeared on NFL Network and in press releases regarding the subject.
Did you know…
Pegula’s story is a remarkable one. As a toddler she was found on a street corner in Seoul in front of a police station and was later adopted by a Canadian-born family who moved to New York.
“This isn’t a hobby. We put a lot of time, effort and resources into this. It’s our passion. I’m competitive. And winning is not easy. I wish it was. But figuring out how to do that, that’s our sole focus.” – Kim Pegula (Source: NFL.com)
Michele Roberts, USA
Executive director of the NBA Players Association
When Michele Roberts was first elected director of the NBA Players Association in 2014, she became not only the first woman to hold that particular role, but the first to head any players union in any of the four major American sports. That role saw her preside over the negotiations for the most recently agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players’ association and the NBA itself, with Roberts helping avoid a repeat of the 2011 lockout after the two sides had failed to agree a new deal before the start of that season. The latest agreement, finalised in 2016, was the pinnacle of Roberts’ achievements in her role, but she’s far from done. She was re-elected director in 2018, and there are still fights to be won – most significantly, a renegotiation over the infamous “one and done” rule that prevents players from entering the NBA straight out of high school. But for a seasoned lawyer once dubbed the “finest trial lawyer in Washington DC”, fights like these are second nature.
– In 2014, Roberts was named to ESPNW’s inaugural Impact 25 list.
– Roberts brought 25 years of legal experience to her role as NBPA Director.
– Roberts was chosen by NBA players from a pool of 300 candidates.
Did you know…
Outside of her role with the NBPA, Roberts is also a professor at Harvard Law School.
“My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think that I was someone they could sleep on.” – Michele Roberts