The 2017-18 season was a big one for Damien Wilkins. After a four-year hiatus from the NBA that included two seasons in the NBA G League, he made the Indiana Pacers’ roster out of training camp and appeared in 19 games.
But the big season has also continued off the court. Wilkins is one of several NBA G League alumni participating in Harvard Business School: Crossover Into Business, a semester-long program at the esteemed school, facilitated for NBA, NBA G League and WNBA players by the league’s Player Development department. The program runs from early February to late April and develops players’ business acumen by connecting them with MBA student mentors.
Wilkins spoke with NBAGLeague.com about the experience.
What has this experience been like for you?
It’s a great program. They are the best in the business. They understand that athletes and students alike have what it takes to succeed in business. The athlete’s career isn’t always long, so there has to be a career after. They teach the principles of business, how they work, and how they fail.
What are you focusing on for your post-basketball career?
The ball doesn’t bounce forever, unless you’ve built an empire like LeBron James, but there’s only one of him. There’s going to be things that you want to get into after playing. If you can learn leadership and take a course like this to help you learn how to manage business, it’s great. For me, I want to be in a front office one day, and eventually be a GM or run a team.
What from the program have you been focusing on learning about that could translate to becoming a GM someday?
It’s always good to look at things on the other side of the coin. For me, I want to learn about the business of basketball and how I can take what I learn from the course into the business. What better way to do it than to go through one of the top education systems in the country? This course is actually a tremendous aid and I’m fortunate to have been chosen, and fortunate to be a part of it. The more you know, the better. I just want to be one of those people who learn as much as I can.
How has the NBA been helpful in providing opportunities like this to players in your career?
The NBA is the best at it. They do a great job of adding tools to help guys further their careers. So many seminars, internships, programs that you can be a part of that can help you get involved in pretty much any business you want to be involved in. It’s been great for me in my career, I’ve met so many great people, and now it’s time to take advantage of those great relationships.