NBA G League Announces 2022-23 Team Business Awards
Official Release /May 4, 2023
NEW YORK, May 4, 2023 – The NBA G League announced today that the Wisconsin Herd was selected as the Franchise of the Year and Iowa Wolves President Ryan Grant received Team Executive of the Year for the 2022-23 NBA G League season. In addition, the Wolves were named the recipients of the 2022-23 President’s Choice Award. NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim presented the awards at the league’s annual Sales & Marketing Meetings.
A selection committee comprised of league executives determined the winner of the Franchise of the Year award, evaluating all 30 teams on the league’s core pillars: Compete with Intensity, Lead with Integrity and Inspire Play. The Team Executive of the Year was selected by a vote of the league’s team presidents.
The Wolves became the second NBA G League team to earn the President’s Choice Award, which is chosen by Abdur-Rahim. Established prior to the 2021-22 NBA G League season, the honor recognizes the team that embodies and demonstrates excellence in business performance across key areas of focus.
This year marks the first time the Herd has been named Franchise of the Year and the first time a Wolves executive has been named Team Executive of the Year since the award’s creation in 2010.
In addition, the Mexico City Capitanes were selected as the NBA G League Retailer of the Year and earned the Digital Engagement Award.
NBA G League Franchise of the Year: Wisconsin Herd
The Wisconsin Herd, the affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, was named the sixth recipient of Franchise of the Year after the award was created in 2018.
The Herd experienced significant growth and development last season, as the team saw a 17 percent rise in its social media following across all platforms and a 17 percent surge in sponsorship sales for the 2022-23 season.
The Herd drew large crowds at Oshkosh Arena where they played before 87 percent of capacity for their 24 home games, selling out 11 of those contests, more than doubling the number of sellouts from 2021-22. Wisconsin also set their single-game team attendance record on its fifth annual School Day, welcoming a franchise-best 4,138 fans to watch the Herd face the Westchester Knicks on Wednesday, Jan. 18. In addition, 48 of the team’s games aired on either WGBA-TV (NBC 26) and WACY (tv32), its local broadcast partners, while their two other games were televised nationally on NBA TV.
Previous recipients of the Franchise of the Year Award include the Santa Cruz Warriors (2022, 2021 and 2018), Raptors 905 (2020) and the Texas Legends (2019).
NBA G League Team Executive of The Year: Ryan Grant, President, Iowa Wolves
Selected by his peers, Iowa Wolves President Ryan Grant was presented with the Team Executive of the Year award. Grant has served as the Team President for Iowa since 2017, the year the team was purchased by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also played a large role in the franchise winning this year’s President’s Choice Award.
Under Grant’s leadership this season, the Wolves set a franchise-record for total attendance in a single season, drawing 99,542 fans to the Wells Fargo Arena during 2022-23 G League play eclipsing their previous high mark from the 2017-18 (84,729) season by nearly 15,000 fans.
Grant was also recognized for his efforts related to several significant partnerships for Iowa this past season, notably the team joining forces with the Kinship Brewing Company for the Wolves’ annual cancer awareness game, with proceeds from ticket packages benefitting Can Do Cancer and several other local cancer awareness groups. They also partnered with IMT Insurance as the presenting sponsor of Iowa’s Education Day Game on Tuesday, Feb. 7, which saw IMT covering the costs of tickets so schools and their students could attend the game.
Grant and his team, with help from Landus and the fair staff created the first-ever Iowa State Fair Day that celebrated the iconic state fair held every August. The day brought a taste of the Iowa State Fair to the middle of winter for fans with many fun activities and specials pregame, in game and postgame inside Wells Fargo Arena.
Previous recipients of the Executive of the Year Award includeSteve Brandes (Wisconsin Herd, 2022 and 2018), Matt Bresee (Erie BayHawks, 2021), Dajuan Eubanks (Maine Red Claws, 2020),Malcolm Farmer (Texas Legends, 2019), Chris Murphy (Santa Cruz Warriors, 2017), Mike Levy (Canton Charge, 2016), Tim Salier (Austin Spurs, 2015), Jeff Potter (Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 2014), Bill Boyce (Texas Legends, 2013), David Higdon (Bakersfield Jam, 2012), Bert Garcia (Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 2011) and Jon Jennings (Maine Red Claws, 2010).
NBA G League President’s Choice Award: Iowa Wolves
Iowa had a record-breaking 2022-23 season, setting a new franchise mark for total attendance. In collaboration with their corporate partners, the Wolves hosted numerous popular events throughout the season, including its Iowa State Fair Day presented by Landus and Education Day presented by IMT while partner Athene sponsored their Read to Achieve program that helped thousands of children attend games as a reward for hitting their reading goals.
This year, the Wolves hosted their inaugural Disability Empowerment Night on Friday, Dec. 9, as part of their six-game Community Celebration Series. Along with Principal Financial Group, the evening was an opportunity to celebrate those overcoming a wide spectrum of disabilities and featured activities throughout the evening amplifying the efforts of many in the central Iowa community.
Iowa played a significant role in the inaugural 2023 NBA G League Next Up Game that took place at 2023 NBA All-Star. The team’s social media efforts helped lead to Wolves Two-Way center Luka Garza garnering the most fan votes and being named a team captain for the event.
Iowa is the second recipient of the President’s Choice Award as the Wisconsin Herd were selected as the inaugural winner in 2022.
NBA G League Social Responsibility Award: Cleveland Charge’s Barbershop Banter
The Cleveland Charge, the NBA G League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers, were named the winner of the Social Responsibility Award, for their “Barbershop Banter” activation. The Charge recreated a barbershop environment, which offered local youth a space to build social and emotional confidence and leadership, as well as the opportunity to develop positive mentor skills while receiving free haircuts from local barbers. Cleveland partnered with Boys Hope Girls Hope and provided a unique opportunity for these students to interact with several Charge players.
NBA G League Promotion of the Year: Wisconsin Herd’s “Be the Light”
The Herd were also recognized with the Promotion of the Year Award for their “Be the Light” program on Tuesday, Feb, 7. As part of three unique events created to celebrate Black History Month, “Be the Light” saw the team partner with artist Patrick “Patcasso” Hunter, who painted 12 portraits of influential Black leaders that were sublimated onto the jerseys worn by the Herd. Wisconsin auctioned those jerseys and raised funds for the DARE2DREAM youth foundation. The team also facilitated a shoe-design workshop in collaboration with STEAM Revolt at a local middle school and worked with the local college to host an art reception to introduce the 12 portraits that were on display at the college for the month of February. Former NBA player and current TNT analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith, received a custom Herd jersey and shared it on “NBA on TNT,” live from their studio.
About the NBA G League
The NBA’s official minor league, the NBA G League prepares players, coaches, officials, training and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 31 teams, 29 with direct affiliations to NBA franchises for 2023-24, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. 55 percent of all players on end-of-season 2022-23 NBA rosters boasted NBA G League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA Cares programs.