BUBAA Proud Spotlight
Brooklyn, NY. – When you don’t see an opportunity, you create one for yourself! That is a very important lesson that sports teaches us, and a lesson 1991 alumnus and sports business professional Marcus Minifee shares with others.
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Marcus described himself as an active kid. He recalls his first organized sport came around fourth grade when he joined the Jackie Robinson West Little League Baseball Organization. From there, he played little league baseball until high school.
Although he learned many lessons playing baseball, Marcus believes that his time playing basketball at De La Salle Institute on Chicago's South Side truly shaped him as a student-athlete. As a De La Salle Meteor, he was a part of two Chicago Catholic League Championships during his sophomore and senior year, which he says instilled discipline and toughness he never knew he had.
“I started playing basketball around sixth or seventh grade, and I fell in love with the sport and the NBA immediately. My idol growing up was Dr. J, and I tried to emulate him on the court as much as I could,” Minifee said.
After he started his college athletic career playing Division III basketball, Marcus longed for something more. So, he started looking for opportunities to attend a larger school and be part of a more diverse student body – ultimately leading him to the Hilltop.
At Bradley, he immersed himself in campus life and culture. He was a member of the Psychology Club and a Spring 1991 initiate of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. And of course, playing on the basketball team.
He notes the success of the basketball program under Coach Stan Albeck and Hersey Hawkins drew him to Bradley. “Bradley was the perfect school for me. I found Bradley to be the right mix of challenging academics, athletics, and a gratifying social life,” Minifee said.
Following a successful career as a student-athlete, Marcus started to focus on life – and a career – after basketball.
After he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Bradley in 1991, Marcus pursued his Master’s in Sport Management and Sport Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He says this decision set him on the course to follow his dreams and pursue a career in sports marketing.
Shortly thereafter, he landed his first job working for his hometown Chicago Bulls and being part of three NBA Championships (1996-98), which he is incredibly proud of.
He goes on to say, “Although I never had the opportunity or skill set to play in the NBA, I have held several marketing roles with Kraft Foods, Pepsi-Cola North America, Adidas America, Samsung, the Brooklyn Nets, and UM Worldwide that have led me to the NBA in other ways. Ultimately, this is where I have wanted to be since I was a kid growing up on the South Side of Chicago.”
Looking back, Marcus believes playing sports has helped him in his career and professional life. As a student-athlete, he says he was able to develop discipline, teamwork, mental toughness, time management, and problem-solving skills. He also notes athletics taught him how to compete in life, exhibit patience and to live his life with humility and sportsmanship.
“I learned not only how to be a leader but also how to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Minifee said.
Today, Marcus serves as the Vice President of Global Partner Marketing at the NBA. His role is to be a strategic leader who negotiates, plans and executes co-marketing campaigns with global corporate partners to achieve key reach, engagement, and fan growth goals for the NBA.
Mixing his passion for sports and business took a lot of hard-work and dedication. But as Marcus has always done, he saw an opportunity and took the shot.
When asked what he’d say to young professionals pursuing their dreams, he encouraged them to look for opportunities to learn and meet people that can help them grow their career and network.
He offers these additional words of wisdom:
“Continue to follow your dreams and passions, then align yourself with positive people that can help you realize them.”
Thank you Marcus for inspiring us to follow our dreams! Continue to make #BUBAAProud.