NBA G League Showcase 2018 brought together people around the league on a stage, including former WNBA players who are learning about life after basketball.
Nine-year WNBA veteran Lindsey Harding is part of the NBA’s Basketball Operations Associate Program, which helps former players transition from life on the court into potential front office positions with teams and leagues following their playing days. Fellow former WNBA player Allison Feaster completed last year’s program before moving into a full-time role with the NBA G League.
The program allows former players — joining Harding and Feaster at the Showcase were former WNBA player Michele Van Gorp and former NBA players Cherokee Parks and Acie Law — to learn about the behind-the-scenes work at the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League. The Showcase, the NBA G League’s marquee annual event, provided a prime opportunity for the group to gain experience and network, with personnel from all 26 NBA G League teams and 30 NBA teams in attendance.
“I was always looking towards the future while playing, and I wanted to stay into sports,” said Harding, who is on a rotation of learning about the operations of all three leagues. “There’s so much you can do in sports. I thought about coaching and I thought about officiating, but to be a part of a team like this in the front office is awesome.”
Feaster, who completed the program last year , said that it’s opened doors that had never previously been an option for her.
“When you’re playing, folks are willing to help you out in any way they can, which is not always the case when you’re not playing,” said Feaster, who currently serves in a Player Personnel and Coach Relations role with the NBA G League. “Events like these and programs like these are great ways to understand the direction you want to go and how to navigate your career moving forward.”
Being in the league office, these former players get to interact with those in key positions at the Association. But Harding explained that she didn’t realize how much went into the day-to-day operations of all three leagues behind the scenes.
She explained one of her first moments in the office, when she was being told about the scheduling process and how the league takes into account back-to-back games, travel and much more; as a player, she didn’t know the league took into consideration as much as they do.
“We’ve learned a lot about the CBA, referee operations, scheduling and really everything that goes into that at the league level,” said Harding. “Throughout my 10 years as a player I only went to the league office once, so I have a much different perspective now.”
While growing in her current role, Feaster has been able to gain experience in various aspects of the league and sit in during scouting sessions and managerial decisions. She’s enjoyed being able to learn from some of the top executives around the league.
“I have been able to have conversations and learn from the all-time greats and a lot of management in the NBA, and they have welcomed me in and showed me the ropes,” said Feaster. “They understand the unique background we have as players, and are very willing to help.”