The Mavericks appear to be taking an unconventional route to hire their next GM.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the team “move forward” on a deal to bring Nico Harrison to Dallas as the next president of basketball operations. Wojnarowski also reports that Jason Kidd is set to become the new coach of the Mavs.
While Kidd is familiar to Mavericks fans, Harrison is not. In fact, the Nike executive has zero NBA experience, so it looks like owner Mark Cuban is taking a leap of faith by hiring him.
So who is Nico Harrison? Here’s what you need to know about him as he prepares to go from being one of Nike’s best to being big boss at the Dallas front office.
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Who is Nico Harrison?
Harrison told MSU News’ Carol Schmidt in 2016 that he was hired by Nike as an NBA representative on April 2, 2002.
He started his career with the company as a marketing representative for the Southwestern United States, working to promote stars like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but during his second year with the company , he became Kobe Bryant’s marketing liaison.
Harrison developed a strong relationship and friendship with Bryant, and his work to reorganize the image of Bryant has helped him rise through the ranks at Nike. He cultivated relationships with NBA players during his tenure as Marketing Director.
In recent years, Harrison has put himself on the NBA map with his relationships with players. According to ESPN’s Tim McMahon, Harrison has a close relationship with Mavericks star Luka Doncic and has been sued by other teams for front office roles.
Sources: Mavs has had discussions with longtime Nike executive Nico Harrison to join the Dallas front office. Harrison has strong relationships with NBA players – including Luka Doncic – and has been sought for front office positions by other teams.
– Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 25, 2021
Harrison had stayed with Nike despite this interest, but now it looks like he’s ready to jump into the league.
Lakers forward Jared Dudley said it would be “a big game” if the Mavericks could land Harrison.
Harrison is a quirky option, but if Doncic and other players in the league are as confident in Harrison as Dudley appears to be, then the move could be fine. Either way, Cuban seems ready to give the Harrison-Kidd couple a try.
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Did Nico Harrison play professional basketball?
Harrison played basketball professionally. He never reached the NBA, but played in Europe for seven years after his college career ended.
In college, he played a season in the military before being transferred to the state of Montana. He averaged 11.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game during his four-year college career (1993-96).
Harrison helped lead Montana State to an NCAA tournament appearance in 1996, with the Bobcats winning the Big Sky Tournament. They were eliminated by Syracuse and have not participated in the tournament since.
“He was widely known as the best defensive player in the league,” Bill Lamberty, MSU’s deputy sporting director for media, said of Harrison.
Harrison was inducted into the Bobcat Hall of Fame in 2016.