Hoop Story #043: Khadija Campbell, Integrated Marketing Manager at National Basketball Players Association (THINK450/NBPA)

Hoop Story #043: Khadija Campbell, Integrated Marketing Manager at National Basketball Players Association (THINK450/NBPA)

How did you fall in love with the game?

I tried out in middle school as a way to make friends in this new city I moved to (Middletown) and instantly, it was love at first bounce! 

Fast forward to high school, where I played on varsity as a freshman at Middletown High School and received a scholarship to play college ball at Genesee CC before following my coach to SUNY Geneseo. 

I ruptured my achilles my junior year which was both mentaly and emotionally challenging. It forced me to pivot away from my dream of playing professionally and toward finding a way to use basketball - my passion - to benefit me not just on court, but off the court as well.  

What adversity have you faced and what has it taught you?

The biggest adversity I have faced has been trying to find my identity as a black woman outside of wearing a jersey.

It was important for me to truly understand myself, what my values were, where I wanted to be, how I was going to show up in this “new world” as a non-athlete. And all without losing myself, being something I was not or what someone else thought I should be.

Without knowing much about the business of basketball, I did not know what I wanted to do after I graduated, but I knew that I wanted it to be around something I loved. I wanted my passion for basketball to be the driving force behind my career and be able to inspire young girls that look like me to think beyond their wildest dream to accomplish whatever it is their heart desires.

Walk us through your journey from selling G league tickets with Westchester Knicks to working for the THINK450/National Basketball Players Association.

Before working with the Westchester Knicks, I wanted to continue my collegiate coaching career. I was blessed to have the opportunity to assist a new coach to build her Division III program, but I wanted to work with a professional basketball team. Around that time, Madison Square Garden announced they were purchasing a new G League team in Westchester. I applied for and received a position in ticket sales. From there, I made sure I was present not just to sell tickets, but when there was an opportunity to help in other departments I was first in line. 

I was able to gain first hand experience building a franchise from the ground up. Working with players, building out a community relations department, creating ticket programs, helping with both NY Knicks and Liberty with player events. There was nothing I didn’t or wouldn’t do to help get our organization to the next level. 

I am genuinely a team player. As a former athlete, I have it in my blood to be coachable and those skills transferred easily to my work environment. 

During my last season with MSG, while I was the Manager of Youth Engagement and Fan Development for the New York Knicks, I received a phone call stating that THINK450 - the innovation and partnership engine of the National Basketball Players Association - was looking for a Manager of Grassroots Basketball and Events. My experience with youth basketball, event management, building departments from the ground up and working alongside players made me a perfect fit for the position.

After a few months I transitioned to my current role as the Manager of Integrated Marketing in our Brand Partnerships Department. I execute brand partnership programs for players and clients like Mountain Dew, Kia, Champion and more. This work can include social media, custom content campaigns, experiential activations, and both in-person and virtual events. We see the players as 23:12 - 23:12 being the personal time that goes beyond the game’s 48 minutes so when working with clients we focus on the players passions and interests off the court than on the court. 

What do you love most about working with Dyckman Basketball? What would be your advice to someone attending the park for their first time?

Dyckman Basketball was my first experience working so hands-on with both the community and corporate America. I love that you can be your authentic self without judgement. No matter who you are and where you’re from, the Dyckman Basketball family embraces you and makes you feel welcomed. Over the years my role has changed due to my current climb of the corporate ladder and being involved in other personal passions, but my Dyckman Family is always there to support me and keep me in the loop with all things “Dyckman.”

My advice for someone attending the park for the first time is to respect the community sections in the bleachers. Also, make sure your phone is charged because you never know who is going to show up at Dyckman! 

One piece of advice for the next generation of women (or female hoopers)?

Do not settle based on fears of other people. People are going to project their shortcomings onto you and will try to talk you out of pursuing your destiny, which is not their job to create in the first place. Do you!

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