Orlando native Kevin Car reflects on his career as an executive with the NBA
By Ashley Cisneros
As a little boy in Orlando, Kevin Carr used to run outside when it was time for the space shuttle to take off into the heavens. “I thought, ‘Those people dream big and their talents are taking them out of this world,’ ” he says. “Why can’t I?” That little boy grew up to be the Vice President of Community and Player Programs for the National Basketball Association (NBA.)
How did he go from the humble beginnings to a plush office overlooking Madison Avenue in New York City?
It all started with mom. “My mother was the first leader in my life, and she was very consistent and deliberate in setting expectations high for me,” Carr remembers. “She told me, ‘You fear God and you fear me.’” Having a mother who wouldn’t hesitate to drop in at school to make sure Carr was doing well, led him to be extremely disciplined.
Carr attended Tangelo Park Elementary, Riverside Elementary and Lockhart Middle School before graduating from Apopka High School. Later, he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy with an emphasis Human Resources and Diversity Leadership from Florida State University.
Following graduation, Carr served as Academic and Life Skills coordinator at FSU where he was an advisor for three different men’s & women’s athletic teams. Only a few short years later, Carr was named the Corporate Services Manager for INROADS of Central Florida, Inc.
Next, Carr was hired as the Associate Director of Student-Athlete Support Services and Director of Life Skills at Michigan State University. Under his leadership, the Life Skills program was awarded the distinguished Division 1A Athletic Director’s “Program of Excellence Award.” “I have always believed that there is opportunity out there,” Carr says. “I enjoy making a difference and managing risk and reputation.”
In 2001, he joined the NBA. “Getting my job at the NBA was the easiest job I’ve gotten because it was predicated by years of pre-work,” Carr says.
Personal reputation is everything, and Carr’s hard work in developing new programs and trying new things in previous positions furthered his personal brand. Carr had a friend who worked for the WBNA. One day she called and told him that there was a job at the NBA with his name on it, Three phone interviews later, Carr had a job offer. “It was a testament to the hard work that I had put in,” he says. “People knew about my work before they met me.”