Incoming commissioner Adam Silver will tap longtime league executive Mark Tatum to replace him as the NBA's deputy commissioner, according to multiple reports.
Yahoo! Sports and NBA.com both reported Tuesday that Silver, who will officially take over the top job from David Stern on Saturday, has selected Tatum to fill the league's No. 2 role. Stern is stepping down on Feb. 1 after exactly 30 years on the job.
The league's Board of Governors must approve Silver's nomination.
"Mark has grown into a true marketing most valuable player," Silver told the Sports Business Journal in 2008. "He has outstanding relationship skills, which makes him a pleasure to deal with. We at the NBA love his easy style, as do our partners."
Tatum started at the NBA in 1999 and is currently serving as the NBA's executive vice president of global marketing partnerships, where he manages marketing partnerships for the NBA, WNBA, D-League and USA Basketball in the United States and around the globe. His position includes oversight of the league's Business Development and Media groups, which work with the league's biggest partners, including Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch, to develop marketing strategies and promotions.
Before joining the NBA, Tatum worked for Procter & Gamble, Pepsi-Cola, The Clorox Company and Major League Baseball in sales and marketing roles. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Business School, and he sits on the Board of Trustees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
NBA.com reports that Tatum, who is African-American and Vietnamese, will become the highest-ranking minority executive in major American professional sports once his appointment becomes official. Silver joined the NBA in 1992 and was named deputy commissioner in 2006.