Growing up, young kids in all areas of the world dream of becoming professional athletes. However, for the majority of them that dream of working in and around professional sports eventually becomes a fantasy. Whether because they grow up, lose the drive, or just don't know how to make their dream a reality.
For Addison Owen, he's making sure that he is doing everything it takes to eventually turn that dream of working in the NBA into a reality. Owen recently spent time in May and June as an intern with his hometown Atlanta Hawks.
"Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to have a strong relationship with Mike Budenholzer, head coach of the Hawks," said Owen. "I went to school with all of his kids and am really close to his oldest son. I've gotten to know him over the past few years. He knew about my desire ultimately to work in basketball. I'm still undecided on whether to get into coaching or the front office. He thought that it would be great for me to come on and intern with the Hawks for five weeks. It allowed me to get my foot in the door and see if it's what I wanted to do."
Once done playing, there are several routes one can go to stay involved in athletics. Coaching, scouting and working in the front office are just some of the ways one can make a career in professional sports. Most professional teams hire a plethora of interns throughout the year, both in and out of season.
When seeking interns, most teams keep their hires to a certain area. However, Owen, who wants to be either a coach or work in the front office, was able to gain experience in both areas, working with the coaches as well as the front office staff.
Said Owen, "I had the unique opportunity of interning with both the video coordinators and coaching staff along with the front office staff as well. My typical day began around 7:30. I'd run whatever errands the front office needed me to run. Around 10 a.m., I'd head to the court and help the Hawks players with their offseason workouts. Rebounding, passing, playing defense. A few days, I got to jump in and play with the guys. That was a really, really cool experience. I was also responsible for the players that came in for pre-draft workouts. On top of that, I helped on court with the draft workouts. Typically, I would help with rebounding and passing."
The timing of his internship was also crucial for Addison, as it occurred during the lead up to one of the biggest nights in the NBA, the NBA Draft. One of the biggest things he learned was just how much goes in to every decision that is made.
"Just being around that, you see what goes into every decision the team makes," added Owen. "For every player, there is so much intel. Not just as a basketball player, but who he is as a person. To see how teams document each player; they go back and talk to their high school coaches, high school principals and high school teachers. They look to see what type of character the player has. That really goes to show how much thought goes into bringing a player onto your team.
"The great part about being around the office was what you are able to see. For example, there is a big board filled with potential trades that they might do or potential trades that other teams might do. It shows how much communication goes on across the board. It shows the possibility of trades that never really come into play. Draft time was very hectic, but I'm glad I was there at such a busy time. I think it was the most exciting time for me. There were days that I worked 14-16 hour days. The day of the draft, I came in at 7 a.m. and worked until 1:30 in the morning."
Just like any job, Owen learned that one of the biggest things is getting your foot in the door and then, once you're in, making a good impression.
The main thing is getting your foot in the door and once you're there, making a good impression. You have to continue to keep the connections that you have on top of making new ones, which is something that I think is very important. It's not set in stone yet, but looking forward to next summer, I think I'll have the opportunity to intern with the head of the NBA Summer League. Through that, I should be able to meet a lot of different people who can ultimately help me down the line.
Through the five weeks, Owen learned many things. However, his time with the Hawks has also given him a new outlook on the game that he grew up loving.
"Having this experience has given me a different perspective (on the game). It's shown me how good you have to be to play in the NBA and what it takes. On the other side, it's just as hard to work in the NBA. When you get into it, you really have to sacrifice a few years of your life. But, that's a commitment, like college basketball, where you have to be willing to give something up to have an ultimate reward.