It’s not uncommon for front office executives to join the ranks of the media. But Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins is flipping the script.
Jenkins, SI’s lead NBA reporter, is leaving the magazine to join the Los Angeles Clippers in a role with quite the interesting title: Executive Director of Research & Identity.
What exactly does that title mean?
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Jenkins will work alongside Clippers president of basketball of operations Lawrence Frank and general manager Michael Winger and be asked to “translate his talent, ethics and instincts as a storyteller and his unique study of people into the franchise’s ambitious basketball pursuits.”
In essence, it sounds like Jenkins will be some form of talent consultant, using his journalistic chops to research how the team can better relate to its players.
“In our line of work, we ask questions from different angles, assemble information in different ways,” Jenkins told Wojnarowski. “We try to put it together like puzzles until we’ve formed a portrait of a person. I’m going to try to bring that same process to the Clippers in hopes it will complement what their incredible group of evaluators already accomplish. This team is interested not just in what players do, but who they are — how they’re wired, how they’re motivated — and that’s an area I love to explore.”
Jenkins, who’s widely regarded as one of the best reporters in the business, has worked at SI for over a decade, most notably getting the exclusive scoop on LeBron James’ decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 free agency.
Now, he’ll join a star-studded brain trust in L.A. that includes head coach Doc Rivers and “consultant” Jerry West as the Clippers attempt a return to relevance in the loaded Western Conference.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images