There are a pair of interesting personnel news items to report, as the Sacramento Kings and the NBA have announced new appointments.
In Sacramento, the Kings are welcoming Luke Bornn as their vice president of strategy and analytics.
Bornn joins the Kings organization after most recently serving as head of analytics for A.S. Roma of the Italian Serie A Football League, where he worked closely with managers, coaches and sports scientists to measure and evaluate athletes and performance. Concurrent with his tenure at Roma, the British Columbia native has served as a visiting scholar and professor at Harvard University in the Department of Statistics.
In his new role with Sacramento, Bornn will report directly to general manager Vlade Divac and employ expertise in data engineering and collection to empower basketball operations personnel with relevant information valuable in decision making processes regarding roster compilation, player evaluation and overall strategy. The material gleaned from Bornn’s data infrastructure will also assist the team’s training staff in analyzing information received via wearable technology.
Over the coming weeks, Bornn will work with Divac and the front office to add some of the sharpest minds in the field of statistical sciences to augment the analytics department and continue building a database accessible to players, coaches and basketball operations personnel.
In addition to his academic acumen and professorships at Harvard and Simon Fraser University, Bornn is a frequent contributor to the field of sports analytics, authoring articles for the Journal for Quantitative Analysis, the Annals of Applied Statistics and the Journal of the American Statistical Association—providing insights on basketball related topics such as NCAA Tournament forecasting, predicting possession outcomes in NBA contests and the spatial anatomy of defensive success.
Bornn is also a fixture at the renowned MIT Sloan Analytics Conference, co-authoring six papers since 2014 covering a range of NBA disciplines such as mapping strategies, defensive metrics, ball movement and point predictions and real-time decision making utilizing optical tracking data. His work has been featured by Grantland.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, NBA.com, the Boston Globe and many others.
The NBA and Take-Two Interactive have announced that Brendan Donohue, NBA senior vice president, team marketing and business operation (TMBO), will be the managing director of their jointly-formed NBA 2K esports league.
NBA teams participating in the inaugural season will be announced in the coming weeks, with the new league set to launch in 2018.
Donohue, a sports industry veteran with more than two decades of experience in team and league operations, will be responsible for managing the new league. Since joining the NBA in 2009, he has been instrumental in the success of TMBO, the league’s industry-renowned consulting group. There, he led strategic planning and management for all 64 teams across the NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League, helping them innovate in sales, marketing, digital and analytical areas of their business.
“We’re thrilled that we already have in place a seasoned sports executive to lead this new league,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “The fact that Brendan knows the NBA inside and out is a huge bonus and will enable us to ramp up this venture in record time.”
“We are very pleased to have Brendan join our team and lend his extensive professional basketball acumen to the NBA 2K esports league,” said Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick. “The league will have all of the structure and polish of the NBA, coupled with the thrills and engagement of our industry-leading NBA 2K franchise to provide an exciting new entry into the world of competitive gaming.”
More than half of the NBA team organizations are expected to participate in the NBA 2K esports league’s inaugural season. The new, professional competitive gaming league will bring together the best basketball gamers in the world and follow a professional sports league format. Five competitors will face off in head-to-head competition throughout a regular season, participating in a bracketed playoff system, and concluding with a championship matchup. This marks the first official esports league operated by a U.S. professional sports league.
Donohue graduated from Boston College with a degree in English and a concentration in Business. He lives in Fairfield, Conn., with his wife Patty and their two children.