NYU student and New Jersey resident Vivek Shah never expected a chance meeting with Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark to turn him into an Internet sensation while also snagging him a coveted internship with the team. No, the 20-year-old fan just wanted to say hello to one of his favorite team’s front office leaders.
“I’m a die-hard fan,” Shah told ESPN this week. “I’ve been a die-hard fan for like 10 years. I knew exactly who he was when I saw him.”
When the Nets organization posted a video of Shah touring the team’s new offices with Yormark on Aug. 14, many NBA bloggers, as well as major sports sites, picked up the story. It garnered the video nearly 20,000 views over the past week. A few of those sites, however, questioned the authenticity of the story and claimed it could be a Nets publicity stunt.
“Of course it’s completely real,” Yormark said in a phone interview. “I walked out of a sushi restaurant in Midtown and this guy approached me. I didn’t even know who he was. He said he was a big fan of the Nets and appreciated the work we were doing. I thanked him and told him to call me in the office if he was ever interested in visiting the offices.
"He did and we got him in here. He’s a nice guy. It was very spontaneous. I didn’t expect it, but I thought that if the guy had enough confidence in himself to approach me on the street and talk about the team, I was going to do everything I could to support him.”
The fact that the Brooklyn Nets decided to film the tour was just another way for the team to show how fan-friendly they are and how much this newly relocated team has embraced the world of social media.
“The PR team thought it would be an interesting thing to show our fans,” Yormark said. “We try to showcase how accessible we are as an organization, so I agreed to it and so did [Vivek].”
Shah corroborates the story and says he didn’t expect to see a camera crew when he walked through the door at the Nets' front offices, but the attention has made him a bit of a star among his friends and family.
“[The Nets] asked me if I was OK with it,” Shah said. “I didn’t mind. Two of my friends actually saw it before I did. They sent me the link as soon as it went up. It was pretty cool.”
Internet stardom, an office tour, and some Nets gear are not all Vivek Shah walked away with, though. Yormark offered him the opportunity to put his finance and economics studies to good use by interning for the organization -- a dream gig for most college students. The internship, however, won’t start in earnest until Shah completes this semester.
“I’m in the business school at NYU and I’ll be studying abroad in London during the fall,” Shah told ESPN. “Working with the [Nets] would be my ultimate dream. I never knew how plausible that would be, but I guess this will be a pretty good opportunity to get my foot in the door.”
The dream is now not only plausible, but it’s set to become a reality in a few months.
See, fans, all you have to do is wait outside your local sushi joint and have the guts to say hello to your favorite team’s CEO. Who knew that a true feel-good story could come that easily?