Chrysa Chin doles out hats, advice
Next in our Power Players series, which highlights women in the sports business, is Chrysa Chin, vice president of player development at the NBA. Chin has held several roles within the NBA, but is best known for her role at the NBA draft. Chin is affectionately known as the "Hat Lady." Any new NBA pick sees her before seeing David Stern. Chin hands the draftee the hat of their new team before they stop on stage.
espnW: You are widely known around the NBA as the "Hat Lady." How many players do you think actually know your real name?
Chrysa Chin: That's funny. I think most know my real name.
espnW: How long have you been with the NBA? How many drafts will the 2011 draft mark for you?
CC: I just celebrated my 14th year with the NBA. I've been in the industry for 20 years. The 2011 NBA draft will be my 14th.
espnW: You wear many hats (no pun intended) what are some of your responsibilities?
CC: Some of my responsibilities include overseeing all player interaction, managing player development initiatives for eight teams and running the NBA's 20 and under program.
espnW: You are also a life coach, what has been the most pressing issue you've had to deal with?
CC: Any issue that significantly affects the lives of players on and off the court is pressing to me. I think I would identify deteriorating family relationships resulting from the stressors of basketball as pressing.
espnW: What are some of the nuggets of advice you give to the players?
CC: Players are all in different places with varying life experiences. I meet them where they are. Some of the things I say repeatedly are:
• Look at who is in your inner circle and determine their role in this next phase of your life.
• Learn how to say no when it is in your best interest, regardless of the relationship. This is extremely difficult for some of our players.
espnW: What do you tell the draftees who may be in the green room a little longer than expected to ease their nerves?
CC: It depends upon the situation. I begin with you wouldn't be in the green room if we weren't confident that you would be selected. Sometimes I say it doesn't matter where you go ... we know that you're going to an NBA team. That's all that matters.
espnW: What do you do to make the draft day experience better?
CC: I look at players individually to determine what would enhance their experience. A warm but confident approach removes the edge. I reassure them about the surrounding support and inclusion in the NBA family. I always let them know that there is nothing that can't be resolved.
espnW: After the players are drafted, do many of them remember you from draft day?
CC: Yes because we continue to work closely with them throughout their careers.
espnW: What is your most memorable draft day experience?
CC: I can remember something about each draft but I would say, escorting Mateen Cleaves to the stage. As we approached the stage, he almost forgot to let me go.
espnW: I see that you are on Twitter. How many current and former players follow you on Twitter?
CC: I'm not sure how many players follow me. I am honored to know that they do though. I think I follow all of our players.
espnW: Along with the nickname "Hat Lady" some players call you "the NBA Mother." Do you use your parenting principles on the players?
CC: I do. They're like my sons. I advise and treat them the way I would any member of my family.
espnW: What is the issue that comes up the most with the players transitioning to the NBA?
CC: There are issues, many of them common for both domestic and international players. Adjusting to the rigors of playing at this level is most common. This includes diet, schedule and off-court demands.
espnW: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
CC: There are many rewarding things about the job but overall I would say it's the opportunity to impact the lives of young men by providing trusted information and reliable resources. I love it.
espnW: Do former players still contact you for advice?
CC: I speak with several former players weekly. Many are seeking counsel about their transition; some are sharing experiences or ventures. We don't stop caring about a player because he transitioned out of the league.