JOEL M. LITVIN
President, League Operations
National Basketball Association
As the NBA’s President, League Operations, Joel Litvin manages areas that are at the core of the day-to-day operations of the NBA, including the league’s basketball, officiating, legal, security and player development departments. Separately, he is the league’s principal liaison with the NBA’s Board of Governors on matters such as revenue sharing, team sales, financings and relocations, and the league’s ownership and debt policies.
Working with the Planning Committee of the Board of Governors, and its Chairman, Wyc Grousbeck, Litvin developed the landmark revenue sharing plan adopted by the NBA in December 2011 in conjunction with the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The plan provides for a significant increase in the amount of revenue sharing paid to small market teams which, together with the new CBA, will enable all well-managed NBA teams to compete for a championship and make a profit.
Litvin oversees the legal department’s administration and enforcement of the league’s collective bargaining agreements with the National Basketball Players Association and has played a central role in the negotiation and crafting of each CBA entered into by the league since 1995. Among his achievements in this area was the development of the first-ever escrow/tax system in professional sports.
On the basketball side, Litvin is responsible for all on-court operations, including rule making and enforcement, player and coach disciplinary matters, and the training and supervision of NBA referees. Under his direction, the NBA has adopted several new playing rules, and has significantly expanded its use of instant replay to review calls made by referees.
Prior to assuming his current position, Litvin, 52, was the league’s Executive Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs, from 2000 to 2006. He joined the NBA in 1988 as a staff attorney and has also held the titles of Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, and Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Litvin began his professional career at the New York law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he worked on several matters for Major League Baseball.
Litvin serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is a frequent lecturer on sports business and legal issues.
A 1981 graduate of the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania, Litvin received his law degree from New York University, where he was a member of the Law Review.