Steve Mills was named general manager of the Knickerbockers on Mar. 18, 2014. He had returned to The Madison Square Garden Company on Sep. 26, 2013.
A 30-plus-year veteran of the sports world, Mills’ career has included 16 years with the National Basketball Association, where his talents led to a notable ascent from account executive to senior vice president of basketball and player development. This was followed by 10 years at The Madison Square Garden Company, where Mills had a wide range of responsibilities that included overseeing business and basketball operations for the Knicks and Liberty, along with business operations for the Rangers and for all other sports-related activities at The Garden.
Now, in his second tenure at The Garden, he joins team President Phil Jackson and Head Coach Derek Fisher as a top-level management team charged with the responsibility of restoring the Knicks to elite status.
“I think we had an opportunity to get to know each other very well through a very difficult season, but it helped us solidify the things we think are important for our team to be successful,” says Mills. “It gave us a great idea of the kinds of players we wanted to build a successful team, and allowed us to really focus on that and work on the process together. This summer, the three of us spent a lot of time together and talked about what is important to build a successful team, and then start to move forward on that process.”
Mills’ decade-long career at The Madison Square Garden Company included his role as president of MSG Sports, during which he oversaw all business operations, including marketing and community relations, for the company’s three professional sports teams and Sports Properties, which included college basketball, boxing, and track and field. Steve originally joined the Knicks as executive vice president of franchise operations in September 1999 and became president of sports teams operations for Madison Square Garden in 2001.
In his current role, working alongside a Hall of Famer in Jackson provides Mills with a unique perspective.
“It’s an opportunity to work with someone who obviously has an incredible basketball resume, but also is just a good person as well,” says Mills. “You have the opportunity to share concepts and ideas about basketball and bounce ideas off him. To be able to do that every day has just been a fantastic growth opportunity for me.”
Prior to his move to The Garden, Mills played an integral role in the development of the National Basketball Association, where he held several positions with increasing responsibility, including his last role as senior vice president, basketball and player development. His responsibilities included managing the league’s relationships with all domestic and international basketball organizations, including the NCAA and USA Basketball, as well as overseeing the NBA’s developmental programs and player initiatives during one of the most critical periods in league history. Mills also played a key role in the creation of the Women’s National Basketball Association and served on the team responsible for the negotiation of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Mills started his career with the NBA in 1983 as an account executive in the corporate sponsorship department of NBA Properties.
Before returning to MSG, Mills most recently served as partner and CEO of Athletes & Entertainers Wealth Management Group, LLC, a company he created in 2010 that links sports and entertainment stars with investment and management leaders to create new business opportunities.
An accomplished collegiate basketball player, Mills started three seasons at guard for Hall of Fame Coach Pete Carril at Princeton University, where he helped lead the Tigers to two Ivy League first place finishes, including the league title and an NCAA berth in 1981. He also played professionally for one season in South America in 1981.
Mills earned a degree in sociology from Princeton in 1981, and has served on the Board of Trustees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Board of Directors for USA Basketball. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Princeton Varsity Club and on the Advisory Board for Manhattan’s Hospital for Special Surgery. In December of 2015, Mills joined the board of Ariel Investment Trust as an independent director. Steve and his wife Beverly have two daughters.