One-on-One with Sam Presti

Sam Presti
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty

Throughout the season spurs.com will celebrate the Spurs 40th Anniversary by visiting with former players, coaches and front office staff to discuss their experiences with the organization and the city of San Antonio.



Sam Presti, entering his sixth season as the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder, served a variety of roles within the Spurs basketball operations department from 2000-07. In his first year, he began as a video intern for head coach Gregg Popovich and in 2005 was promoted to the role of vice president and assistant general manager. Presti took some time out of morning shootaround prior to Thunder’s matchup against the Spurs on Nov. 1 to speak with Spurs.com.

On how working with R.C. Buford influenced his career…
“I had the tremendous opportunity to work under R.C., Pop and all the other wonderful people in the San Antonio organization. They influenced me in numerous ways, in professional and in personal ways.”

On his favorite memory with the Silver and Black…
“We were fortunate enough to win a lot of games while I was a small member of the operation. I think for me, the memories I probably recall the most is the consistency and the professionalism that was exhibited by the players that Coach Pop and R.C. brought into the program. It’s how consistent they performed and how serious they took their craft. It’s something that had a big impact on me at a young age.”

On his favorite memory of San Antonio…
“San Antonio is a wonderful place. I’d never been to Texas before I arrived from Massachusetts. Certainly, it took a little time getting used to the winters; I was waiting for the snow! But I think overall the people here are pleasant and there is a tremendous amount of culture. It’s a great place to live and work.”

On his favorite restaurant in San Antonio…
“My favorite restaurant is Azuca. I recently got married and I was downtown this morning with a member of our medical staff. I pointed out to him as we went passed Azuca, that’s where I had my first date with my wife several years ago. I didn’t know at that time when I was walking out of there, that I’d be marrying that woman. I met her in San Antonio, so Azuca definitely holds a special place in my catalog. It’s been great to see the city grow. All of the different things that have happen downtown. How the culture of the Riverwalk has been cared for over the years, it’s neat to come back.”

On having former Spurs members on his staff and how they have helped shape the culture in Oklahoma City…
“The Spurs… I think everybody in the NBA is chasing the ability to sustain success. What the Spurs have done is sustained excellence. There is a certain standard that the Spurs have established in several areas; on the court, off the court and in the community. I think anytime you’re benefited by people who had the opportunity to work within that program, it will only strengthen and establish your standards. We have a long way to go and certainly can’t look at the Spurs success as something attainable by talking about it. I think what they’ve done is unique. As I said before, there is sustained excellence and what we are trying to do is figure out a way to sustain success. There is a significant gap between the two. I can tell you there’s not a day in my life that I don’t feel fortunate enough to come in contact with the people here and been given the opportunity when they didn’t have to give me an opportunity. They’ve had a significant impact on my life and I will forever be grateful."