Nuggets celebrate Women’s History Month: Camille Hammond keeps family legacy going
Camille Hammond has been around basketball since she was in diapers, so her success in her role as Senior Vice President, Partnership Marketing & Media Sales at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment shouldn’t be surprising. Hammond’s unique insight into the Denver market, and the NBA in particular, might come in part from her father’s Julian time as a professional basketball player in the Mile High City.
“[Growing up] I was a swimmer, my dad played professional basketball here in Denver with the Rockets. We just come from a family of athletes, so [sports] is always something I’ve been passionate about,” Hammond said.
The Rockets were the predecessor to the Nuggets, bringing back professional basketball to the Mile High City after a 17-year absence in 1967. Julian Hammond, now 76, was on the inaugural Rockets roster and played for the franchise until 1972. Julian averaged 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 51.4 percent in 329 ABA appearances for the Rockets.
Julian Hammond retired when Camille was just four years old, so she doesn’t have a ton of memories of his time as a player. However, growing up in Denver, she had constant reminders of his legacy as part of the city’s rich sports history.
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“There’s a lot of people who still recognize him on the street,” Camille Hammond said. “It’s always been fun to be around it.”
After his playing career over, Julian Hammond would eventually his find his way around pro basketball again, working in security at Pepsi Center from 2003-17. His daughter Camille now continues his ties with the Nuggets’ organization, leading KSE’s Partnership Marketing & Media Sales team.
“I really enjoy being an advocate for my people and working closely with them,” Hammond said. “When they have success, I kind of get to be a part of it, which is really cool.”
This is her second stint with the organization, having initially joined in 2001 and then returning in 2014. In between, she had stops at ESPN and Clear Channel. Hammond worked her way as an intern with the Clippers out of college and success in sales made her realize it’s an area she can have an impact in. Hammond has enjoyed the tight-knit environment of KSE and she’s also appreciated being able to make a difference in her hometown.
“It's a really great organization to work for,” she said. “The leadership that we have has always been really positive and the folks that we work with have a ton of character.”
She added, “My goal for the future is to keep building my team and to keep building the organization. We’re one of the largest sports organizations, [KSE] not just the Nuggets, in North America and I wanted that to be reflected [in our work force].”
One way Hammond hopes to make a difference in the future of KSE by helping the organization integrate and involve more diverse viewpoints. Women executives in sports are rare and there are even fewer women of color in influential positions in the field. As an African-American female executive, Hammond has pitched several ideas to help with recruiting.
“I’ve actually spoken to several executives at our organization about creating initiatives,” Hammond explained. “Where we can go out to different areas [in the country] and meet people and understand what they can bring to the table – not just wait for resumes that cross your path.”
Hammond hopes these initiatives will help KSE as it continues to evolve. When asked what advice she’d give other women who want to follow her path, Hammond said being assertive helped her rise up the ranks.
“It's always interesting when you're the only female in a given situation, and especially on the sales side,” she said. “I do think sometimes you have to have a little thicker skin…Work in the situation you’re given and make sure you’re not a wallflower. Be strong and strong in your opinion. I think that’s a big thing. Don’t be afraid to give your opinion and be a strong voice.”