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Gersson Rosas Understands Being The First Latino To Run An NBA Franchise Comes With Great Responsibility
When the Timberwolves hired Gersson Rosas as President of Basketball Operations last week, Rosas became the first Latino to run an NBA front office.
That seems wild, I know. In 2019, it feels like we’d be ahead of that but here we are. But when there are milestones such as this, we must celebrate, but also continue to move forward and advance.
Rosas is an immigrant from Bogota, Colombia, who moved to Houston when he was three years old. The odds were against him to make it in the basketball world considering soccer's popularity in the Latino community.
“There’s not a lot of basketball going on,” Rosas said.
Rosas, at just 40 years old, has worked his way to the peak of the basketball operations side of an NBA team. Whenever he’s asked about being the first Latino in that position, you immediately understand that this isn’t something he takes lightly. He takes his time in answering the question. There is a responsibility to diversify the sport as much as he can, on and off the court.
“Diversity is what makes organizations great,” Rosas said. “I value it from a basketball operations perspective. I know (CEO Ethan Casson) values it from a corporate perspective. We don’t want blind spots. We want people who want different backgrounds, different approaches. Different perspectives to see the game differently. That allows me to be a better leader. The different information that I can obtain to make decisions is critical.”
Rosas constantly talks about actions speaking louder than words. His actions certainly validate his words. Rosas is the Director of the Americas for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, and since 2015, he’s been an International Player Personnel Scout for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team.
Casson has made diversity a priority of his since joining the franchise on the business side, so the fact that the two connected in the interview process doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
In an interview with Jim Petersen (you can listen here), Rosas opened up more about being the first Latino to lead a basketball team and what he hopes to do with his new platform.
“Specifically, for the Latino community, it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart,” Rosas said. “I know how the love of the game has grown and developed in South America and it’s important to me, getting to this level to be able to give back and help others and motivate others and to how them if I made it, they can make it. And I can play a part in helping them get excited about this and get involved in this. Mentor other individuals… That to me is an impact that speaks outside of what happens on the floor. That impacts kids and families at a higher level.”
Basketball is becoming more and more of a world-wide sport. Rosas will be a pioneer for the Latino community to make sure that continues. By becoming the first Latino to run an NBA front office, Rosas is helping open doors for others both inside the Wolves organization and around the league.