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Stu Jackson to step down as VP of basketball operations

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

The NBA announced Wednesday that Stu Jackson will step down as executive vice president of basketball operations, and that Rod Thorn has been named president of basketball operations for the NBA.

Jackson, 57, spent six seasons with the NBA in charge of basketball policies, including some controversial decisions. He was responsible for the decision to suspend several Suns players, including Amar'e Stoudemire, for stepping onto the cout during the alteraction between Steve Nash and Robert Horry in Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference semifinals matchup between the Suns and Spurs. The Suns went on to lose the series.

Jackson is also notable as head of the Vancouver Grizzlies' front office from the team's inception in 1994 to 2000.

Thorn has been in and around the NBA since 1963, when he was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets. Since that time he's worked in every conceivable capacity in professional basketball, from player, to ABA coach, to executive with the Chicago Bulls where he was instrumental in the selection of Michael Jordan, to being one of Jackson's predecessors as executive vice president of basketball operations.

For the past two years, Thorn has worked as president of the Philadelphia 76ers.

From the NBA's press release:

NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that after more than 13 years, Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations, will be leaving the NBA, and that longtime league and team executive Rod Thorn will be joining the league office as President, Basketball Operations, effective Aug. 1.

“Stu has made enormous contributions to the NBA over the past 13 years,” said Stern. “He informed Adam Silver, Joel Litvin and me some months ago that after a long and distinguished career at the league he felt that this was the appropriate time to step down. We thank Stu for a job very well done, including assisting with the transition to Rod, and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

As EVP, Basketball Operations, Jackson was in charge of all oncourt and international basketball operations, including game rules, conduct, discipline and analytics and also served as chairman of the NBA Competition Committee and on FIBA's Competition Commission and USA Basketball's Board of Directors.

“The NBA has given me an extraordinary opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in sports and I am extremely proud to be associated with the remarkable global growth of the league, which couldn't be in better hands with Rod coming in to lead Basketball Operations,” said Jackson. “I especially want to thank David, Adam and Joel for their exceptional leadership, friendship and continued support. I'm looking forward to applying my NBA experience as I move onto my next challenge."

Jackson has been in collegiate or professional basketball for more than three decades, including stints as head coach of the New York Knicks, President and General Manager of the Vancouver Grizzlies, head coach at the University of Wisconsin, and assistant coach at Providence College, Washington State and the University of Oregon.

Thorn will oversee both Basketball and Referee Operations, reporting to the Commissioner. Most recently, Thorn was President of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers.

“As a player, coach, general manager, league vice president and team president, Rod has been a member of the NBA family for decades, and his basketball knowledge and team relationships are unparalleled,” said Stern. “We are fortunate that his talents are available to serve the league at this time.”
“I am looking forward to serving all 30 teams and our sport and am honored to be at the league office to help continue the game's extraordinary growth,” said Thorn. “As the NBA turns increasingly to analytics and continues to tap into its growing fan and player base on a global basis, there is much work to be done.”

Prior to his role with the 76ers, Thorn spent 10 seasons as President of Basketball Operations for the New Jersey Nets and was named the 2001-02 NBA Executive of the Year. Previously, Thorn spent 14 seasons at the NBA office as the head of Basketball Operations.

After being drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in 1963 as the second overall pick, Thorn played in the NBA for eight seasons, went on to management and coaching positions in the ABA and the NBA, including as the Chicago Bulls' general manager where he drafted Michael Jordan in 1984.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations, and Mike Bantom, Executive Vice President, Referee Operations, will report to Thorn.
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