Being the father of two young girls, I have become more involved with women's basketball. It is easy out here in Minnesota because the Lynx are seemingly always competing for a title -- it helps to have Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen.
But the Chicago Sky sparked my interest when I found out that their president was Adam Fox, a nice Jewish guy from the Chicago suburbs. Fox has brought some innovative thinking to the team, which stems from his days with the Chicago Wolves (AHL) hockey team. So, I spoke to Fox about his journey and the future of the WNBA.
1) What led you to president of the Sky?
I was involved with hockey for 14 years with the Chicago Wolves. Through mutual friends, they arranged a breakfast and (I) met Michael Alter. We discussed what made the Wolves successful, but in the end, it was not a match and we left saying good luck to each other.
Fast forward a couple years. I had a voicemail about another breakfast and got the job offer. I consulted my wife and friends, I thought about how I could make this work and eventually accepted the opportunity and joined the Sky. At the time I was the COO and after a couple of years I moved into the role of president.
2) Was this something you have always wanted to do?
I never knew where my journey would take me. I had a typical young Jewish kid's path -- law school. One summer I had the opportunity to join a college buddy's older brother doing sports marketing and we toured the country. It was just to make some extra money, but it turned into something really cool. I took a leave of absence from law school, got a job in ticket sales with the Wolves and moved up. I was very fortunate.
3) Does the Sky have a relationship with the Bulls?
Nothing formal. The ownership groups know each other. I know Michael Reinsdorf and the front office. But there is not a lot of work between the two.
4) What is the outlook for the Sky at the moment?
We will be a really good team this year. We set a good course with Coach [Amber] Stocks, which also includes young leaders and a talented core. By the end of the year we were playing really well. We had a slow start but played really well the last half. This year we are picking third and fourth so we can build on our young talent.
5) What was your Jewish upbringing like?
It was a typical Jewish upbringing. We did all the holidays. Went to Hebrew school and I was bar mitzvahed. In those days, Hebrew school was two days a week and Sundays; kids dreaded it. We all went through that period. Judaism has always been a part of my life, but more so culturally. I am not someone who attends services regularly, but I have been there a lot recently. My youngest daughter had her bat mitzvah. I have to say Friday night services at our temple were warm and comfortable. People felt really good and our rabbi did a great job.
6) Do you think it will be more common for WNBA players to be bought out by overseas teams to not play the WNBA season?
If it does happen it'll be few and far between. A lot of the players in the states want the chance to build on what's going on and its very special. But the chance to preserve one's body and build a longer career is tempting. But periodically it'll happen.
7) Where will the WNBA be 10 years from now?
More people will be digging it. We are building a critical mass of acceptance. Once the younger generation becomes accustomed to seeing women playing basketball, it will really grow bigger than it is today.