Bob Myers Steps Down as President and GM of Golden State Warriors and 15 Other Legendary NBA Executives

Bob Myers Steps Down as President and GM of Golden State Warriors and 15 Other Legendary NBA Executives

Bob Myers, who has been one of the most outstanding NBA executives of the past decade, announced his decision to step down as President and General Manager of the Golden State Warriors – effective June 30. His impressive resume will make him a highly sought-after executive, should he ever return. 

Myers joined the Warriors in April 2011 as an assistant GM after spending 14 years as a sports agent. His career took a turn for the best in April 2012, when he was promoted to general manager. In his first year as GM, he ended the franchise’s five-year playoff drought and things just got crazy from there on out. 

In his 11 years as President and GM, the Warriors went 571-304 in the regular season, made nine playoff appearances, won six Western Conference Finals, and won four NBA Finals. He was named Executive of the Year twice – in 2015 and 2017 – and helped put together one of the greatest dynasties of all-time. 

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15 of the Greatest NBA Executives of All-Time

Bob Myers Steps Down as President and GM of Golden State Warriors and 15 Other Legendary NBA Executives
via Shutterstock (FrimuFilms)

NBA executives don’t get enough credit for what they bring to the table – especially when things are going right. It’s easy to praise the players and coaching staff because they’re the face of the franchise, but there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that most of us will never hear about or witness. 

For example, Bob Myers excelled at contract negotiation, player recruitment, leadership, talent evaluation, and maintaining strong relationships at every level – from ownership down to the players. He’s often credited as being the glue holding Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson together. 

NBA executives are a dime a dozen, which is why the Warriors will have a significant void to fill this off-season. While they entertain their options – which include the owner’s son, Kirk Lacob, and former player, Mike Dunleavy Jr. – let’s take a look at some of the most outstanding NBA executives of all-time. 

15. Pat Williams

Pat Williams began his career as an NBA executive in 1968 and spent time with the 76ers, Bulls, Hawks, and Magic – the latter of which he spent 30 years with. His teams made 23 playoff appearances and five NBA Finals appearances between 1968 and 2019 – he helped ed the 76ers to a championship in 1983. 

Williams was best known for his marketing, promotion, and leadership. He played a major role in the creation of Benny the Bull (the Chicago Bulls’ mascot) and was the inaugural manager of the Orlando Magic – they entered the league in 1989 and he announced his retirement in April 2019 after 30 years.

14. Joe Dumars

Joe Dumars spent 15 seasons in the NBA as a player, winning two championships before having his No. 4 jersey retired by the Detroit Pistons. He retired in 1999, but was quickly hired as the Pistons’ president of basketball operations before the start of the 2000-01 season and saw immediate success in the role. 

Dumars won Executive of the Year in 2003 and led the Pistons to a championship in 2004 – his team went to six consecutive Conference Finals. He became the first African American executive to win a title and now serves as executive vice president and head of basketball operations for the NBA (since 2022).

13. David Griffin

David Griffin spent 17 years with the Suns between 1993 and 2010, working his way up from the team’s public relations department to senior vice president of basketball operations. In 2010, he became the Cavaliers’ GM and remained in that position until 2017, when he and the Cavaliers parted ways.

With the Cavs, Griffin helped broker the return of LeBron James and helped build a team that went to three consecutive NBA Finals and won a title in 2016. In 2019, he was hired to be the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, where he has been tasked with building around Zion Williamson.

12. Masai Ujiri

Masai Ujiri never played in the NBA, but he enjoyed a 10-year career overseas. Not much came of his basketball career until 2002, when he started working as a youth coach in Nigeria. It didn’t take long for the Orlando Magic to take notice and sign him as an unpaid scout and things just took off from there. 

He was the Nuggets’ general manager between 2010 and 2013, where he won Executive of the Year and became the first African-American GM in major American sports history. He became the executive vice president and GM of the Raptors, where he built a consistent winner and even won a title in 2019. 

11. Jack McCloskey

Jack McCloskey spent a few years playing in the Eastern Professional Basketball League (EPBL) before making his NBA debut in 1953 – he only played one game in his NBA career. He began his coaching career in 1956 and coached the University of Pennsylvania, Wake Forest, and the Trail Blazers. 

In 1979, McCloskey was hired to be the new GM of the Detroit Pistons. Over the next 13 years, he earned the nickname ‘Trader Jack’ for his frequent trades and was responsible for drafting Joe Dumars – a Pistons’ legend. He’s also credited with constructing the ‘Bady Boys’ team that won back-to-back titles. 

10. Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich is primarily known as one of the greatest head coaches in NBA history, but he deserves a lot of credit as a general manager – a role he maintained with the Spurs between 1994 and 2002. He didn’t become head coach until 1996, when he fired Bob Hill and named himself as the replacement. 

Hiring himself as head coach will go down as one of the greatest head coach hirings of all-time, but he’s also credited with drafting one of the best trios of all-time – Tim Duncan (1997), Manu Ginobili (1999), and Tony Parker (2001). Together, this group won five NBA championships between 1999 and 2014. 

9. Donnie Nelson

Donnie Nelson is the son of Hall-of-Fame head coach Don Nelson, who has the second-most wins as head coach in NBA history. Donnie started working his way up in the league as a member of his father’s teams for 10 years – serving as a regional scout with the Bucks and assistant coach with the Warriors.

He played a major role in the Suns drafting Steve Nash as an assistant coach of the team between 1995 and 1998. He rejoined his father in 1998 as assistant GM of the Mavericks and played a major role in the team drafting Dirk Nowitzki. He was later named GM and President of the Mavs, winning a title in 2011.

8. Red Holzman

Red Holzman is most remembered as head coach of the New York Knicks between 1967 and 1982, but many people forget he was also the team’s GM between 1970 and 1975. Those six years were some of the most successful years in Knicks’ history and are a big reason why he is in the Hall of Fame today. 

Between 1970 and 1975, the Knicks won two titles – the only two titles in franchise history – and were one of the most dominant teams in the league. His team finished in either first or second place in the Eastern Conference five years in a row between the 1969-70 season and the 1973-74 season. 

7. Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge spent 15 years in the NBA as a player with the Celtics, Kings, Trail Blazers, and Suns between 1981 and 1995. After retiring as a player, he joined the Suns as head coach for three years between 1996 and 1999 – coaching them to a 136-90 record, but failing to make it out of the first round. 

He became the Celtics’ executive director of basketball operations in 2003, but the Celtics struggled early on. After being pressured by Paul Pierce to build a contender, he traded for both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to form the ‘Big Three.’ He won a title with the team in 2008 and was also Executive of the Year. 

6. Max Winter

Max Winter was a part-owner and general manager of the Minneapolis Lakers between 1947 and 1954. During that time, he helped build one of the NBA’s first dynasties – winning an NBL title in 1948, BAA title in 1949, and NBA title in 1950 behind the likes of George Mikan, Jim Pollard, and Vern Mikkelson.

All in all, Winter helped lead the Lakers to three more titles in a row between 1952 and 1954. Of course, his impact on the sports community didn’t end there. He’s also credited with the founding of the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL – he led a group of people who were awarded an expansion team in 1961.

5. R.C. Buford

R.C. Buford was an assistant coach for the Spurs and Clippers between 1988 and 1993. In 1994, Gregg Popovich hired him as a head scout for the Spurs and he has been with the team ever since – working his way up from assistant coach to head scout, director of scouring, assistant GM, and eventually GM. 

He’s the man that replaced Popovich as GM and helped them win four titles between 2003 and 2014. He was named Executive of the Year on two occasions – in 2014 and 2016. In 2019, he was promoted to CEO of the Spurs and is also the president of sports franchises for Spurs Sports & Entertainment. 

4. Jerry Krause

Jerry Krause is best known for his role as general manager of the Chicago Bulls between 1985 and 2003. He wasn’t a popular GM in the locker room and most of his players didn’t like him very much, but he was good at building a team and helped build a dynasty with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

As general manager, Krause led the Bulls to six NBA titles – two three-peats – between 1991 and 1998. He was named Executive of the Year in 1988 and 1996. He resigned as GM in 2003, citing minor physical problems he endured as a result of the ‘rigors and stress of the job.’ Krause passed away in 2017. 

3. Pat Riley

Pat Riley is one of the greatest basketball minds of all-time, earning success as a player, coach, and executive – something not many people can say. In addition to winning an NBA title as a player with the Lakers in 1972, he won six titles as a head coach (five with the Lakers) and two more as an executive. 

Riley transitioned into an executive role in 1995 when he signed as President of the Miami Heat in 1995 – he was also the head coach at this time. He stepped down as head coach in 2008 and has been with the team as President ever since. He has helped keep the Heat in constant contention ever since his arrival. 

2. Red Auerbach

Red Auerbach had a Hall-of-Fame career as head coach of the Boston Celtics between 1950 and 1966 – winning nine titles (eight consecutive) and winning Coach of the Year in 1965. He transitioned into an executive role in 1966 when he became the team’s general manager – a position he held until 1984. 

Auerbach would then transition to President and Vice Chairman of the team. During his time as an executive, which lasted 40 years, the Celtics won seven more titles and he was named Executive of the Year in 1980. He knew how to get the most out of his players and he did so on a consistent basis. 

1. Jerry West

Not many people have had the basketball career that Jerry West has had. He was already a Hall of Fame player in 1980, following a legendary 15-year career with the Lakers, before starting his career as a coach/executive. He spent three years as head coach of the Lakers, coaching them to a 145-101 record.

West has held various titles with the Lakers, Grizzlies, Warriors, and Clippers since beginning his career as an executive in 1979 – he’s currently an executive board member and consultant for the Clippers. He has won eight titles as an executive and was named Executive of the Year twice – in 1995 and 2004. 

What Responsibilities Do NBA Executives Have? 

NBA executives play an essential role in bringing and keeping a team together – quality executives are often the difference between a struggling franchise and a dynasty. With that said, not all NBA executives are created equal and they each have different roles and responsibilities to help keep the wheels turning. 

Also known as the front office, the executive leadership of an NBA team often consists of the President, General Manager, Assistant GM, and a variety of other roles – such as Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, Chairman, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and much more. 

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While most of the executives aren’t fully involved with the team and are more focused on the business aspect of building/maintaining a franchise, it’s the President, GM, and Assistant GM that are most directly involved with the day-to-day operations – and Bob Myers was undoubtedly one of the best at it!

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