Growing up, David Kelly wanted to be a basketball player and a musician. While his path ultimately has led him to a career as an NBA lawyer, he is also a successful musician and underground rapper. In this episode, David, Chief Legal Officer of Business and basketball for The Golden State Warriors, shares with Merle Vaughn how he landed his dream role, the sponsors who helped him along the way—and his insights on the league and team culture. He also discusses his passion for hip hop and how it allows him to be his authentic self.
David Kelly joined the Warriors during the 2011–12 NBA season as Vice President and General Counsel. He was named General Counsel and Vice President, Basketball Management & Strategy during 2016 and was then named Chief Legal Officer, Business and Basketball in 2018.
In his current role, David is responsible for all legal matters affecting the company (including transactions, disputes and compliance), manages player development, salary cap management and luxury tax planning for the team, oversees the organization’s human resources and public/governmental affairs departments, assists with college player scouting, and oversees many of the company’s key projects and initiatives on both the business and basketball sides of the company, including legal matters related to the real property acquisition, entitlement, construction and operation of Chase Center and ancillary mixed-use development in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood.
Prior to joining the Warriors, David was a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP where he advised clients in connection with public and private acquisitions, securities law compliance, and corporate governance matters. He also provided legal counsel to a variety of sports teams and related clients with respect to television, radio and internet rights agreements, arena/stadium matters, intellectual property issues, and sponsorship and naming rights agreements.
David has a passion for music and his work as a musician has been featured on the CBS Evening News and CNN, and in Time magazine, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Wall Street Journal. He has released eight albums and has toured in the United States, Canada, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal and Brazil.
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