Becky Hammon (San Antonio Spurs), Nancy Lieberman (Big3 Basketball) and Jenny Boucek (Sacramento Kings) aren’t the only female names to surface in men’s professional basketball in recent years. Wasserman Media Group’s Debbie Spander, Senior VP of Broadcasting and Coaching at Wasserman, is writing up her own story that’s a proprietary blend of her past and her passion for sports and the people within it.
Sports media runs in the bloodlines of Spander ancestry. Her dad, Art, a graduate of UCLA, is an award-winning sports writer and a current contributor for the San Francisco Examiner. Art’s been in sports journalism since 1963 and his work has been acknowledged by the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, California Golf Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America.
With that kind of exposure, his daughter, Debbie, would get a first row seat into sports media and that would pay off in due time.
Before her days at Wasserman, Spander made some noise at Fox Sports, who would benefit from her negotiating tactics in the network’s $311 million acquisition of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Spander then joined MTV as VP of Business Affairs, helping that platform relaunch Atom Films, which powered sites Shockwave and Addicting Games. Eventually, Spander wanted to be her own boss, so she tapped into the world of entrepreneurship by establishing A-Game Media.
Now with Wasserman, Spander has continued her momentum, inking deals for NBA TV/TNT’s Brent Barry and Los Angeles Lakers scout Antawn Jamison. And it doesn’t stop at just basketball – Spander also manages the contractual lives of New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone and Fox Sports anchor Frank Thomas.
To an outsider, Spander is a lone wolf in her line of work, but when she stands, she doesn’t feel 5-feet tall – she’s a metaphorical 6-foot-10, like client Nazr Mohammed. Despite competition from like-minded professionals, such as Warren LeGarie, the creator of NBA’s summer league in Vegas, Spander prevails with confidence not only from former Wasserman employee Arn Tellem, but from herself, most importantly.
That mentality is the reason why Debbie Spander is a movement among men.