Executive Vice President, Referee Operations, National Basketball Association
As Executive Vice President of Referee Operations for the National Basketball Association, Mike Bantom oversees the league’s officiating program, including recruiting, training, and development of all NBA officials.
Prior to assuming his current position in 2012, Bantom spent 13 years as Senior Vice President of Player Development. In that role, he oversaw and administered all of the NBA’s programs that orientate, educate, and enhance its players in an effort to help them realize their full potential on and off the court. Some of the league’s most acclaimed initiatives, including the Rookie Transition Program, the Team Player Development Program, the NBA Continuing Education Program, and the Player Substance Abuse Program, all fell under the Player Development umbrella managed by Bantom.
From 1997 to 1999, Bantom worked in the NBA New Jersey office as Vice President of NBA Events and Attractions, where he was responsible for NBA All-Star Jam Session at NBA All-Star, as well as other major NBA interactive events. Bantom lived overseas from 1994 to ‘97, where he helped establish the NBA Europe headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. In his efforts to grow the sport of basketball globally, Bantom established the Converse/NBA 3-on-3 World Tour and from 1992 to ‘94 managed the the NBA Africa Tour and NBA Coaches Clinics Tour to Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America.
The NBA promoted Bantom to International Director of Marketing Programs in 1992. His primary responsibilities in that job were to plan and implement programs designed to build the NBA brand and promote the sport of basketball globally. Following the worldwide explosion of basketball started by the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, Mike oversaw a number of NBA basketball/marketing programs that were key ingredients of the league’s global expansion strategy, and were designed to take advantage of and increase the NBA’s growing popularity around the world.
In 1989, the NBA hired Bantom as the Licensing Manager for NBA International after a 16-year professional playing career in the NBA and in Europe.
Bantom played in the NBA from 1973 through 1982, and then played seven more seasons in the Italian Professional League before retiring in 1989. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in his nine-year NBA career, and made the NBA All-Rookie team after Phoenix drafted him as the eighth overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft. Bantom was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team that was involved in the controversial final game versus the Soviet Union in Munich.
A graduate of St. Joseph’s University, Bantom holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He is a devoted father to four children: Robbie, Misha, Brenda, and Alan.