Dream becomes reality for Emerson alum

by Jillian Gearin / Beacon Correspondent • September 24, 2014

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Matt Gibson started working for the 76ers earlier this month.
Courtesy of Matt Gibson.
Matt Gibson started working for the 76ers earlier this month.
Courtesy of Matt Gibson.

Part of going to Emerson is gaining access to the school’s so-called mafia. Almnus Matt Gibson is the latest success story, but he’s not working on a film set or at a New York City magazine like most graduates.

Gibson just took a job with the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I learned to dream big,” said Gibson of his time at Emerson. “I had to believe that a Division III basketball player can work in the NBA”.

Gibson started his career playing basketball against the Emerson Lions while working on his degree in business management from Lesley University. After graduation, he switched teams and came to Emerson to get his master’s in global communication. 

While attending Emerson for the one-year program in 2013, Gibson said he got to know the basketball team and coaches Bill Curley and Jim O’Brien. He started working as a video coordinator for the team, editing film of opponents for scouting, and analyzing film of Emerson players. 

“[Gibson] had tremendous work ethic,” said Eli Kell-Abrams, a senior captain on the Emerson basketball team. “He was incredibly efficient with his work.”

Kell-Abrams, a journalism major, said Gibson would get start editing film on the bus back from games so it would be ready to watch when the team arrived back on campus.

“I first met him at a conference and I could see his tremendous networking skills,” said Kell-Abrams. “I knew he would land a job.”

And he did. Gibson, who started writing part-time for Dime Magazine in 2013, a popular basketball publication, said he became comfortable with professional players, profiling big names like Rajon Rondo, Damian Lillard, and Aquille Carr.

This summer, Gibson attended the NBA Draft and NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Through these opportunities, he said was able to gain more exposure and began interviewing other athletes. 

“Having the experience to talk to the players helped me not be as star-struck when I am working with them now,” Gibson said. 

Gibson, who sent out applications to numerous NBA teams after graduation, landed a job with Philadelphia. 

Now in the 76ers office, where he’s been working since September, he is in charge of basketball operations. 

“[I do] anything from video to scouting projects to working with players,” he said. 

He’s not the first Emerson grad to work in the NBA. Sam Presti, who graduated in 2000, is the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder; and Rob Hennigan, who graduated in 2004, fills the same position for the Orlando Magic. There are several other alumni also working in the league.  

Gibson said he is excited to follow in their footsteps and can’t wait to see where the new job takes him. He said he has dreams of coaching or managing one day. 

“I am taking it one day at a time,” he said. “I will cross that bridge as it comes.”