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The Friday Five: Bobby Marks

The Friday Five: Bobby Marks
Bristol, CT - November 18, 2020 - Studio E: Bobby Marks during the 2020 NBA Draft (Photo by Kelly Backus / ESPN Images)

Bobby Marks is an ESPN NBA Front Office Insider who spent 20 years working in the NBA, most recently as the Assistant General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets. After parting with the Nets, Marks became known as NBA Twitter's premier capologist, which helped lead to his first media position with Yahoo! Sports. A former college football player, Bobby has continued to follow both college football and the NFL closely throughout his career.

We caught up with Bobby for this week’s Friday Five

1) Who is your biggest mentor?

I would say there are two. One would definitely be Willis Reed, who hired me when he was the GM in New Jersey in 1995. And the other would be Rod Thorne, who became president of the Nets in 2000.

2) You were a communications major at Marist and initially came to the Nets as a Public Relations Intern. How did you break into basketball operations? Was it always the goal?

The goal was always that I wanted to be in law enforcement. That was my end goal when I was at Marist. I decided not to change my major and I needed an internship to graduate. I was six credits short because I screwed around my first two years there. I got my internship, basically did my PR internship for the first three or four months and then stayed on for free in basketball ops. That's how I got my foot in the door and got hired in January 1996.

3) You’re known as an NBA capologist, but you’re also a big football fan. Do you keep a close eye on the NFL CBA and salary cap?

I bought a book on the NFL CBA called Crunching Numbers that came out and I've doodled around with it. I haven't brought my highlighter out and highlighted things just yet, but I love the NFL and love college football. Having played football in college at Marist and just being around it all my life, I'm a big fan.
I'm intrigued as far as how rosters are built a little bit differently than the NBA, where 90% of NBA players are on guaranteed contracts. In the NFL it's structured a bit differently where you're relying more on bonuses and guys can be cut down the road. I'm definitely intrigued as far as how the CBA in the NFL works.

4) What advice would you give your younger self?

Take writing more seriously. I didn't really learn how to write the way I do now until about 5 or 6 years ago. My post-Nets life when I came into the media, I learned that posting 280 characters on Twitter is not going to get you paid. I had to learn how to write and it was a struggle because I really never paid attention to it when I was in college. So, I would definitely say a note to my younger self is to take writing seriously either when you're in high school or in college.

5) If you could invite any three people in history to dinner, who would they be and why?

The first would be Tony Dorsett. I was a huge Cowboys fan growing up. When I was younger I used to sleep over at my grandmother's every Friday night, and I'd stay up late and the TV show Dallas would always come on. I always saw the star and I started watching and just became a huge Cowboy fan. I loved Tony Dorsett growing up. I wore 33 when I played Pop Warner and I think my freshman year of high school football. He would definitely be the first guy I'd have dinner with.

I'd also really like to have dinner with Michael Jordan. I mean, why not have the best of the best and try to just pick his brain. I'd love to talk about whether he could survive nowadays in this social media world that we all live in. It was a lot different back then in the '80s and '90s. He'd be a really interesting dinner guest.

For my third, I think I'd go with Will Ferrell because whenever you have dinner you always have to have that little bit of comedy to it. I think having someone who has worked in primarily comedy movies would bring some fun to our dinner party.