Cal’s presence in the National Basketball Association expanded this week, and not in the form of another player.
Cal alumna Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall will take over as new interim CEO of the Dallas Mavericks and become the first female CEO in NBA history.
The move comes following Sports Illustrated’s report of the organization’s toxic working environment.
The report reveals a handful of alleged domestic violence and sexual assault incidents instigated by a few primary figures, including former president and CEO Terdema Ussery. All three of the alleged perpetrators named in the report are no longer with the organization.
At her introductory press conference, Marshall established a primary goal of redefining the culture and direction of Dallas’s workplace — a goal that will be achieved through holding each other accountable. In time, she hopes the organization will evolve into one that sets a high standard of inclusion and diversity.
“This is my opportunity to be part of the solution with a lot of other people who are trying to help with this issue,” Marshall said at the press conference.
Her transition from former chief diversity officer and vice president of human resources at AT&T to Mavericks CEO may seem like a significant change in scenery, but the former Bear is no stranger to the world of sports — nor to making history, for that matter.
In her time at Cal, Marshall became the first Black cheerleader in the history of the Bears’ cheerleading program. She graduated with degrees in business administration and human resource management.
In her 36 years spent with AT&T, Marshall gained a reputation in particular for developing women leaders and looking past unconscious biases. Her efforts earned her a spot in Black Enterprise magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America in 2015.
With Marshall’s hiring, majority owner Mark Cuban and the rest of Dallas’s front office have made it clear that things will be different going forward.
“She’s going to be great,” said head coach Rick Carlisle to Mavericks Moneyball. “She’s dynamic, she’s charismatic, and she’s extremely smart. And she’s intolerant of any bullshit. That’s pretty clear.”
Josh Yuen is an assistant sports editor. Contact him at