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    NBA hires former Obama counsel, Google exec Albert Sanders Jr. '01 as the new EVP, Head of Referee Operations

    October 2, 2023

    The NBA announced that Albert L. Sanders, Jr. '01, a Google executive, has been named Executive Vice President, Head of Referee Operations.  He will begin on Oct. 2 and report to President, League Operations Byron Spruell.


    In his new role, Sanders will direct the NBA officiating program with responsibility for the recruitment, hiring, supervision and evaluation of all referees.  He will also oversee the NBA Replay Center, manage initiatives on transparency and technological innovation, and collaborate directly with teams on a range of topics.  Sanders will work in concert with Monty McCutchen, NBA Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training.

    Sanders joins the NBA from Google, where he started in 2017 and most recently served as Global Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy.  He led an international team for Google Cloud, supporting global operations, artificial intelligence and infrastructure policy, product development and go-to-market strategy.

    Prior to Google, Sanders served as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama, Counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and Counselor to the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    “Albert is a proven team leader who excels at bringing key stakeholders together to engage on challenging issues and identify needs and opportunities,” said Spruell.  “Our officiating program will benefit greatly from his expertise in operations management and organizational strategy.”

    “I’m excited for the opportunity to use my experience in strategic oversight and planning to further enhance the NBA’s officiating program,” said Sanders.  “It will be a privilege to work with such a talented group at a world-class organization that values innovation, creativity and integrity.”

    A native of Compton, Calif., Sanders earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Morehouse, a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and a Certificate of Study in Business Management & Public Policy from The Wharton School.  After law school, he worked as a litigation associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. -

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