Dinwiddie climbs Pacers ladder from entry-level ticket sales to VP of hometown franchise
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- “If I had a crystal ball I definitely wouldn’t envision that I’d be in this current position with the Pacers,” Peter Dinwiddie admits.
Getting to this position as Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations for his hometown franchise started within a cubicle in the Fieldhouse long before he envisioned having his name outside one of the team’s top executive offices.
“My path is a little bit unique. I started out in 2006 in ticket sales and I was an account exec and that’s the very bottom of the totem pole.”
The Cathedral High School and Indiana University grad worked as an attorney before trading the legal profession for an entry level sales job.
“Probably 30 years ago, I knew I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete but I knew if I wasn’t an NBA player the next best thing would be to work in the NBA, so for me, since I don’t have the basketball background, I knew in order to receive an opportunity, I probably would need to have a law degree just so I could add some value on the administrative side,” the Cathedral High School and Indiana University graduate explains.
That value was quickly realized by then-Pacers president Donnie Walsh.
“Donnie found out there was an attorney working in ticket sales and he reached out to me to find out if I’d be meeting with him because why we had an attorney working in ticket sales,” Dinwiddie says with a laugh. “And so I met with Donnie and gave Donnie my background and told Donnie that I had aspirations to try and work on the basketball side.”
“Donnie said, well I’d like to mentor you, and I would like to bring you in on a bi-weekly basis and give you different projects and after you do the projects I’ll review the projects and give you feedback.”
When Walsh left to take the Knicks job, he assured Dinwiddie was left in good hands.
“I was sitting in my cubicle in 2008 and the phone rang and it said Larry Bird. He said, I talked to Donnie and based on Donnie’s recommendation, I’d like to offer you a position as director of basketball administration. And I was completely blown away and caught of guard.”
Learning under Walsh, then Bird and now president Kevin Prichard helped Dinwiddie ascend to the top of the organization and put him in prime position to one day lead a team.
“You know, ideally my next step would be to become a general manager, but there’s 30 NBA teams, 29 other teams, and so you have to be patient.”
Patience is something that has suited Dinwidde well thus far, both in his career and through pivotal offseason periods in positioning the franchise back into playoff contention.
“Last season, we knew we had a team that we knew was going to compete, but we didn’t know how many wins that was going to translate to. Well, now since we overachieved, we have to figure out how to sustain that success that we had last year, now it’s more pressure, it makes it more challenging and more fun. I think maybe if we can add some pieces to the bench or just continue to evaluate and see what options we have via free agency and trade and see what pieces we can bring in here to keep the momentum going that we created last off-season.”
Ultimately, Dinwiddie hopes to see a championship banner hanging when he looks out those office windows and give his hometown something to celebrate.
“Eventually one day, we’d love to bring a championship to the city, to the state, and have a parade, it would be phenomenal and that’s what drives me each and every day.”