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USA Basketball’s Gen. Martin Dempsey on representing the USA


Gen. Martin E. Dempsey knows a thing or two about leadership after his 41 years of service in the army and as the current USA Basketball Board of Directors Chairperson.

In his role as USA Basketball Board of Directors Chairperson, Dempsey is tasked with making sure that Team USA is operating under compliance. More broadly, he is responsible for making sure that the organization is living up to its mission.

“There’s always something going on,” Gen. Dempsey tells Dawn Staley on the latest episode of the NetLife podcast.

Staley and Gen. Dempsey worked together intimately as Staley coached the USA women’s basketball team to gold during the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“I have a hand in selecting the coaches,” Gen. Dempsey reveals. “One of my jobs is to make sure we are getting the kind of coaches that we want to represent the richness and diversity and character of our country, so I pay particular attention to the coaches we get.”

Another critical aspect of Gen. Dempsey’s job is encouraging athletes and teams to represent the USA in an honorable and respectable manner. He says it’s essential “to make sure the teams understand that clearly, we want to win a gold medal… but that how we win is just as important.”

As Chairperson, Gen. Dempsey’s two points of emphasis for USA Basketball are women in sport and youth development.

“What I really want to know is, what are we doing to make sure the next generation and the generation after that, that everybody has the same chance to excel through sports? And that we are imparting a culture of USA Basketball,” Gen. Dempsey tells Staley.

“Revenue doesn’t drive everything, and it shouldn’t, especially in a non-profit,” Dempsey adds, emphasizing the importance of equality in resources among the men’s and women’s teams.

When asked his favorite memory from his tenure with USA basketball, Gen. Dempsey didn’t hesitate, telling Staley, “The seventh gold medal for the women’s national team.”

Listen to the full conversation with Staley and Gen. Dempsey on the latest NetLife podcast.