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Maker interview details

Profile image of Mark Tatum


  • August 16, 2019



  • Born: October 22, 1969
  • Birth Location: Vung Tau,


  • Favorite Color: Red
  • Favorite Food: Oxtail with Rice and Peas
  • Favorite Time of Year: Summer
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

"Find your passion and pursue your dreams."
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Sports executive Mark Tatum was born on October 22, 1969 in Vung Tau, Vietnam to Kim and Charlie Tatum. Tatum grew up in New York’s East Flatbush neighborhood. In 1987, Tatum graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, where he led the baseball team to the New York City public school championship at Yankee Stadium in 1984. In 1991, he received his B.S. degree in business management and marketing from Cornell University. Tatum went on to receive his M.B.A. degree in 1998 from Harvard Business School.

In 1991, Tatum was hired by Procter & Gamble as a corporate account executive and was later promoted to corporate account executive. In 1995, he joined the Clorox Company, where he served as a regional sales manager and oversaw the company's $100 million northeast sales territory. After graduating from Harvard Business School Tatum joined Major League Baseball’s department of corporate sponsorships in 1998. A year later, Tatum was hired by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as director of marketing partnerships. In 2009, Tatum served as executive vice president of global marketing partnerships at the National Basketball Association, where he managed corporate sponsorships for companies such as American Express, Anheuser-Bush Inc., and Kia Motors. In 2014, he was appointed deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the National Basketball Association and became the highest-ranking executive of color in a professional sports league. As deputy commissioner, Tatum is responsible for the NBA’s technology advancements, launched the Basketball Africa League, and developed programs in China and India.

Tatum is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and sits on the boards of USA Basketball, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, LA 2028 Summer Olympics, and the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors. He is chair of the Harvard Business School Club of New York and member of the board of directors for The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

In 2006, 2007, and 2008, Tatum received the Forty Under 40 Award from Sports Business Journal, making him a member of the publication’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame. In 2014 and 2015, Tatum was named to the list of the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business by Sports Business Journal. In 2016, Tatum was named to Forbes’ list of the Top 25 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.

Tatum and his wife, Lisa Skeete Tatum, have two sons: Tai and Kylan.

Mark Tatum was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 16, 2019.