Posted: January 30th, 2012 | By: Linda Payne
This spring, the Wake Forest University School of Law will welcome back Gary Way, general counsel to Nike Global Sports Marketing organization, as part of the “Conversation With…” series.
Way, who has worked with star athletes Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Tiger Woods, among others, will speak to the law school community at noon on Tuesday, April 10, in Room 1312 of the Worrell Professional Center.
“I was certainly flattered to be invited the first time, and I am further flattered that they would invite me back,” said Way, who visited the Winston-Salem campus as part of the “Conversation With” series in 2002.
“I’ve been blessed by my opportunities in life, and I feel this is my way of giving back. I enjoy talking to law students because I love their enthusiasm, and I hope that I will be able to impact them like many of the speakers I have heard in my career.”
Way manages the sports marketing law practice group based at Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. He is responsible for covering all aspects of sports marketing-related legal affairs, but usually focuses on contract negotiations with the National Football League, the Brazil National Soccer Team and the National Basketball Association as well as BCS and NCAA championship teams. He has spent the past 10 years drafting and negotiating many of the most lucrative and cutting-edge contracts in sports marketing, which is a dream come true for the former Rutgers University football player.
“It’s like getting paid to eat ice cream,” Way said. “I’ve always had an interest in sports in my personal life, but to be involved in many of today’s sports and front-page news stories in my professional life is exciting. I love the diversity and the challenges that come with working with so many different athletes.”
Prior to joining Nike in 1996, Way spent 10 years in the NBA legal department while concurrently serving as a U.S. Army Reserve officer. He also worked as a litigation associate at Haight, Gardner, Poor and Havens in New York City. He earned his law degree from New York University after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, where he was a Distinguished Military Graduate. He is a member of the board of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette Universityand a frequent speaker and writer on sports marketing legal topics.
“Gary has had a very varied career, and I think our students will enjoy meeting someone who has really excelled in their career,” said Professor Timothy Davis, who also serves on the board of directors for the National Sports Law Institute. “He is a very gracious and kind person who has many interesting stories to tell. Our students can learn a lot from him because the skills he uses for contract negotiations can be transferred to all areas of the law.”