Manager, Group Sales, Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario
In celebration of Black History Month, the LA Clippers are honoring the historical achievements of African Americans and telling the stories of Black staff members whose achievements and passions have shaped the organization’s culture. Clipper Nation, meet Corderius Seay.
Seay is originally from Dallas, Texas and grew up in a family that loved – and played – sports. He studied communications and sports management at Texas A&M, which led him to an internship with a collegiate summer baseball team. After learning from that experience how he could apply his love of sports to a sales role, Seay went to work. He held group sales roles for the Dallas Wings and Brooklyn Nets before moving to Southern California to work for the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. Now in his second year with the Clippers organization, Seay is involved in the team’s employee-led committee focused on promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion, LACED UP, as well as the organization’s Black Community Alliance.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF TALENT PURSUING A CAREER IN SPORTS?
Seay: “Don’t be afraid to take risks and always bet on yourself. That’s my story, being able to bet on myself and trust the work that I put in. Knowing I can do this thing, whether it’s with an NBA team or working with the G League team in Ontario.
To our demographic, just be yourself. I still haven’t changed. I say ‘aint’t’ because I’m from the South. My lingo ain’t changed, but that goes a long way in building trust and building relationships and rapport with clients. It helps with sales, just being my true self-not changing for anyone. Growing but not leaving your true self.”
“Overall, the Clippers organization cares, and that’s big…We’re not building a program just for name’s sake. We’re really going out and going through the work.”
HOW HAVE YOU FELT THE CLIPPERS CONNECT WITH THE DIVERSE COMMUNITIES THE TEAM SERVES AND REPRESENTS?
Seay: “On February 8 last year, my colleague Narbeh Pezeshkian and I represented the Agua Caliente Clippers at the Riverside Black History Month Parade, and we felt the impact on the city the culture has. Seeing thousands of people in Riverside come out to celebrate the annual event, the joy in their faces, the great time they had, meeting all of the Black-owned businesses from the community, and seeing the students at Riverside City College come over, it was impactful.
Overall, the Clippers organization cares, and that’s big. When you hear Steve Ballmer talk about how important this is and the impact that we can make as a compound unit, and building the LACED UP platform…We’re not building a program just for name’s sake. We’re really going out and going through the work.”
WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE PROUD OF?
Seay: “The proudest moment of my career would be putting on the first annual Black History Month celebration for the Brooklyn Nets.
I put in a lot of work, and we had about 1,500 people from different organizations come. We had a pre-game social, then at halftime, we had a Greek stroll showcase with three sororities and fraternities from the Divine Nine. It was a really good time, and we had a postgame celebration as well. Seeing that community come together and building that platform, and now it’s an annual event for the Nets, it definitely holds a special place in my heart.”
WHAT’S A CAREER OBSTACLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME?
Seay: “Leaving my comfort zone of Texas and transitioning to Brooklyn in 2017 was a big adjustment. I’m from the South, I know the South, and when I got to New York, it was a different life. The people spoke differently, they moved differently, they thought differently. The weather was different. I had to adjust and adapt. Now some of my really close friends are in New York, and it also helped with my move to L.A. in 2019 and leaving my comfort zone.”
“When I look back on the life of Dr. King, there is no way I can have any excuses for hardships or bad days that I may encounter. His life reminds me to always keep the faith and have a positive attitude.”
WHY IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Seay: “ ‘Until the lion tells his story, it will always favor the hunter.’ There are so many instances of American History being told through a lens that is historically inaccurate – mainly because we’ve left out a lot of important voices in our textbooks and curriculums. Black History Month gives us a chance to recapture the history and culture of Black Americans and the tremendous influence we’ve had on society. On one hand, it’s a chance to educate folks on the impact of Black people on society. And on the other, for many Black Americans, it’s an opportunity to celebrate our traditions. And for that, I’m always very humbled and grateful.”
WHAT IMPORTANT FIGURE IN BLACK HISTORY INSPIRES YOU, AND IN WHAT WAYS DOES THEIR WORK INFLUENCE YOUR GOALS IN LIFE AND WORK?
Seay: “Martin Luther King Jr., my fellow fraternity brother. His vision, and most importantly, selfless fight for equal rights is simply remarkable. When I look back on the life of Dr. King, there is no way I can have any excuses for hardships or bad days that I may encounter. His life reminds me to always keep the faith and have a positive attitude.”