Daryl Morey

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Daryl Morey
Born (1972-09-14) September 14, 1972 (age 47)[1]
EducationNorthwestern University
MIT Sloan School of Management
EmployerHouston Rockets
TitleGeneral manager
PredecessorCarroll Dawson

Daryl Morey (born September 14, 1972) is an American sports executive who is the general manager of the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a strong proponent of analytical methods, having created the true shooting percentage statistic, and co-founded the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Morey's basketball philosophy, heavily reliant on analytics, favors three-point field goals over mid-range jumpers. This style has been dubbed "Moreyball", as a nod towards Michael Lewis's Moneyball.

During his tenure as general manager for Houston since 2007, he has posted the second most wins in the NBA— behind only the San Antonio Spurs—and since the blockbuster trade bringing MVP James Harden to the Rockets, he has posted the third best record—behind only the Spurs and Golden State Warriors.[2]

Early life[edit]

Morey was born on September 14, 1972 in Baraboo, Wisconsin. He graduated from Highland High School in Medina, Ohio[3] before receiving a bachelor's degree in computer science with an emphasis on statistics from Northwestern University in 1996,[4] as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.


Morey began his career as a principal consultant with an emphasis on sports at EY-Parthenon, a leading strategy consulting firm. He was also a statistical consultant with STATS, Inc with a focus in sports.

After EY-Parthenon, Morey served three years as SVP Operations for the Boston Celtics. While with the Celtics, he was given much responsibility for basketball operations, including ticket pricing and the development of analytical methods and technology to enhance basketball decisions related to the draft, trades, free agency, and advanced scouting of opponents for the coaching staff.[citation needed]

Then-Houston Rockets' owner Leslie Alexander named Morey assistant general manager of the Houston Rockets on April 3, 2006. He succeeded Carroll Dawson as general manager on May 10, 2007. His hiring followed the Moneyball trend of employing more advanced statistical-based analysis in addition to the traditional use of qualitative scouting and basic statistics.[5] Several teams have hired executives with non-traditional basketball backgrounds, but the Houston Rockets were the first NBA team to hire such a general manager. In the fall of 2012, he and the Rockets acquired now-All-Star and 2017-18 league MVP James Harden via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder. During Morey's tenure, the Rockets have not had a losing record and have advanced to the playoffs 9 times, including to the Western Conference Finals in 2015 and 2018. He was also named the NBA Executive of the Year in 2018.[6]

Morey is the co-chairperson for the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. He is also an avid Esports supporter, has attended MLG (Major League Gaming) events[citation needed], and is part owner of Clutch Gaming, the Houston, Texas based League of Legends Championship Series eSports team.[citation needed] Morey is also passionate about musical theater. He commissioned and produced the basketball themed musical Small Ball, which opened in April 2018 at the Catastrophic Theater in Houston, Texas.[7]


The Undoing Project[edit]

Author of Moneyball, Michael Lewis, chose Daryl Morey as the new nerd-hero at the center of his 2016 book, The Undoing Project. Whereas Moneyball highlighted the plight and success of Billy Beane as GM of the Oakland Athletics in 2003, The Undoing Project reveals Daryl Morey as the underdog king of basketball, making use of a similar analytical method to acquire undervalued talent as Beane did with the A's to produce a forceful team. Lewis uses Morey as a real-world example of one who has exemplified ideas introduced by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two Israeli psychologists whose work pioneered the field of behavioral economics.[8][9] The psychologist duo defined a simple, two-part distinction of the way the brain makes decisions: System 1 and System 2. A more intuitive, subjective, fast, and efficient process, System 1 represents the brain's capacity to make split-second choices, often using personal experience to guide decision-making. System 2, however, characterizes a slower, more analytical process of reasoning to reach a conclusion. Michael Lewis points out in The Undoing Project how Daryl Morey observed basketball experts of the time making awfully subjective assessments in looking at basketball players. Shifting the Rockets' scouting strategy to look at hard data over simple observations, Morey implemented a more System-2-based approach to the team's hiring practices. This strategy is thought to be critically linked to the Houston Rockets' recent success.[9]

Twitter comments on Hong Kong[edit]

On October 4, 2019, Morey tweeted in support of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, drawing criticism from Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who said that while Morey was the best general manager in the NBA, the Rockets were not a political organization.[10][11][12] Morey later deleted the tweet.[11][12][13][13] In mainland China, where the Rockets have an extensive relationship after the selection of Yao Ming in 2002,[14][10] Morey's tweet resulted in the Chinese Basketball Association's suspension of its relationship with the Rockets and the issuance of a statement of dissatisfaction from the consulate office of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Houston.[14][15][11] The Associated Press said that the reactions underscored Beijing’s sensitivity about foreign attitudes toward the protests.[14]

A few days later, Morey and the NBA each issued a separate statement addressing the original tweet, with Morey saying that he never intended his tweet to cause any offense and the NBA saying that it was regrettable.[14] The statements were criticized by US politicians and third-party observers for the perceived exercise of economic statecraft by the PRC and insufficiency of the NBA's defense of Morey's tweet.[16] Critics also contrasted the league's disparate response to Morey's tweet with its history of political activism[17] and compared the incident to an October 2 South Park episode "Band in China" which parodies the self-censorship of the American entertainment industry to meet PRC censorship demands.[18] The statements also drew criticism from PRC state-run media for their perceived insufficiency, as Morey did not apologize.[19][20] NBA commissioner Adam Silver later defended the league's response to the tweet, supporting Morey's right to freedom of expression while also accepting the right of reply from the government of and businesses from mainland China.[21] Further fallout from the tweet included the decision by China Central Television to cancel the broadcasting of two NBA preseason games,[22] pro Hong Kong protest demonstrations held at preseason games in the United States involving teams from the Chinese Basketball Association,[23][24] the cancellation of NBA Cares community events in Shanghai,[25][26] criticism by US President Donald Trump of the perceived double standards by the reactions of specific coaches to NBA response relative to their past criticisms of his policies,[27] and the suspension/termination of all mainland Chinese sponsors of the NBA.[26][28] An article by Fox Business said that the NBA would look to Africa and India for growth if the league were to sever ties with mainland China as a result of the tweet.[29]


  1. ^ Daryl Morey [@dmorey] (September 14, 2012). "Everyone who is anyone's birthday is today, right @DilshadVadsaria? MT @jpharris51 Happy bday @dmorey - today is my birthday too! #RedNation" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Kram, Zach (July 16, 2019). "The 30 Facts That Will Make or Break the Harden-Westbrook Rockets". The Ringer. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  3. ^ Windhorst, Brian (March 8, 2009). "NBA Insider: Going way beyond the box score". cleveland.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 9, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ https://www.thestar.com/article/345327 Morey's 'Moneyball' approach paying off
  6. ^ "Rockets GM Daryl Morey, named executive of the year, faces new challenges". HoustonChronicle.com. June 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Topham, Pnina. "BWW Review: Clutch Play SMALL BALL Delivers for Catastrophic Theatre". BroadwayWorld.com.
  8. ^ Lewis, Michael (2003). Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-05765-8.
  9. ^ a b Lewis, Michael (2016). The Undoing Project: A friendship that changed our minds (First ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-25459-4.
  10. ^ a b "Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweets support for Hong Kong protests, prompting response from owner". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Polacek, Scott. "China Basketball Suspends Work with Rockets After Daryl Morey's Hong Kong Tweet". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Feigen, Jonathan; Chronicle, Houston (October 5, 2019). "Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta shuts down GM Daryl Morey's Hong Kong tweet". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 6, 2019. I have the best general manager in the league," Fertitta told ESPN. "Everything is fine with Daryl and me. We got a huge backlash, and I wanted to make clear that [the organization] has no [political] position. We're here to play basketball and not to offend anybody.
  13. ^ a b "Rockets GM Daryl Morey in hot water after Hong Kong tweet". USA Today. October 5, 2019 – via MSN.com.
  14. ^ a b c d "Rockets' general manager's Hong Kong comments anger China". Associated Press. October 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "Chinese groups suspend ties with Rockets after Daryl Morey's tweet". Rockets Wire. October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  16. ^ Some relevant sources include:
  17. ^ Some relevant sources include:
  18. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (October 7, 2019). "'South Park' Scrubbed From Chinese Internet After Critical Episode". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  19. ^ 陈远丁; 黄钰; 席莉莉 (October 7, 2019). "莫雷、NBA声明均未道歉 网友:这是对中国的无视和挑衅" [Morey & NBA did not apologize; Netizens: It's provocative behavior toward China]. 人民网 (in Chinese). Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "央视快评:莫雷必须道歉" [Morey Must Apologize]. CCTV (in Chinese). October 7, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  21. ^ "NBA head Adam Silver defends response over tweet uproar". Reuters. October 8, 2019.
  22. ^ 王晓遐 (October 8, 2019). "中央广播电视总台央视体育再发声明 立即暂停NBA赛事转播安排" [CCTV Sport Channel issued another statement: immediately suspending NBA live broadcasts]. 央视网 (in Chinese). Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  23. ^ "Protesters show support for Hong Kong at Wizards game". AP News. AP News. October 9, 2019.
  24. ^ "China demonstrators protest at Wizards, 76ers games vs. Guangzhou". ESPN. ESPN. October 9, 2019.
  25. ^ Blennerhassett, Patrick (October 8, 2019). "Brooklyn Nets' NBA community event in Shanghai abruptly cancelled by government as China political storm rages on". South China Morning Post. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  26. ^ a b "Lakers' NBA Cares event in Shanghai canceled amid China rift". ESPN.com. October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  27. ^ "Trump criticizes Kerr, Popovich for China reactions". Reuters. Reuters. October 9, 2019.
  28. ^ "All of the NBA's official Chinese partners have suspended ties with the league". CNN. October 9, 2019.
  29. ^ "NBA eyes India & Africa if China closes up over Hong Kong tweets". Fox Business. Fox Business. October 10, 2019.

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