Tom Penn

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Tom Penn
Born Peoria, Illinois
Occupation Television personality, Sports executive, lawyer, executive, analyst

Tom Penn is the President and Co-Owner of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club.[1][2][3]

Penn is also an ESPN NBA Analyst, former NBA executive and Co-Founder of the Sports Leadership Institute.

Los Angeles Football Club[edit]

The Los Angeles Football Club is the Major League Soccer (MLS) team based in the greater Los Angeles area. Along with Penn, owners include Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Magic Johnson, Nomar Garciaparra, Mia Hamm, Tony Robbins, and Will Ferrell. The team was announced in October 2014 and plans to play its first game in 2018.

ESPN analyst[edit]

As an NBA analyst, Penn is regularly featured as a basketball operations expert on advanced analytics, salary cap issues, the NBA Draft, player trades and collective bargaining issues.[4]

Penn started working with ESPN during the 2010 NBA Draft,[2] and during the free agency period of 2010, Penn operated ESPN's cap machine on SportsCenter, where he manipulated a touchscreen to show potential destinations for LeBron James and other marquee free agents.[5] Penn has also been on ESPN using the ESPN Trade Machine to break down NBA trades.

NBA executive[edit]

In 2012, Penn was widely reported as being very close to accepting a position as GM of the Philadelphia 76ers.[6] Penn instead re-signed with ESPN. From 2007 to 2010, Penn spent four seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers as Vice President of Basketball Operations and Assistant General Manager. Penn is a top expert on the NBA salary cap and collective bargaining agreement.[7] Penn worked with General Manager Kevin Pritchard as they restored the Blazers from the "Jail Blazers" era. The Blazers won 54 games in 2008–09 and again reached 50 wins in 2009-10 in spite of a number of injuries to key players. During the summer of 2009, Penn was offered the General Manager job with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he turned down the job, deciding to stay with the Blazers after a promotion to Vice President of Basketball Operations.[8] Ten months later, Penn was fired in what one writer called a "drive by" shooting that warned Kevin Prichard might be next.[9] On June 24, 2010, the day of the NBA Draft, Kevin Pritchard was also fired by the Blazers.[10]

Penn worked for seven seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies as Assistant General Manager and Legal Counsel from 2000–07. For five of those seasons in Memphis, Penn worked closely with Jerry West and Chuck Daly.[11] The Grizzlies made the playoffs three straight seasons but never advanced passed the first round. In 1999, Penn worked as part of prospective NBA owner Michael Heisley's NBA acquisition team. Penn worked with Dick Versace and Heisley's team to help guide Heisley through the NBA acquisition process until Heisley ultimately purchased the Vancouver Grizzlies in May 2000.[12] After one season in Vancouver, Heisley moved the team to Memphis.

Sports Leadership Institute[edit]

The Sports Leadership Institute is a company that organizes private leadership summits for global sports owners, pro sports executives, major college ADs, and professional athletes. Penn founded the company in 2011, and they organize the Global Sports Summit in Aspen, Global Sports Management Summit in Chicago and Collegiate Sports Summit in Santa Monica.

Agent and lawyer[edit]

Penn was also a lawyer and a player agent. He worked mostly as a criminal defense attorney and tried 20+ cases including murder, armed robbery and other serious felony cases. He also was a basketball player agent and organized tours of Europe with free agent players. Upper Deck Company—the trading card company—was his sponsor for the tours and the team was called the "Upper Deck All-Stars." Fox Sports Chicago filmed a documentary movie about one of the tours called "Over There."[13] Penn was also an early devotee of "The Simpsons" television program and does a very respectable Homer Simpson impersonation.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital[edit]

Penn has been a member of the Board of Governors of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital since 2002. He helped found Hoops for St. Jude—an NBA Cares program that raises awareness and funds to fight childhood cancer.[14] For the 2010-11 NBA Season, Hoops for St. Jude features the endorsement of NBA stars Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, David Lee, Steve Blake, and Coach George Karl.[15] Penn also serves on the Board of Directors of the Children's Cancer Association, a Portland based charity that provides services and programs to children and families who are traumatized by cancer and other diseases.[16]


  1. ^ Brian Straus/Sports Illustrated (2014-10-30). "MLS unveils Chivas USA replacement in LA with star-studded ownership". 
  2. ^ Kevin Baxter/LA Times (2014-10-30). "Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm among owners of new L.A. pro soccer team". 
  3. ^ Nicholas Mendola/NBC Sports (2014-10-30). "Los Angeles officially given new MLS team; Magic Johnson, Vincent Tan among investors". 
  4. ^ Bruce Ely/The Oregonian (2010-11-09). "Former Blazers executive Tom Penn lands job with ESPN as a NBA studio analyst". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  5. ^ "How the Miami Heat land the BIG 3 in South Beach". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Tom Penn Reportedly Close to Becoming Sixers GM". 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  7. ^ "Tom Penn named VP of Basketball Operations". The Oregonian. 2009-05-18. 
  8. ^ "Tom Penn to remain in Portland Trail Blazers' front office - ESPN". 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  9. ^ Bruce Ely, The Oregonian (2010-03-17). "Canzano: Vulcans are hovering and Kevin Pritchard could be next". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  10. ^ Bruce Ely/The Oregonian (2010-06-24). "Kevin Pritchard fired as Trail Blazers general manager |". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  11. ^
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  13. ^
  14. ^ "Counterprogramming for a worthy cause - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  15. ^ "NBA Stars Join Hoops for St. Jude Starting Lineup to Fight Childhood Cancer - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  16. ^ "Children's Cancer Association - Leadership & Advisors". Retrieved 2011-02-20.