Duke hires former Nike, NBA employee Rachel Baker as program’s first-ever GM to oversee NIL

The Duke men’s basketball program announced Tuesday that it has hired Rachel Baker, formerly of Nike and the NBA, as its first-ever general manager.

In her new role, Baker will “specialize in helping players enhance their personal and professional skill sets, capitalize on strategic partnerships, including NIL opportunities, and work to support players in navigating the opportunities and challenges that come with being a student-athlete at the highest level,” according to the school’s release.

Baker arrives in Durham after eight years at Nike and one season in the NBA. She was heavily involved with Nike’s grassroots partnerships and event strategy — especially with its EYBL circuit — and also worked on strategic initiatives involving Kevin Durant, one of Nike’s six signature athletes. During each time with the NBA, Baker was the marketing and brand lead on a season-long task force in helping rebrand the WNBA and offering digital solutions to reimagine the NBA All-Star Game and NBA Combine.

“The state of college basketball is growing and changing at an exponential rate,” Scheyer said in a statement. “Rachel is a one-of-a-kind talent with unique experience that will provide our players and their families with an unparalleled resource and partner as we navigate new frontiers of college basketball together. Through her work in the NBA and at Nike, she brings nearly a decade of expertise in the business of basketball to our staff, as well as her gifts in relationship and community building, leadership development, and experiential marketing. We can’t wait to see all she brings to our program in this newly-created position.”

Baker is the latest hire by Scheyer, who succeeded since-retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in early April.

“I could not be more excited to join Jon Scheyer and the entire Duke Basketball family,” Baker said in a statement. “We’re in the middle of such a transformative moment — not only for Duke, but for the college basketball landscape — and the chance to be part of it is the opportunity of a lifetime. Duke Basketball has remained rooted in honoring our story history while writing the future of the game. I am humbled and honored to join this tradition and can’t wait to get started.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Duke basketball)

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