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Leveling Up Through Your Career With Joel Adams: VP Of Ticket Sales For The LA Clippers

Updated: May 29

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Joel Adams, the VP of Ticket Sales

Lance Tyson sits down with Joel Adams, the VP of Ticket Sales for the LA Clippers. This episode takes us through the hardships of his career progress and the unexpected challenges he has faced. He also talks about his journey in the professional sports industry. Lance and Joel have known each other for years, and Joel is mentioned in the first chapter of Lance's bestselling book, Selling is an Away Game! If you want to climb the ladder in your industry and career, this is a great listen with lots of insight on hard work. Learn how to hold people accountable, face difficult conversations, become a refined leader, and find the right leadership style for yourself and others.

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Leveling Up Through Your Career With Joel Adams: VP Of Ticket Sales For The LA Clippers

I am excited about this episode. The person we are talking to is my first book. There is a whole chapter dedicated to him in my book. At some level, you will learn through this. He is one of my heroes. I have known him for a lot of years. We have been in the trenches for a long time. Welcome, Joel Adams, Vice President of Ticket Sales for the LA Clippers. How are you doing, Joel?

Lance, thanks for having me.

We are going to get into one of my heroes in life. You are the Vice President of Ticket Sales, and you got some interesting business propositions going on. As Vice President of Ticket Sales, you guys are doing what? People who aren't in sports want to know this. You are lifting the impossible. What are you up to?

Before I get to that, I was prepping a little bit for this show. I was looking down at the names of those who have been on the show. I must be getting to an end of a list. Those are some legendary names. You got Scott O’Neil, Stehlik, and a few others. Thanks for having me on. There is a huge opportunity challenge we are working on with the Clippers.

My role is two buckets. One is selling the premium suites and lofts for our new building. I will back up a second. Our new building is coming in 2024. After the next NBA season, I'm sure everyone probably says, “They are working on a new building, but it is the best arena in the sports.” The second bucket is all of the season ticket sales, club seats, court-side seats, and general admission seats. I’m filling up the building for not only Intuit Dome coming out but also for the last year here at arena.

Don't let yourself off the hook either because there are a couple of things here if you are tuning in. We are coming out of COVID. Joel's responsibility is to build a team to sell them in one of the most competitive markets in the country, into a marketplace that has already seen a couple of new stadiums, be it SoFi with the Rams and the Chargers, and LA FC is building a new stadium. There are other competitive teams and the Dodgers. He had to build a team, a sales approach, and a pipeline to sell this new arena. I don't know whether you can disclose or not, but can you disclose how many millions that is or whatever you can? I won't put you on the spot if you can't. I can say it is a lot too.

Every market got its opportunities, challenges, and benefits. LA market got over 1,000 suites in it already, and some of the buildings like SoFi and Crypto. You got a couple of soccer and baseball teams. Finding our niche within the market for premium is the fun part we have been working through during COVID and post-COVID. The good part is we are going to have the best suites and premium experience out there in the market. When you are looking at dollars to spend. If you are a business, you are looking at us as a newer option led by Steve Ballmer. It is going to be the most tech-forward and the best place to watch a game.

This is important because you look at one of the most technologically advanced arenas that are going to come online. Whether you are in sports or not, one of the things Joel is talking about is his group sells one of the biggest revenue drivers in the stadium. It is a complex entertainment option. It is so B2B in a marketplace that is competitive, coming out of pretty strong COVID restrictions in the State of California. Joel, how many people are reporting to you in your leadership at the Clippers?

In total, it is anywhere between 40 and 50, depending on the time of year. You have a specialized team going after the suite sales. You have a little bit of a broader team going after the court side and club seats. You have an inside sales team who is able to pick up the rest. Within that, there is a layer of managers and directors that help as we are trying to do filling the building and sell all the seats.

It goes without saying a challenge in your job is while you are building this thing that is out in the future, 12, 24 months, or somewhere in between there. You also have to sell them to an existing building and service existing clients. It is almost like, over time, if you can imagine this in your mind, Joel is managing and leading this team in a moving train on one track. Over the period of the next 6 or 7 months, they are going to have to completely lift that train and get them on a new set of tracks they built. That takes a lot of balance and foresight. It is a tough thing to do.

We want to fill the dome up, and we are going to have a huge fan base there. We also want our fan base along for the ride for next season. We got a good team. We feel like we can compete at a high level. We want our fans to experience both.

ASO 10 | Career Progress
Career Progress: Joel Adams wants to fill the Intuit Dome with their huge fan base and entice them to go along for the ride even on the next season.

As we are talking about this, and we are going to go backward because a lot of people are interested, how did you get to one of the biggest markets, leading a big team in a competitive situation? You are hands-on with your salespeople. What is different now versus how you sold? I bring that up because when I met you, you were a good salesperson yourself. You don't like a lot of excuses and things like that. What is tougher or different about this market that your people are now as opposed to what you were when you started?

Early on, especially when I was in sales, it was a lot easier to get time, space, and meetings with people. Maybe people were less busy or less distracted. I was able to pitch people on why they should be a part of whatever building or team I was with. Now, as I talk to the sales team, it is hard. There are lots of distractions. Social media has become a bigger thing. Emails become less. From 8:00 AM every day, I get five emails from an AI bot. How do you separate yourself from that to eventually tell the story of why they should be a part of whatever you are selling? That is the number one challenge right now.

There are a lot of distractions in sales. Social media is becoming bigger and emails are getting less engaging. You should be able to tell people why they should be part of what you are selling.

It is hard to beat the frequency of an AI bot. You almost have to put the human back into it. Let's talk about your trajectory because a lot of people are like, “How the hell did he get there?” Where did you come from? Where did you start? Where did you break in sales? What was your first job? I don't even know that. I know where I met you, but what was that first breakthrough for you?

How far do you want to go back?

Bring it where you need to.

I was in college. I was interning for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. It was a Minor League baseball team here in Southern California. It was an operations internship. I was doing everything from pulling picnic tables to putting up the fast-pitch mannequin or whatever was needed. My boss was like, “I'm looking out for you in the business world of what you may do after you graduate. You might want to get some sales experience because it is important.” I'm like, “Sure.”

He puts me on their inside sales team. He gives me a phone book for selling the Quakes. You are talking about mini-plans and group tickets. I am bad at this mainly because I was given a phone book, and I cold-call people. It is hard. I immediately fail over and over again. I'm like, “I am not ever doing this. From a career standpoint, this is not me. I will go back to operation stuff and accomplishing stuff. This is hard.

I don't even know if I told you this, but when I graduated, Target was hiring for a manager. It is their entry-level managers' program. I'm like, “Solid base salary and benefits. This is why I went to college. This is it.” It is a long interview process. I get the job. Six weeks in, they let me go. My world is crushed.

Why did they let you go?

I like to think that it was their mistake, but it was probably my mistake because I was wearing red and khaki every day. I’m nothing against red and khaki. I probably wasn't into the job. It showed if I had to guess. When they told me they were going to part ways, I was in shock. I was driving home. I immediately had this feeling that I had let many people down. My parents put so much into my education. My mom homeschooled me. They paid for my college. I was like, “What am I going to tell my friends and family?” I got past that, and I'm like, “I got to go back to something I'm passionate about.”

It is the cliché.

I was like, “If that is what I’m supposed to do, I will do it.” Sports sales kept coming back, “This is what you got to do to break into sports.” I went to an open interview with 100 people with San Diego Padres. For whatever reason, I didn't think I performed well. Jonathan Tillman is the director at the time. Robert Davis was the inside sales manager. They hired me out of ten people. That is how I got my start. I can keep going if you want to.

That is where you and I met. I was with Justin Petkus. He was going through some emails. I said, “I sent you this email.” He goes, “Here is the dominator from the Padres.” Furby listened to the dominator. It was this killer process we put together to sell tickets. It was all built on different engagements. It was a marketing plan, a sales plan, and how to engage. He sent it over to me. That is when I started to engage with you. You got an inside sale.

Long story short, in most inside sales programs, if you are in pro sports, you understand. If you are not, what they do is they groom talent. It is almost like a Moneyball concept. They will take young talent and bring them into inside sales so you can get it done, and the performers get promoted. Thus, enter Lance and Joel together.

To be transparent, I was continuing from my Minor League days. I was bad at the beginning. For the first couple of months, it was rough. Robert Davis and Jonathan Tillman would tell you that. What I appreciated about this opportunity compared to the last one is that everyone cared. Everyone was like, “Let me give you some coaching here. Let me bring in a sales trainer like yourself. Let me help you get to where you want to go.” I'm like, “This is great. I could get better at this. I could work harder than everybody else. I will continue to get better, and they see it is a process.” At the time, it didn't feel like that. It was like, “I got to get better.” After 7 or 8 months, I’m like, “I could get good at this.”

Is that the point where you start to turn the corner, where you start to be consistent and make it to the top of the board? The way I remember, and I talk about it in my book this way, you were always talked about in the top tier. You have flashes where you move right to the top, back out at 2, 3, or 4, and flash at the top. You are always, average-wise, being the top tier. Do I remember that accurately?

That’s absolutely right. I was never great at anything specific. Education-wise in school, I was always B or C. I got cut from my high school basketball team. I’m like, “I could get good at this. I could work hard. I could be at the top.” For some periods of time, I was at the top. I dropped a few slots here or there. I don't know if you told this story before, but I was number four on the board once when you came for a training session. You called me over. You tell a story better than I do, but you got in my grill a little bit.

It is something like you should be ashamed of yourself and embarrassed. It was something assertive, but you and I had good currency. What I always remembered and know about you as a leader now is it’s like a Marine a little bit, in first, out last. There is never an argument for one thing. There wasn't even that outworked you. One of the leaders said something. As I remember, the backchanneling conversation is Joel is getting outworked right now. I'm like, “That can't happen because that is where he was going.”

Do you know Dan Rosenthal? He is with Elevate. You both have the calves in common. I remember the same conversation with Dan. He got where he was because he was willing to put more time in and work. Sometimes that is what it is about. Activity multiplied by selling skills is what gives a result. Activity is the only thing you can control. The skillset comes later. As you get better, you get more confidence. You start succeeding there. You are always one of their top guys. You got promoted at the Padres. What was that first promotion for you?

I was at the Padres for four and a half to five years. I went from inside sales team to account executive to inside sales manager for a short time.

You moved up in the sales ranks. You got a chance at management. That is when you got the call.

Things were changing in San Diego from an ownership level. The leaders that I was close to were going to the Miami Dolphins. I called some mentors. I was like, “Where are the best inside sales roles open now? I heard good things about the NBA. I want to try that out.”

Were you necessarily a basketball fan?

I'm a basketball fan.

Is it more because you are in the business?

I have always been a fan. I'm more of a baseball nerd. I have two fantasy baseball teams. I look at all the stats. Everyone was like, “Why do you like baseball?” I'm like, “I just love it.”

There is something about the never-ending game and never-ending clock. It is an interesting play, but you look at the NBA, not to interrupt.

I have been fortunate throughout my career. Some of the names I have already dropped guide me in the right direction. What to look for in the next opportunity that will eventually sustain long-term growth? People and culture. Look for that over money early on. I talked to the Cavs. Nic Barlage was there at the time. Eric Klaus and Brad Sims were there. They are good people. From a sports sales standpoint, I'm like, “This would be a great move for me to get out of my comfort zone.”

I was excited because I live in Ohio. I was like, “In town here, this is good.” What happened? This is an all-time classic story of all stories. It is classic. I still have your Cleveland number saved in my phone. You get the job. You are in a good spot, and they want you. This is great. What happens?

San Diego to Cleveland. I was like, “Yes, why not?” These are different cities. For the first couple of months, you are trying to build people’s trust. You are getting aware of your surroundings. I was trying to build the inside sales team. When we were 6 to 7 months in, we were starting to cook from a results standpoint. We were like, “We are going to add more people.”

LeBron James decided to come back. I like to take credit for selling out the building, but I will give that to LeBron. We sold out, as anyone would in that situation. You had less of a business opportunity from a career standpoint and from an inside sales manager's perspective to keep growing. I got a couple of calls from Jason Green around that time. He was like, “We got a spot in Miami for you here with the Dolphins. We got a new project.”

LeBron left Miami, replaced you, and you went to Miami at the Heat, not the Dolphins.

He has been following me my whole career. Now he is in LA.

LeBron James is following you at some level. At this point, between San Diego and Miami, you have a year and a half or maybe two years of management and leadership experience.

Yes, that is fair.

If you could name two things that you were exceptional at sales or you felt, how that transferred over into your leadership philosophy? What was the move there?

Some of the skills that make you a top seller don't translate. You learn that the hard way. It was like, “I will outwork everybody and do whatever is necessary.” That is good on some levels as a leader. You need that, especially at an early manager level. While we were on the Miami stage, I worked for Dave Baldwin at that point. He was pressing me like, “The devils are in the details” Everything you do from campaigns, people, and recruiting standpoint is so in my grill. I was uncomfortable with it because I had never quite had that.

All he was doing was telling me, “Everything needs to be the best. You need to hold people accountable this way. I will hold you accountable this way. You need to hold your team accountable this way.” It frustrated me a little bit, but I learned so much from that. If I didn't have that, it would have been harder in my next role.

Would you say there was a refinement to your approach? Your philosophy is like, “I'm going to outwork everybody. I'm going to out-hustle everybody. I'm going to have my team reflect that.” Dave Baldwin is now the President of the Chicago Fire. Jason Green is the Chief Ticketing Officer. Baldwin coached you more on that refinement. Is that what you are saying?

He showed me going from an early manager to being a director, which is where my career was in Miami, and what that level-up looks like. Being in charge of a smaller and less experienced team to being in charge of a more experienced sales team leading through innovation, I had to have that. How to have difficult conversations? How to challenge people? I needed that.

I was a little soft as a leader early on. I relied too much on the connection piece, and not enough on holding people accountable. I learned from you as a salesperson. This is something that didn't translate like the challenger sales model. If you want to be a challenger, you want to ask questions and create friction almost to make sure you get to where you want to go. It was harder for me to do that naturally. I was able to do it with customers all the time. It is harder to do it with people that I worked with every day, and that I was close to.

ASO 10 | Career Progress
Career Progress: With a challenger sales model, a leader asks tough questions and creates frictions to make sure they will get where they want to go.

I always felt that you were fierce at holding yourself accountable. It is an interesting concept. You still are. You are tough on yourself. You expect a lot. I always felt that as a younger person. It doesn't come off sometimes. Maybe it is the opposite. Sometimes I hear it from leaders all the time. It comes off on how they start the lead to refine that. Does that refinement start to help you be an executive and a leader?

Yeah. Jeremy Walls said this all the time in Miami. I'm going to butcher it a little bit. There are two extremes on the leadership spectrum. There is the hardcore leader that is always in your face, always holding you accountable, and always intense. That is one style. On the other extreme, you have the person who never tells you what you need to hear, who you like, and who you connect with.

How do you find the middle ground where people like working for you, and you connect with them, and care about them? If you do care about them, you also want to hold them accountable and show them what they are not doing right. At the next job or the current job, they can level up. I always thought about that a lot.

An effective leader genuinely cares about their team and holds them accountable in everything they do.

It is the difference between being liked and respected. That is what Jeremy was saying there. While you were in Miami, you had a little bit of a hiccup. It didn't lay out like you wanted to in Cleveland. You had to work. You had to hustle your way in San Diego. You had to work your way to the top, but you hit a massive obstacle. This ties back to my hero comment. Explain to bring through everybody what you start to go through in Miami. What happened health-wise to you? This is important to your story and brand.

It has become a big part of my story and something I always look back to. In 2016, I was a couple of years into Miami at that point. I was having trouble hearing in my right ear. A bunch of the leaders in Miami would go to lunch all the time and make fun of me. They were like, “What is wrong with you?” I don't go to the doctor. I don't get checked out. I had to get to the point where it was bad before I went to the doctor. I'm like, “There is something wrong with my hearing.” The doctor was like, “You are 30 years old. Your ear looks fine, but let me take an MRI.” I'm like, “Okay.”

I get the call like, “I need to see you now.” I'm like, “This has never happened to me before.”

I go in, and they show me a five-centimeter tennis ball. It is almost a brain tumor that I have that is causing my hearing to slip. When you hear the word brain tumor, you think the worst. You think, “What is that? What is that going to do? Am I going to die?” You start going into the lowest of thoughts. They were like, “We are going to be able to have surgery on it. We're going to be able to take it out. It is not cancer. You are fine there. You are going to lose hearing in your right ear, but you are going to be fine.”

After a little bit of freaking out for a couple of days, we get to that point. We get set up for surgery. We are on the path. Through the prep for surgery, they check your heart and make sure it is all good for going under. That is when they found cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and not related. I already had the bad news about a tumor in my brain. I'm like, “It is not great, but I could get past it.” The cancer part was another thing that dropped.

Where did they find the cancer at?

They found it in the chest. Luckily, they found it early. It hadn't spread much at that point. The doctors were like, “We’ll put the brain surgery on hold. Let's do chemo.” I did chemoradiation for a couple of months. I was fortunate to have great healthcare support from everyone at work personally at that time. I was able to get past it, and I was cancer free. They are like, “You should wait a few months to take the tumor out” I'm like, “No, I want to do this now.” I had to wait a couple of weeks, and I had surgery. It was a fourteen-hour surgery. I had a good outcome. I did lose my hearing, but that was it. For a couple of months, I was in rough shape from a recovery standpoint. You probably saw me during recovery.

I have a distinct memory of that after all this. I recall somebody saying to me, and this could be wrong, that the surgery was supposed to be long and maybe took you this long. The recovery was supposed to be this long, and it was Joel’s order. We were doing training with your team in a visitor's locker room or one of the locker rooms because there was no space. It was under some construction.

You looked at me and you go, “How do I look?” I go, “You look great.” You said something to the effect, “Can you tell?” At that time, you were struggling on your right side a little bit. You showed me that it was maybe drooping a little bit. It was tough to talk and hear. It is not drooping. I'm trying to use a word to describe it to the people who are tuning in. We were going hard and I go, “I got this. We are fine.” You are like, “I got to be here for my people.” You weren't trying to be a hero. You were being Joel. You were there. You are plugged in like normal. I was like, “Take it easy. We are good.” I babied you a little bit to piss you off.

With that memory of everything, it was hard for me to believe at the time. I knew everything that was going on. I was plugged into it. You were there. I was surprised to see you there that day. I remember Jason and everybody plugged in. Dave plugged me in. He was like, “He is back.” Ashley is telling me the same things. There is another thing that happened. Ashley, kick me if I say this wrong, but this is how I remember the story. You told me you were dating Ashley at the time. You guys were dating for a little bit, but not uberly long.

We had known each other for a long time and dated before. We got back together within that last year.

That was the year you found everything out?

She moved to Miami. We were officially dating. If you could imagine starting dating somebody and this happening to them. Can you believe it?

You knew it was her because she is your caretaker. She took care of you.

I quickly asked her to marry me right after.

I think not putting that into the story because it is a human story. It wouldn't tell the story like you needed to because you told me. Ashley was like, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

She was there every step of the way for you, which is a wonderful testament to who she is.

You got this career. You have to bust your ass. Your whole story is about that. You are a student. You always want to be coached and learn. You have never claimed the smartest person in the room, nor do you act that way, which is the mark of a true professional. You are a straight shooter. What did you learn about yourself going through that you didn't know at all? Did you have fear? Was there something there? Was there another gear? I think you have a lot of gears already. You had them.

Maybe I knew them before. Maybe it became more clear through the process. Who knows? My perspective on life changes, which is easy to say after something like that happens. What is important to you? The things I used to stress out about, I don't stress out about anymore.

Give me an example. That is cliché. People say stuff like that all the time.

My brain was conditioned to try to have the best results, bring the best campaigns, and do the best I could. Part of that is good because it strives to make the best you can professionally, but some of it is not good because you stress yourself out. You have a lot of anxiety about things I didn't necessarily know. When you have a health scare, it is like, “I don't have the health now.” Those things don't matter at all to me at that time. Now moving forward, not that those things don't matter at all, because they do, but putting it in the right perspective to go, “I have my family and friends.” That is the priority versus work and going through that.

ASO 10 | Career Progress
Career Progress: When you get sick, you get a new perspective in life. You will realize that career and money are less important than family and friends.

It has given you the perspective that we are stressed. I look at you now. I know we have had a lot of intense business conversations in the last several months over what is in front of the organization between you, Jason, objectives, the organization, and coming out of COVID. How has that affected your leadership? Are you able the prioritize things right away? Being up against a little bit, I know you know what is important, but I don't sense you getting stressed at the little things like that. Do you think it is continued to carry itself?

I would be lying if I forgot sometimes and got in the same headspace. I still fight that. From a leadership standpoint, it created more empathy. It is something I wasn't great at before, like seeing other people's situations and understanding where they are coming from. I had rocked my life to this point. It has all worked out. I have been fortunate from an education-professional standpoint. I hit a major roadblock. As a leader, when I see other people hit major roadblocks, it is more real to me. I was like, “That is the priority. You got to take that head-on.” Before, I would have gone, “That sucks, but I still need you.” It is the empathy piece that I find more now than I did before.

From there, you moved from Miami over that hurdle and a lot of people you were close to. You got an opportunity to get back home or back to California. That thus starts the journey with the Clippers of rebuilding their sales and getting to a point where the organization's positioned itself to build a new stadium, and you sell into it. Talk about that transition for a minute.

That was a tough one. There were a lot of people in Miami that I was close to. We had a great thing going. There was no income tax in Miami. Ashley and I started to build a life there, and we enjoyed it. Jason got the VP job. He is from California. I'm from the LA area. We have been to a few different spots together. He asked me to come with him. The Clippers were going through an interesting time where they were transitioning from the Lob City, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul era to maybe a lower demand situation for the Paul George and Kawhi stuff.

It was an opportunity to learn how to create a staff and processes and transition a whole group of people to thinking about things a different way. I had a lot of conversations with different people. From a long-term career perspective, Miami is more the people I'm comfortable with and the roles I have been doing for a couple of years. The Clippers represented a challenge. It is something I didn't know if I would be good at yet. By broadening my leadership capabilities, in the long run, I could hopefully take on more than I would if I stayed in Miami. After a tough call, I made the move. I'm grateful I did.

It sounds like it was the advancement of the strategy and more of the executive piece that was coming quicker in one role versus the other. On top of that, I also would go without saying that one of your characteristics is loyalty. You are loyal to the group of people you are loyal to. You had a strain on loyalty because you were close to the people in Miami, but you and Jason had been together, not maybe as a team, but you worked together since you were younger. There was some loyalty there. Sometimes every decision is tough. I remember that time. That was tough for Jason to get there and tough for you.

Over the last four years now, being through what you have been through, the health scare, the trading for you and LeBron, and this work ethic you have, how have you evolved now at the Clippers? What would you say is different about you than when you first got there? What is more of the same? What have you discovered? All questions are wrapped up, but it helps.

My role has evolved from a director of sales overseeing a sales team to now being vice president overseeing multiple leaders. As a director of sales, I was coming into an organization where I didn't have any trust built yet with anyone outside of Jason. Doing that on that scale and learning how to get a group of new people and a culture to trust me was hard. That took probably six months. Any new organization doesn't care what you did before. What can you do for me now? I had a ton of support, but I also wanted to prove everything.

When joining a new organization, the people within it will not care what you did before. Get all the support you can get and prove everything you can do.

From a leadership angle, I had high standards, and that was good what I had before. I was able to learn how to fit in with the group but also hold people accountable at the same time. I was able to learn on the fly what it meant to come into a new culture and create new processes and teams but also do it within the structure of what’s currently there. In doing that, I had Jason, who I trust as a leader. I like working for him because I follow him around with the last three jobs. Learning from a new group of people and doing it on my own at some level has been what I have learned the most.

Joel held the story. You said something at the beginning. We’re now at the end of the list. There is not enough time. This is where it is. Those people you mentioned made it to the book anyway. That is an amazing story. You are one of my heroes. You are a person I love to talk to and talk to periodically. I always appreciate the trust. I have a couple of last questions, and I ask everybody this. If you had to pick a song at this point, because you have been through a lot at a young age, that defines your life, like a theme of a song to define your life, what would it be and why?

I will pick two.

I'm going to make you pick one of the two. You give two, but you are going to have to pick one.

It means something to me. Ashley and I's first dance at our wedding, which was a culmination of getting through the health stuff. I’m marrying the love of my life, which was a huge moment for me. We did Latch by Sam Smith. That one sticks out to me as something that is important to me. Anyone who knows or is close to me is like, “Joel loves rap and hip hop.” That is something people wouldn't expect and be like, “What would your walk-up song be?” I get that question a lot. Coming from the West Coast, Dr. Dre is the best. Dre is something that I still like quite often.

If you had and you got some young ones on the way. Let’s say they were 10, 11, and 12, a little bit older than they are now because they are a little younger than that. They said, “Dad, what is it mean to be successful?” What would you tell a 10, 11, or 12-year-old?

There are a few things my parents instilled in me early on. That is be careful who you hang out and spend time with because you eventually become them. That will lead to success. If I try not to give a cliché, working hard is the answer. That is where I would go firstly because, from a personal best friend group of 5 or 6 people that I developed through college, from my wife, and from people I have worked for and alongside, that is the biggest thing.

Last question. Besides the book you are in, I'm not saying you do, but if you had to give somebody a book that would mean something over time to him, what would it be?

A little bit of a recency bias since we talked about the health stuff. It is Outlive by Peter Attia. It has taken a proactive approach to your health and a little bit more on the personal side of things. From a business side, there are many. A couple of your guests have mentioned this. It is How to Become a Rainmaker by Jeffrey Fox. It helps me with my confidence.

Joel, I'm glad we finally got to do this. I can't wait to get it out. I appreciate you being on. Thanks for being on the show.

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About Joel Adams

ASO 10 | Career Progress

Joel began his sports career in 2007 as an intern for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and has since developed in ticketing by working in the MLB, NFL, and NBA. Before joining the LA Clippers, he oversaw business and membership development with the San Diego Padres for four seasons. From there, he spent one season with Cleveland Cavaliers as an Inside Sales and Recruiting manager. Once Joel began working with the Miami Dolphins for four seasons, he oversaw business development in a senior role before he took over the premium sales team as a Director.

In 2018, Joel joined the Clippers as Director of Ticket Sales, where he focused on bringing in new ticket sales revenue and oversaw the premium sales team. After being in this position for two years, Adams was promoted to Vice President of Premium Sales, solely focusing on Intuit Dome, the future home of the LA Clippers that will open in Inglewood. Here he oversees a team that delivers suite and premium seating revenue. He plays an integral role in developing the new arena's future hospitality and fan experience, but his growth and leadership don’t stop there. Joel was recently promoted to Vice President, Ticket Sales in November 2022.

Joel received his B.S. from Azusa Pacific University. He resides in Simi Valley with his wife Ashley and his children Camden and Hudson.


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