Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan announced today that the team has named Mitch Kupchak President of Basketball Operations & General Manager. Kupchak, who brings more than 30 years of NBA front office experience to Charlotte, including 17 seasons as an NBA General Manager, will be responsible for leading the organization’s day-to-day basketball operations.
“In every role and in every stop during his tenure in the NBA, Mitch Kupchak has brought the highest levels of success to his teams. He’s a proven winner,” Jordan said. “Having won championships as both a player and an executive, we have confidence that Mitch is the right person to lead our basketball operations, build a winning culture and bring sustained success to our organization, for our fans and for the city of Charlotte.”
“I’m excited to join the Hornets organization and I want to thank Michael for this opportunity,” said Kupchak. “I am well aware of the passion for basketball in Charlotte and throughout the entire state of North Carolina, and I am confident that we can build the Hornets into a successful team that our great fans can be proud of.”
Kupchak joins the Hornets after a very distinguished and successful career as a front office executive and player with the Los Angeles Lakers. He began working in the team’s front office in 1986 under two NBA Hall-of-Famers: legendary NBA executive Jerry West and Bill Sharman, the first person to win a championship as a player, coach and executive. Kupchak was named general manager in 2000, serving in that capacity for 17 seasons. During Kupchak’s tenure as general manager, the Lakers won four NBA Championships and six Western Conference Championships, posting a 747-607 (.552) regular-season record and winning 63 percent (111-66) of their postseason contests.
As a player and executive, Kupchak has been a part of 10 NBA Championship teams – three as a player (one in Washington and two in Los Angeles), and seven as a Lakers executive. While serving as general manager of the Lakers, Kupchak was responsible for the day-to-day management of the team, including personnel decisions, contract negotiations, salary cap strategy and scouting collegiate and international players.
The 13th overall pick in the first round of the 1976 NBA Draft, Kupchak played nine NBA seasons in Washington and Los Angeles before a knee injury forced him to retire. He averaged 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 510 regular-season contests. Kupchak earned NBA All-Rookie Team honors during the 1976-77 season and averaged a career-high 15.9 points (.512 field goal percentage) and 6.9 rebounds per game during Washington’s championship season in 1977-78. He was traded to Los Angeles in 1981, where he played a key role off the bench in the Lakers 1985 NBA Championship.
Kupchak returns to the state where he was an All-American standout collegiately at the University of North Carolina. He became the first freshman to play at the university after the freshman eligibility rules changed prior to the 1972-73 season. Kupchak was named 1975-76 ACC Player of the Year as a senior and is one of 49 UNC standouts to have his jersey (No. 21) honored and raised to the rafters of the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill (November 1994).