We had the good fortune of connecting with Lee Altman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lee, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The concept of success is subjective and there is no set blueprint to accomplishing it.
My personal definition of success is being of service to others. Like the great Muhammad Ali said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” The most important factor in my professional success has been my passion and belief in the mission and message behind my work.
Throughout my career, working for several top sports organizations, I have been lucky enough to serve others through my work with athletes and entertainers. By empowering these celebrities’ voices and helping them utilize their significant platforms, we have been able to collectively make a difference.
When I worked for the NBA, I wrote a profile for NBA.com on former player Larry Sanders, in which he talked about his mental health struggles. In 2015, Larry retired from the league due to mental health issues. The cause of his retirement was widely misunderstood and in turn, condemned by fans. At the time, there was a stigma around the discussion of mental health topics. Rather than suffer alone, Larry spoke about his struggles to the world. His transparency helped open the door for other trailblazing NBA players, such as All-Stars Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan, who have since publicly discussed their own personal battles with mental health, and have in turn brought the discussion around mental health to the forefront of culture and conversation.
It was personally fulfilling to help Larry get his message out because it is important for kids to see their athlete role models like Larry, Kevin and DeMar speaking openly about mental health. The next generation will be more inclined to better understand mental health, openly discuss it with family and friends, and seek professional help when needed.
Knowing my work can make a difference motivates and inspires me to continue grinding, continue to pay my “rent here on earth,” and I feel this has been the key to my success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
“I just didn’t quit. That’s the only distinguishing quality from me and probably whoever else is going through this.”
Nipsey Hussle’s words on the song Perfect Ten resonate for me when I reflect on my journey as a professional. I am proud of my passion and work ethic. A career is a marathon and I’m still in my first leg. There have been difficult moments, but each time I’ve faced adversity, I’ve pushed forward and taken away lessons that have better equipped me to face future challenges. This attitude carries me as I grow as a professional. As Nipsey would say, “The Marathon Continues.”
he local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite location in the city is by far Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center). It is a priority stop for any hoops fan visiting Los Angeles. I have been fortunate enough to attend many Lakers and Clippers games at the arena in an official capacity for my job. When you enter the arena, the concerns of the outside world fade away under the bright lights. For a few hours, it’s just the poetic culmination of effort, competition and a bouncing ball.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am today without the generosity, wisdom and guidance of many. From my family to my friends, colleagues and especially the athletes that have trusted me and welcomed me into their lives, I am humbled and grateful for all of the love and support.