The Sixers are leading the way in the NBA when it comes to putting women in charge. Meet Susan Williamson, vice president of business operations.
When the Virginia Cavaliers won their first national title earlier this month, Susan Williamson won it, too. She won the same way their most famous player ever, Ralph Sampson, won it; the way Sixers forward Mike Scott won it; the way Penn Charter product Sean Singletary won it. She’s been part of a Virginia team, too.
Because once you’ve invested years of your life into the daily, on-court dramatics of an athletic team, you’re a part of that team forever. Williamson invested. She was the Wahoos’ manager from 1999-2003. As a senior, she became the team’s first female head manager. She lived through bus rides and plane rides and joys and pains and sickness and, after she graduated, death.
She relived her college days during Virginia’s harrowing road to redemption, winning the title a year after becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. She shared the nail-biting and hand-wringing with a host of former Cavaliers players, including Roger Mason Jr., who spent 10 years in the NBA, and Travis Watson, who played in Europe.
They texted, and they phoned, and they mourned the fact that they couldn’t share it with Chris “Big Smooth” Williams, a Cavaliers teammate who died suddenly in 2017 at the age of 36.
Because that’s what teammates do.
Williamson, 38, was hired by the Sixers in 2014 as the vice president of marketing but now is the vice president of business operations, one of the highest-ranking women in the NBA and part of the team’s deep roster of women in prominent positions.