Around the Association: Lesley Rulloda

Around the Association: Lesley Rulloda
Photos c/o Lesley Rulloda

For quite some time, the shared dream of Filipino hoops fans has been to see a local get drafted and make it to the NBA. Many think that time is coming soon, what with players like Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Kiefer Ravena making it to the D-League, and Kobe Paras beginning his NCAA Div. I career. 

And yet, there are already Pinoys in the NBA. They may not be playing on the court, but in the front offices, practice facilities, and NBA HQ are many men and women representing three stars and a sun. 

In “Around the Association,” we’ll introduce you to some of them, as we celebrate the first-ever Filipino Heritage Week:

Name and position? Lesley Rulloda – Associate VP, Global Merchandising Group (Hong Kong)

Key responsibilities? Oversee the merchandising, licensing and retail business for Asia Pacific. 

Role/responsibilities before moving to HK? Focused on merchandise and retail marketing as well as eCommerce within the Global Merchandising Group in NY working on the domestic business and consulting with our international offices.  

Filipino background? Both parents are Filipino – Dad’s family is from Baguio and Mom’s family is from Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

First memory of watching the NBA? Watching Warriors games with my grandfather when I was growing up in San Francisco. 

Favorite team/player growing up? Golden State Warriors; Chris Mullin

Describe your path to working for the NBA: I started out working at an advertising agency in media in San Francisco, then moved my career to Macy’s focusing on media and marketing. Eventually Macy’s moved me over from SF to NY to focus on the eCommerce business and working on the multichannel strategies with the stores, which eventually brought me to the global merchandising group within the NBA.

Have you ever been star-struck when meeting a player/former player? Not as much star-struck, but more admiration and respect for the hard work the players put in every night during the season as well as off the court. What’s more striking is how tall they are in person. 

How do Filipino friends/acquaintances react upon knowing you work for the NBA? Given that the NBA is very popular amongst the Filipino community, everyone just wants to start talking about the players, games, etc. Seeing and hearing about the deep engagement Filipino fans have with the NBA makes me proud to be here.  

An in-game NBA moment that really sticks out in your memory? 2015 Finals, I had the fortunate opportunity to decorate the Warriors locker room after they clinched their title with their championship merchandise and see the team celebrate their big win.

Catch the two remaining Filipino Heritage Week games - MIN @ MIA on Saturday at 8am, and MIL @ GSW on Sunday at 10:30am. Check out this week's viewing guide for channel options. 

You can also pick up the NBA Filipino Heritage Week shirt at all NBA Stores, Titan shops, and the Titan webstore.