While fans mainly attend NBA games to see their favorite athletes perform, it’s the faces behind-the-scenes who transform a professional basketball game into a night they’ll never forget.
As the floor director and coordinator of game presentation for the Brooklyn Nets, Troy Press has made a career out of breathing excitement and joy into timeouts and halftime.
From overseeing the creation of new dance routines to arranging various talent and celebrity influencers, Press has obsessed over every detail to give fans something to remember.
In a one-on-one hour long interview with Kulture Hub, Press gave us some insight on his journey navigating the world of NBA entertainment, his aspiring career as an actor, and his passion for bringing people together to create everlasting moments.
On the court, you’ll find Troy rehearsing events and scheduling appearances for the Nets, but off the court, you’ll find him memorizing lines, hustling to become an established actor. Coming off his first feature film The Second Son, Press has been keeping himself busy with acting and improv classes to round out his schedule.
“If you’re not in the mix in New York City, I don’t know what you’re doing; there’s other cities to chill in.”
As I asked him about his journey, Press revealed his passion for interacting with people from all backgrounds. From having done gigs on ESPN Radio to hosting on Fox Sports 1 for events like Monster Jam, Troy explained his takeaways from his past experiences and how he applies them today.
“I realized I have this talent for being able to interact with people, and bringing smiles to everybody of all ages. I knew I kind of wanted to take performance to the next level, and that’s when I really started taking into acting.”
The world of entertainment is typically recognized as a diversified collection of crafts; whether you’re an actor, a musician, or even the floor director and head coordinator of game presentation for the Brooklyn Nets, there are a slew of nuanced differences and similarities among each profession.
When asked about the commonalities and distinctions between his roles as the leader of Nets entertainment and his endeavors as an actor, Press made it clear that at the end of the day, his job is to bring an experience.
“There’s so many times our amazing Nets entertainment team and crew are able to bring an experience for 18,000 or 19,000 people. Whether it’s making someone laugh off the dance cam, or seeing Brook Lopez [the Brooklyn Nets all-time leading scorer] get emotional for his tribute video… you rehearse it, you create it, and exactly like acting, you see it come to life.”
Analogously, acting on stage offers that same exhilaration of rehearsing, performing, and living with the results. Press said,
“I truly truly enjoy theatre because when the character/actor walks out onto that stage, the audience is living, breathing, and dying with that character. If I come out and I mess up, there’s a moment of me feeling some type of emotion, and the audience is there to live it with me.”
Because Press assumes more of a director’s role at Barclays, it clearly has helped him appreciate the other side of performance. Throughout the day, Press is the director, and in the evening, he becomes the actor.
With both of his positions offering him angled perspectives of the liveliness and excitement that comes from the fine arts, Press confirmed that it was his siblings, and specifically his sister, that first gauged his passion.
Press’ sister, Jessica, began as a Knicks City Dancer for three years, performed in a couple of Broadway shows, and eventually moved to Vegas then LA to pursue her acting career. She made her movie debut with John Stamos in My Man Is A Loser. And though his sister has stepped away from the limelight to care for her newborn son, there is no denying her influence in Press’ own professional career.
Due to his sister’s time as a Knicks City Dancer, she was able to land him an interview with the Knicks for an intern position the summer of his junior year in college.
Although he came ready to sell himself, Press soon realized that his family’s reputation had preceded his introduction. Because of his sister’s rigorous work ethic as a dancer, the Press name had blossomed into good fortunes, landing Troy the internship on the spot.
With his foot in the door, Press carried the same mentality, being as proactive as he could to create his own identity within the organization. When he went back to Wingate University in Charlotte for his senior year, Press was able to coordinate a position as the assistant game night floor director for the then-Charlotte Bobcats. His dedication as an intern had landed him a job working with the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan.
While Press did receive free Jordans from his time in Charlotte, his role was limited as an assistant director. He recalled how it felt, standing in the room as an assistant and seeing how MJ’s presence alone took the breath out of people, himself included.
Now, Press, who’s on the verge of completing his third year with the Nets, finds it funny that he’s the one at the head of the helm, directing and leading the show behind the NBA camera.
Press’ continual efforts to learn and grow has earned him a spot as one of the main floor directors for NBA All-Star weekend, the NBA’s largest event of the season. Press said,
“The Game Entertainment Committee selects their own ‘All-Star team,’ if you will. They bring in around 10-12 of their favorite and most reliable stage managers, people from the the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, etc … [But to grow from an assistant in Charlotte] to leading the charge, speaking to Team LeBron and Team Curry, telling them where they’re going to be standing for intros and how they’re getting off stage… To think about those moment from kind of being just somebody in the room, to actually owning the room and delivering was cool.”
Evidently, Press’ tenure with the now-Charlotte Hornets acts as a friendly reminder of his winding journey. Upon graduation, Press returned to the Knicks for a full-time position. But after a year, he found himself wanting more, ambitious to take on as much as he could. “A position opened up in Brooklyn just across the river, and I was looking to grow and take more on my plate and it felt like a great fit.”
Now, even though he’s at the top of his Brooklyn hierarchy, Press is even more attentive to detail and eager to learn. Whether he’s collaborating with celebrities for Brooklyn appearances, or picking the brains of accomplished actors, Troy Press has expanded his network to one day make a bigger splash in the acting industry.
“I think if you’re not networking in any field, you’re doing yourself damage. There are so many great people to learn from. I’m always open to learn, to take someone out to dinner or invite them to a game to learn about what they’re doing and how we can help each other… Most importantly though, just being good to people. You never know when the right time could click. I treat the custodian, the ushers, the security, the celebrities all the same. If I have a chance to bring a smile to somebody and change their day, I’ll do it.”
Open-minded and hungrier now more than ever, Troy Press is making his mark on the entertainment world. Whether it’s at Barclays or in front of the camera, he’s looking to create moments that’ll go the extra mile.
Follow Troy’s journey on Instagram and be on the look out for more moves to come.