New York Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb is the 2023 WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year. Kolb, in his fifth year as General Manager, earned the honor for the first time. He is the first New York executive to win the award.
“I am profoundly humbled to be named this year’s WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year by my esteemed peers, a group for whom I hold the deepest respect,” Kolb said in a statement. “This accolade, at its core, is a testament to the synergy of our team – from Clara and our ownership group’s unwavering trust, to lockstep partnership with Keia and our business team, the brilliance and unity our players exhibit on the court, the meticulous dedication of Sandy and our coaching staff, the strategy sessions with my confidant Ohemaa and our front office, and the ceaseless care factor from our performance staff and entire team.”
The voting panel that decides the award includes one basketball executive from each WNBA team. Kolb and Dallas Wings President, Chief Executive Officer, and Partner Greg Bibb had the most votes (eight each). Kolb, who received six first-place votes, won the award by earning the most total points (20). Bibb finished with 15 points. Connecticut Sun General Manager Darius Taylor (five ballots) was in third.
The No. 2-seeded Liberty will tip off its first-round playoff series against the No. 7-seeded Washington Mystics tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Note from the league’s release:
- New York finished with the second-best record in the WNBA (32-8) in the regular season and posted a .800 winning percentage, the highest figure in the franchise’s 27 seasons and an improvement from its .444 mark (16-20) in 2022. The Liberty also won the championship game of the 2023 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup.
- Ahead of the 2023 season, Kolb completed a three-team trade with the Sun and Wings in January, acquiring 2021 Most Valuable Player Jonquel Jones from Connecticut and veteran forward Kayla Thornton from Dallas. In February, Kolb signed free agents Breanna Stewart, a two-time WNBA champion and the 2018 MVP, and Courtney Vandersloot, also a WNBA champion and a five-time All-WNBA Team selection.
- Kolb signed three key Liberty players to contract extensions during the 2023 regular season, with 2022 All-WNBA Team selection and record-setting 2023 WNBA 3-Point Contest champion Ionescu, 2021 All-Star Betnijah Laney and Thornton agreeing to multi-year extensions through the 2025 season.
Previous WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year Winners
- 2022 James Wade, Chicago Sky
- 2021 Dan Padover, Las Vegas Aces
- 2020 Dan Padover, Las Vegas Aces
- 2019 Cheryl Reeve, Minnesota Lynx
- 2018 Chris Sienko, Atlanta Dream
- 2017 Curt Miller, Connecticut Sun