DiscoverPlaymakers: On PurposeLife Lessons from a Sports Industry Titan (ft. Scott O’Neil, Former CEO, Philadelphia 76ers & New Jersey Devils + Former President, Madison Square Garden)
Life Lessons from a Sports Industry Titan (ft. Scott O’Neil, Former CEO, Philadelphia 76ers & New Jersey Devils + Former President, Madison Square Garden)

Life Lessons from a Sports Industry Titan (ft. Scott O’Neil, Former CEO, Philadelphia 76ers & New Jersey Devils + Former President, Madison Square Garden)

Update: 2021-11-01


Life Lessons from a Sports Industry Titan (ft. Scott O’Neil)

Learning priceless lessons from a master of leadership and team building


“Learn to be effective versus right. That’s the big takeaway in life, in relationships, in parenting, and management and leadership. I have a strong voice, and I come on sometimes like a freight train, and there were some things that I disagreed with, and it didn’t matter. All I had to do was be more effective.” —Scott O’Neil


With more than 20 years of experience in the NBA, NHL, and NFL, Scott O’Neil has earned a reputation as a leader of leaders. Formerly serving as CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, he’s also been president of Madison Square Garden and senior vice president at the NBA league office. He has made countless 40 under 40 lists, including Adweek and Sporting News, while also being tabbed as one of the most influential people, innovative executives, and admired CEOs in America, leading to appearances on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, and even co-hosting multiple shows on Bloomberg Television. He has a passion for company culture like none other, and genuinely puts people first as he inspires teams to live, work, play, and win.

Learn more about Scott O’Neil:


[7:43 ] Off the Track and Into the Sand

How we react when we fall off the path is everything

There are two ways to react when we’re stuck in life. Shove, push, heave, and grunt, or simply ask the people around us to lift us up and put us back on the path. One might make us feel strong and independent, but the other will actually get us somewhere.

[10:09 ] Fix Your Scaffolding

Want to serve the world? Start with a strong foundation.

Serving the people around us is like standing on a scaffolding to complete a project. If our own scaffolding is shaky, we can’t be as effective. Sometimes we have to take the time to improve ourselves before we can truly serve others.

[16:49 ] Soul, Mind, and Body

Achieving balance in day-to-day life

Scott advocates for doing something for your mind, body, and soul every day. Practice gratitude. Put your phone down. Get out and exercise. The foundation of a full and fulfilling life lies in these simple building blocks.

[21:17 ] The Platinum Rule

Leveling up the Golden Rule

Instead of treating others how you want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated. Everyone is different, and this individual care is how we get from just equality to true equity.

[25:43 ] Are You Listening or Solving?

Sometimes listening is enough

When someone comes to you with their problems, your first question for yourself should be, “Am I listening or solving?” Our instinct is often to immediately try to solve someone’s problems. But usually what they really need is simply someone to listen, to hear them out. That alone can go a long way.

[40:45 ] Be Effective Versus Right

The difference can change your life

Do you want to be the person patting yourself on the back and saying, “I was right about the Titanic,” as it sinks to the bottom of the ocean? Or do you want to put aside what you think and get to work fixing things? 



We'd love to hear your thoughts on today’s episode. Feel free to DM Paul on social or shoot him an email at

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Playmakers: Impact Unleashed is an all-access pass to the game-changers of today and the history makers of tomorrow. The show looks past the trophy cabinet and features a no-BS, inside look into the world of comeback, transformation, and impact unearthing practical tools and mindsets that we can all leverage to make a play in our own lives and careers.

Take a seat at the table with leadership expert, sports industry veteran, bestselling author, personal transformation coach, purpose igniter, and your host Paul Epstein in this inspiring, yet immediately actionable podcast. From stories of total defeat to the thrills of unimaginable achievement to the practices of mastering the inside game, each show will share a high-energy, prescriptive blueprint to unleash impact and drive success, significance, and purpose no matter your starting point.

Meet Paul at the 50 and make a play together!

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In Detroit, history was made when Barry Gordy opened Motown Records back in 1960. More than just discovering great talent, Gordy built a systematic approach to launching superstars. His rigorous processes, technology, and development methods were the secret sauce behind legendary acts such as The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

As a nod to the past, Detroit Podcast Studios leverages modern versions of Motown’s processes to launch today’s most compelling podcasts. What Motown was to musical artists, Detroit Podcast Studios is to podcast artists today. 

With over 75 combined years of experience in content development, audio production, music scoring, storytelling, and digital marketing, Detroit Podcast Studios provides full-service development, training, and production capabilities to take podcasts from messy ideas to finely tuned hits. 

Here’s to making (podcast) history together.

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Paul Epstein may not be a hard charging running back on the actual football field, but his list of high-profile wins in the world of sports will have you thinking that he could be.

Paul has spent nearly 15 years as a pro sports executive for multiple NFL and NBA teams, a global sports agency, and the NFL league office. He’s transformed numerous NBA teams from the absolute bottom in league revenue to top-two in financial performance. He’s broken every premium revenue metric in Super Bowl history as the NFL’s sales leader. He’s opened a billion-dollar stadium, helped save the New Orleans NBA franchise, and founded the San Francisco 49ers Talent Academy.

He's since installed his leadership and high-performance playbook with Fortune 500 leaders, Founders and CEOs, MBAs, and professional athletes.

Now, as Founder of Purpose Labs, keynote speaker, bestselling author, and host of the Playmakers: Impact Unleashed podcast, Paul explores how living and working with a focus on leadership, culture, and purpose can transform organizations and individuals anywhere to unleash their full potentia

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Life Lessons from a Sports Industry Titan (ft. Scott O’Neil, Former CEO, Philadelphia 76ers & New Jersey Devils + Former President, Madison Square Garden)

Life Lessons from a Sports Industry Titan (ft. Scott O’Neil, Former CEO, Philadelphia 76ers & New Jersey Devils + Former President, Madison Square Garden)

Paul Epstein, Connor Trombley, Detroit Podcast Studios, Scott O’Neil