The Washington Wizards take pride in developing young talent, be it NBA players, coaching staff or executives within the organization. One such executive is Amber Nichols, the 29-year-old general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards’ G-League affiliate.
Nichols’ meteoric rise to her current position has now earned her national recognition. This week, Nichols was named to Forbes’ annual ‘30 under 30’ list, commending 600 young professionals in categories ranging from sports to education to finance to art and style.
This past January, Nichols became just the second woman to be named GM of G-League team, though she’s been a pivotal member of the basketball staff at Monumental Sports for quite some time.
“I interned here as [a] basketball operations intern for the 2016-17 season,” Nichols said in a recent episode of And One with Chris Miller. “And from there just kind of worked my way up, did a stint at the [NBA] Players Association and [NBA] league office. And then when the Go-Go had their inaugural season in 2018-19, I interviewed for the director of basketball ops role and was able to come back and be a part of the Go-Go.”
To be included in the 30 Under 30 list is a high honor. Notable alumni of the list include Rihanna, LeBron James and Mark Zuckerberg.
Tommy Sheppard, GM of the Wizards, has been alongside Nichols throughout her rise to the top, from the days she was an intern to her current post.
“We knew Miss Amber had a future here 100 percent, and I'm very, very proud of her,” Sheppard said. “She has done an amazing job with her time with the Go-Go, but you know, I would consider it part of the Wizards. You know, she scouts for us. She's in charge of very big investments … the assignment players, the exhibit 10s, the two-way players, that's under her. Her responsibilities are great, but I know her skill level far exceeds anything we could possibly imagine.”
Nichols went to the University of Richmond where she played basketball, then went to the University of Georgia to get her master’s degree. Once she had degree in hand in 2015, she made a stop with the Sacramento Kings as a ticket sales representative, before eventually landing within the Wizards’ pipeline.
“I always just try to learn from the people around me, and I'm always receptive to learning,” Nichols said. “And I think I do a good job of just watching the people around me and above me, just picking up little things that I think will help me be so successful in my career.”
Though Nichols has now gotten recognition by Forbes, her ascent in Washington is well-known amongst Wizards employees. Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. made a special point of recognizing Nichols during his postgame press conference after Wednesday’s win over Minnesota.
“Oh, before I leave, just one thing,” Unseld Jr. said. “It just came out, just saw this: wanted to shout out Amber Nichols. She’s our GM of the Capital City Go-Go. She’s made the list of the Forbes 30 under 30, so just kind of wanted to shout her out. She’s done a heck of a job, and I know she’s gonna continue to do a terrific job for not only the Go-Go but for our organization as well.”