Loughborough University London academic experiences first NBA Championship with the Toronto Raptors

Loughborough University London’s Dr Steve Swanson has recently been a part of the Toronto Raptors’ title run to become the first non-American team to win the NBA Championship.

Dr Swanson, Director of the Sport Business and Leadership MSc programme, came to know Head Coach Nick Nurse through coaching together in Brighton in the early 2000s and remained friends as they led rival teams in the British Basketball League.

Steve has kept in close contact with Nurse over the years, and during this season in particular (Nurse’s first as an NBA Head Coach), exchanged thoughts relating to leadership, innovation, and championship mindsets.  

Upon reaching the NBA Finals, Steve was invited by Nurse to be a part of the team’s historic best-of-seven series win over the Golden State Warriors. Reflecting on this experience, Steve shared:

“To have the opportunity to witness this tremendous run by the Toronto Raptors has been an unbelievable experience. Coach Nurse’s innovative and contemporary leadership approach has played an integral role in propelling this club to their first-ever championship. Witnessing millions of diverse people come together to support and celebrate this team is a true testament to the power of sport and its ability to unite communities, and in this case, an entire nation.”

The Institute for Sport Business also has research streams linked to leadership, innovation, and culture, including the recently published book entitled ‘Fostering Innovative Cultures in Sport’ authored by Swanson and co-authors Professor James Skinner, and Professor Aaron Smith.

Dr Swanson was previously an invited guest to the Raptors pre-season training camp in Vancouver, as Loughborough University looks to strengthen its working relationships with global sporting brands.

View the press release on the Loughborough University website for further information and resources.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport.

The University has been awarded five stars in all areas according to the independent QS Stars university rating scheme. It has also been named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2019 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019 and the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2019, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide in 2017.

Loughborough has risen to 5th place in the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Table of Tables’ 2019 and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014). In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Specialising exclusively in postgraduate-level study, Loughborough University London is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers cutting-edge master’s and PhD degrees, as well as business collaboration, research and enterprise opportunities.

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.