NBA executive and URI alum visits campus

Dion Cocoros, a University of Rhode Island alumnus and senior vice president of production for the National Basketball Association, was welcomed back to Kingston on Monday night to speak to students from the Harrington School of Communication and Media Studies.

Cocoros has served as a producer for five sports documentaries including, “The Dream Team,” “the Announcement,” “Bad Boys,” “Once Brothers” and “the Doctor,” an Emmy Award winning film about the story of Julius Erving.

Over the past two semesters at URI, Cocoros has returned to not only speak to students but also show some of his award winning documentaries. In the spring when Cocoros came to campus, he showed the film, “Bad Boys,” the story of the hard-nosed Detroit Pistons during the 1980s and 1990s.

On Monday the film, “Once Brothers.” was shown to students. “Once Brothers” tells the story of Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic, two European born, NBA basketball players that were close friends until tensions between Divac’s home of Serbia and Petrovic’s home of Croatia broke their relationship during the divide of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.   

After the screening of the film, students were given the chance to ask Cocoros questions about his career and time at URI.

Cocoros graduated from URI in 1990 with a degree in journalism. He said that during his time at URI you had to choose between print or broadcast journalism. At the time he had chosen print journalism.

While at Rhode Island, Cocoros wrote for the Good Five Cent Cigar. However, he did not cover sports. “I covered the opening of the new library, and town council meetings,” Cocoros said. “I covered, maybe one baseball game,” he said with a chuckle.

Cocoros has been with the NBA since he graduated from URI. He started off as a production assistant for “NBA Inside Stuff,” a cable televised weekly TV show that covered the NBA. Cocoros said he did anything that they needed him to do. “The rush that I got to be working there, I knew I was in the right spot,” he said.

Over the years he had covered some of the NBA’s biggest stories. He covered Michael Jordan’s first championship and Magic Johnson’s announcement of being HIV positive. Cocoros said that storytelling is what made him fall in love with his job. “The best part is the story telling,” Cocoros said. “I love to tell stories. It is rewarding to be able to archive the history of the league and then bring it to life through storytelling.”

Cocoros shared with students what his key to success is: passion. “Without a doubt you got to be passionate about it,” Cocoros said. “I don’t care if you are an accountant at a bank or an intern at a hospital, if you don’t love what you do it’s tough to succeed. I got lucky that I got into something I was passionate about. Just be passionate and be open to learning.”

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Stone Freeman
Stone Freeman is a junior at the University of Rhode Island majoring in journalism. He can be found at either the Ryan Center, Boss Ice Arena, Meade Stadium, or Bill Beck Field covering URI athletics for the Good Five Cent Cigar and WRIU 90.3 FM. To contact Stone you can email him at stone_freeman@my.uri.edu or on Twitter @StonePFreeman.