02 Jul, Saturday
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Bart Sharp: Right where he always wanted to be

BartSharpWhen he was growing up in Sandy, Bart Sharp adhered to a pretty strict diet—sports.

“I ate, slept and drank all of them,” he says. “I spent most of my childhood at the ballpark, but plenty of time on football fields and basketball courts as well.”

Like many young men, he dreamed of a career in professional sports, but even he couldn’t have guessed where that dream would take him. This past spring, Sharp was named the general manager of the Salt Lake City Stars, the NBA D-League team owned and operated by the Utah Jazz that is relocating from Idaho. The team will act as a developmental squad for the Jazz, joining 21 other NBA teams with a D-league franchise. League play will begin in November, with the Stars playing at the Lifetime Activities Center at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.

Sharp loves basketball and is naturally excited about the opportunity he’s been given. Like the rest of his family, he has closely followed the Jazz since the team played in the old Salt Palace prior to the construction of what is now called the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

“My parents had tickets to the Jazz at the Salt Palace, and we’ve always enjoyed watching the team and seeing the organization grow,” says Sharp. “I know how much Larry and Gail Miller have given to this community and this state. To be part of that organization is truly incredible.”

Sharp spent several years in the real estate industry, serving as director of sales and marketing for Holmes Homes, advancing to vice president of land development and acquisition with the company and eventually becoming division president in Idaho.

His appointment as GM of the Stars culminates a six year period when Sharp worked in several different facets of the Miller organization. In 2010, he joined Saxton/Horne Advertising, the ad agency arm of the Miller companies, serving as an account executive and director. In 2014, he was named vice president of marketing for the Fanzz sports merchandise retail stores, an important component of the Jazz organization, then moved to vice president of marketing services for Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment.

As general manager of the Stars—who are named such as a tribute to Utah’s first professional basketball team, the old Utah Stars of the ABA—Sharp’s focus will be “the overall financial health of the team.” That includes ticket sales, sponsorship and marketing.

“My role is to develop a brand within the market that will provide a great experience for our fans, while at the same time help us develop talent,” he says.

It’s heady stuff for a great sports enthusiast who never would have guessed, while he was a student at Alta High School watching Jazz games, that he’d become such a huge contributor to their organization.

that I’d be involved in professional sports,” he says. “I probably had the thought in the back of my mind, like any sports fan does, but I never saw a path to this. My Grandma Sharp was the biggest Jazz fan I’ve ever met, and though she passed before this position came along, I’m sure she’s happy. I want to make her proud of me as well.