By James Moore
RALEIGH - Amber Nichols grew up in Raleigh and was a standout girls’ basketball player at Needham B. Broughton High School.
After receiving offers from West Virginia, Miami, USC, and a few mid-majors, Nichols enrolled at University of Richmond due to proximity. She played for the Spiders from 2010-14.
However, Nichols, a cousin of NBA guard John Wall, was more than just a basketball player. During her time at Richmond, she strived for the ambition of working in the sports industry and understanding the business side of sports, specifically in the front office.
"I want to do basketball at the highest level, and I think just because I'm a woman doesn't mean that I should have to gravitate to the WNBA, and I want to be able to help young men and be the big sister," Nichols said about her dream to work in the NBA.
Nichols interned for several sports teams, including the Washington Commanders, working with kids to build her graduate school resume', and the Sacramento Kings in the ticket sales department after gaining her master’s from Georgia University in sports management.
The grit and grind helped Nichols climb the ladder to work at the highest level of sports with no limitations. Post-grad, she became assistant general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, a G-League affiliate of the Washington Wizards. In January 2021, she was promoted to general manager, making her the second woman in history to be named GM of a G-League team.
Nichols is also a scout for the Wizards and targets “game-managing guards and courageous playmakers.”
While Nichols lives in Washington, D.C., she's still holding down the fort in Raleigh with her nonprofit organization, FoRR the City, founded last year.
"I just wanted the opportunity to give back from what working with the NBA has fostered me," Nichols said. "It's all about professional development for the youth and exposing them to things they've never seen."
In March, the organization took 50 kids and their parents to watch the Go-Go face the Greensboro Swarm, the Charlotte Hornets affiliate. Also provided with the experience was a mental health session to help parents communicate with their children and to identify the signs when their child is experiencing mental health issues.
The nonprofit holds its annual basketball camp during the summer that also teaches participants how to apply to college, build resumes, and conduct themselves in interviews.
Last year Nichols received a congratulatory text from a former colleague on her nomination as one of Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30. "It's a motivating factor for people who look like me," she said.
While winning isn't a solidification of her success as a GM, the Go-Go has made the playoffs each season and propelled numerous players to full-time NBA contracts.
Nichols ambitiously wants to continue to gain experience and be in a place where she's empowered and in position to be a candidate for an NBA GM job when the time is right, while wanting to be remembered for her dedication and ability to impact people.