Summer internship with alumnus was a slam dunk for Grinnell hoopster

October 27, 2022 — Growing up Moze Thurmgreene ’23 was a subscriber to SLAM Magazine, a publication that began in 1994 to blend basketball with culture. 

The magazine still is published today as part of SLAM Media Inc., a basketball media company that specializes in content creation and digital advertising. Thurmgreene, who is on the men’s basketball team at Grinnell, had little idea a Grinnell Connect search would lead to having such an incredible internship experience with the media group. 

A double major in economics and sociology, Thurmgreene aspires to work in the business side of sports. “I thought with economics and sociology, I would get a financial understanding and a social understanding, and hopefully be in a good spot for sports business,” Thurmgreene says.

Moze Thurmgreene ’23 defends against a Spurgeon College ballhandler.
Moze Thurmgreene ’23 defends against a Spurgeon College ballhandler in the Pioneers 153-97 win last November.

While on the Grinnell Connect networking platform, he noticed Michael Davis ’06 had worked at a company called Whistle Sports. He reached out to Davis and learned his career had since taken him to Uninterrupted, a brand founded by LeBron James, and then SLAM Media Group where he is now vice president for brand partnerships. The two talked over Zoom.  

“It wasn’t on my mind to get an internship at SLAM; I just wanted to hear the story of how he got from Grinnell into the sports industry,” Thurmgreene says.

After their conversation, Davis helped Thurmgreene get an interview, and he was eventually hired as a summer intern. Affording to live in New York City though posed a challenge. Thurmgreene received funding from Grinnell’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service to help him with some living expenses. He still was short on money, so he asked his former teammate, Will Dubow ’21, who was working at the bar, 82 Stanton, to help him get part time work at the bar.

“That was how through two alumni I was able to get my way into a dream internship,” Thurmgreene says. “The internship itself was amazing. It was exactly what I wanted. I made a ton of connections. I got to learn from people in the industry. Coming out of that, I have a good understating of what I want to do with my life and what my professional motivations are.”

Thurmgreene was involved in brand partnership work during the internship. “A company would come to SLAM wanting to spend a certain amount of money, and we brainstormed ideas on how to execute it so it benefited both parties,” he says. “This could be through creative content or brand amplification. We would discuss what high school, college, or NBA player would be a good fit for whatever marketing endeavor was selected.”

Michael Davis '06
  Michael Davis ’06

“Moze was great and very flexible as an intern” Davis says. “He set up large scale events, worked as a production assistant on a number of content shoots for clients like Under Armour and Gatorade, and sat in and took notes on sales calls. He had a couple larger scale project as well. He built an incredibly comprehensive database of all the campaigns and proposals that we sent out over the last two years. That database is a beast, but we are actively using it. It’s been tremendously beneficial.”

For Davis, it was delightful to work with a fellow Grinnellian.

“I keep in active touch with many alumni my age, or slightly younger and older,” Davis says. “But Moze is a solid generation younger. Hearing what campus is like – everything from the physical architecture to social mores – along with things that haven’t changed like events and traditions, was really interesting and exciting. Grinnell is a tight knit community, so there’s always an instant bond with anyone you come in contact with.”

Thurmgreene also got to attend some fun work events, such as a Def Jam Recordings listening party, a Nike New York basketball showcase for top high school players, and the SLAM Summer Classic, a streetball exhibition game for high school players at Rucker Park – a playground basketball mecca.  

“It was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget,” Thurmgreene says. “The internship allowed me the chance to experience things I never would have been able to do.”

Davis sees good things ahead for Thurmgreene in the industry.

“He’s diligent, hard-working, and a big sports fan who understands the culture,” Davis says. “There’s a lot of on-the-job technical learning to be done, but I have no doubt that if this is what he chooses to do, he’ll be able to carve his own path and have success.”

While looking forward to what comes after Grinnell, Thurmgreene also is excited about suiting up for the Pioneers for his final basketball season. He played sparingly as a freshman, and his sophomore season never happened because of the pandemic. As a junior, he scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 64 minutes of game action. 

“As a Division III athlete, we know we are a student first and an athlete second,” he says. “But it’s hitting me hard that this is it. I’ve been playing basketball since I was 5 years old. I can’t imagine what it will be like during or after the season. I want to give my all and make the most out of this season.”

Moze Thurmgreene ’23 attempts a 3-point shot.
Moze Thurmgreene ’23 attempts a 3-point shot during a game last season. Thurmgreene spent the summer in New York City interning for SLAM Media.

Thurmgreene says the Grinnell System of basketball is nothing like he’s ever been part of before. 

“I’m a shooter in the system,” he says. “For me, it simplifies things. My job is to shoot three-pointers and get offensive rebounds when I’m not shooting. Defensively, either I’m getting a steal or helping my teammates get one. Over the summer, Will and I played pick-up ball at the gym in New York, and it was so different trying to play in a way that differs from the Grinnell System. There’s nothing like it.”

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

In addition to summer internships, Grinnell alumni can host a student externship for 3 to 5 days during spring break 2023. Learn more and register on the Externship web page

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive and like the Alumni & Friends Facebook page.