Boyce ends up working for team in NBA Finals after an amazing journey
Lucas Boyce has accomplished a lot of dreams in life – all three of his life goals, in fact.
He’s worked at the White House, flown aboard Air Force One, and is currently working for an NBA team and writing a book about his life.
All before the ripe-old age of 30.
Boyce is an Independence native and currently the Director of Multicultural Insights, Cause Marketing, and Government Affairs for the NBA’s Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic. As director of the three departments, Boyce oversees the Magic’s relationship with the community, sponsors, and city officials.
To most, that’s a lot of responsibility. To Boyce, it barely scratches the surface on an amazing journey.
“Anything can happen when opportunity meets grace,” he said.
Born premature to a 19-year-old single, drug- and alcohol-addicted mother, Boyce, who is black, found a home with a white foster mother named Dorothy Boyce in Independence when he was 10 days old. Dorothy, head of a 13-child household, would go on to adopt Lucas three years later.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without a strong family,” Boyce said. “I’ve accomplished a lot in life, but I’ve had a lot of help. I wouldn’t have the drive without God and my mom. I put a lot of stock in that.”
When he was young, Boyce struggled in school. He said it was due to his birth mother’s hazardous lifestyle.
“With the drugs, alcohol and everything my mom took, I was slow. I was underdeveloped,” he said. “I ended up failing kindergarten.”
Boyce, however, quickly rebounded to become valedictorian at Center Place Restoration School, a Christian school off Waldo Road in Independence, and graduated cum laude from University of Central Missouri with a degree in political science and speech communication.
After interning at the White House in college, Boyce returned to the presidential residence and fulfilled one of his life dreams by working on George W. Bush’s re-election campaign as a staff assistant in 2004 and then as an executive assistant to the Deputy Assistant to the President after Bush won.
Boyce would eventually be named the White House’s Associate Director in the Office of Political Affairs, which enabled him to accomplish another dream – travel aboard Air Force One.
“I was literally like a kid in a candy store,” he said.
Boyce, who could tell a day’s worth jaw-dropping stories just on his White House tenure, is “truly grateful” for his time in the nation’s capital.
“I can only describe it as the opportunity of a lifetime,” Boyce said of his White House days. “I was given a lot of responsibility.”
“I went to Guatemala and helped with an event for a small village that hadn’t even seen their own president, let alone, another country’s. I went to Rwanda and helped with the Genocide Memorial. It opened up an entire world that I didn’t think was possible. I can’t take it all for granted.”
Boyce even had taken Bush’s seat on Air Force One – although it was short-lived
“I came in for a briefing and there was only one chair so I sat down and started briefing the personnel,” he explained. “Then the President comes in and he says, “That’s my chair,” smiling. So I’m mortified, I’m like, “I’m so sorry, Mr. President.” He says, “Oh, no it’s OK, it’s OK – it’s just the president’s chair. No big deal.” Everybody starts laughing and I’m totally embarassed.”
“A few weeks later we were in Independence for a campaign and I’ve invited my parents to meet the president. So I tell them, “Just please don’t embarass me. Dad, tuck in your shirt.” And so the president pulls them in for a picture and puts his arms around them and says, “You’ve got a good boy here in Lucas. The only thing is he’s got a problem with is taking my chair.” And again, everybody laughed while I’m embarassed.”
Although Boyce isn’t ruling out a return to politics someday, he admits there are a lot of other things he wants to accomplish first.
“I want to further my education first, getting off student loans would be nice, possibly buy a house,” he said, adding that he wants to pursue a number of Master’s degrees. “If I run, I want to run for the right reasons. ”
“I want there to be something tied to it. You see these senators that think they’re just as important as the president. No offense to those guys, but I don’t want to be like that. I don’t just want it to be because of ambition. I want to be able to service my community.”
While giving a tour at the White House, Boyce would begin the next aspect of his life in a very “random” way.
“Kevin Sullivan, who was the president of communication (for the Magic at the time), was visiting the White House and we were having a conversation and I told him I had always wanted to work for an NBA team, and Kevin had previously worked for the Dallas Mavericks,” Boyce said. “Couple weeks later, he calls me and says our vice president of communication, Joel Glass, is coming up for a visit,” he said.
Glass had forgotten his camera and Boyce lent the White House visitor his own and e-mailed him the pictures.
After sending in his resume, Boyce was called in for an interview, but was turned down when the team had no new open positions available.
“They said they would keep my information,” he said. “I thought it was a nice way of passing on me.”
But when the Magic developed a new department to focus on multicultural insights and cause marketing, Boyce’s named surfaced as a potential candidate as director of the department.
“I actually scheduled the interview on board the Air Force One,” he laughed.
Boyce had recently been promoted at the White House before being interviewed. After a series of “rigorous tests” and brutal Q&A sessions, Boyce presented his first quarter goals to a panel of interviewers. A week and a half later, Boyce was hired.
“I always joke that it was harder to get a job with the Orlando Magic than at the White House,” he said. “But it was a fun process and gives testament to the quality of work people do here.”
Boyce “wears three hats” with the Orlando Magic. As director of multicultural insights, Boyce is in charge of making the team marketable to all of its citizens, especially the minority groups.
“The demographics of Orlando are astronomical. It keeps changing. My job is to make the team accessible to the community,” he said. “We want to be known as everyone’s team because we are everyone’s team.”
Boyce’s second job as director of cause marketing is a little easier to explain.
“I work with [the team’s] corporate partners to achieve philanthropy in the community,” he explained. “We’re working as a sort of coalition to meet the needs of the community.”
Finally, as director of government affairs, Boyce, in a way, returns to his previous job.
“It’s pretty much what I used to do,” he said. “I build good relationships with public officials and manage the political budget as it pertains to the Orlando Magic.”
Boyce was flown out, along with the the rest of the Orlando Magic executives, for Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles, Calif.
“We’re going out for game 1,” he said. “But then we’re coming right back, because there’s a lot of work to do before the series comes here.”
In the Orlando Magic office, Boyce works right next to Senior Vice President Pat Williams, the man credited with bringing the Magic to Orlando. Williams has adopted 14 children to add to the five of his own. During a discussion on the topic of adoption at a retreat, Williams, who has written over 50 books, suggested that Boyce should write one of his own telling his story.
“He said, “You should gear it toward the community and people that can benefit from your story.” He’s been coaching me on how to write the book,” Boyce said.
Boyce plans to donate a portion of the money from the book’s sales to an adoption charity. He hopes to finish his book, titled “The First 30,” within the next six months.
Looking back on his life, Boyce knows that to enjoy something, one must see the other, difficult side of things.
“There will always be storms in life,” he said. “No rain, no rainbows.”