After playing in the NBA for ten years, Bobby Simmons earned his degree in marketing and advertising from DePaul University last year. On Thursday, he joined Phil Heath, four-time Mr. Olympia champion bodybuilder and owner of a nutritional products business on the sports business panel hosted by The Shadow League. Simmons shared marketing and advertising nuggets of wisdom that he has garnered from being an athlete as well as in class.
Simmons says there is a lot of opportunity for marketing consultants to develop the brand of an athlete. “A lot of the players just don’t get pitched so they are pitching their own thing during (post game) interviews,” says Simmons.
Simmons shared this advice during the panel for anyone looking to land an athlete client:
- Pick a player. Simmons says to first select a player and then reach out to him directly. Alfred Edmond, Jr., chief content editor at Black Enterprise concurred stating that “you should approach it like a scout would,” meaning that you should find a budding talent and work with him from the bottom up.
- Know what the player wants. Simmons says that a lot of players want endorsements but there are other things of value to an athlete. Simmons made reference to the fact that Miami Heat player Hassan Whiteside wanted to increase his 2K15 rating in the NBA video game. He made mention of this in a post game interview. “After that, he got his 2K rating up,” says Simmons.
- Make a pitch. You should be prepared to show the athlete your success stories in other industries and how you were able to land deals for other clients.
“There are a lot of guys out there who want endorsement deals but their agents are too busy,” says Simmons of the available potential.
The panel was held at the Hilton Double Tree in New York City and attended by sports industry professionals on the kickoff day of NBA All-Star Weekend.