A Brand New Game

For these athletes, entrepreneurship is the next playing field

“One of the things that I always wanted to do is help people out,” Forrest says. “But I didn’t want to do something cosmetic. I want to know what I do is going to make a difference in somebody’s life.” With 30 patients, the facility generates just over $1 million in annual revenues, derived primarily from Medicaid reimbursements.

Patients are referred from institutions or family members who are no longer able to take care of them. “Our objective as a whole is to make sure nobody is abused or mistreated, and so we try to do right by the people we have there,” maintains Forrest, who ended 2002 with a 35 — 0 record (26 KOs), ranking him among the world’s best prizefighters. “There are certain things that we instill in our program that a lot of places don’t, like we make sure our clients go to church.”

Destiny’s Child, like many community-service organizations, is not without its share of challenges. Costs are high. Forrest employs a staff of 25, including caregivers, coordinators, and administrative staff. He also pays premiums on the company’s $5 million insurance policy as protection against malpractice. But the company’s greatest test has been the unforeseen. In 2000, the state of Georgia requested that Forrest’s company provide emergency shelter for 17 patients who were enrolled in a competing firm that folded. The additional expense was a crippling blow to his venture.

But Forrest proved he wasn’t down for the count. Without state funding in place, he provided clean clothing to all of the new patients, many of whom were in poor health and suffering from ringworm. He also brought in doctors to provide any necessary medical treatment. Forrest financed the entire $100,000 rescue operation until Medicaid payments flowed in six months later. “We almost went under because we didn’t have any funding for them,” he says. “So I took personal money and put it in the business account.”

With that matter now settled, Forrest is looking to expand his operations and eventually construct a small housing community for his patients. In addition to Destiny’s Child, Forrest owns Champion Limousine, which he launched in 2002 after purchasing five limos for $70,000 each. With Destiny’s Child going into its sixth year, Forrest plans to concentrate his efforts on his fledgling limo service. “Right now the limousine company is my baby,” he says.

Seated behind a desk in his home office conversing with his business partner, Allan Houston looks like any other executive. Discussing inventory and design issues, the 6-foot-7-inch New York Knicks guard and CEO of Allan Houston Enterprises is discussing plans for Top Gun Leather, a retail store located in Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York. Houston partnered with Ayal Hod, an entrepreneur who has operated nine Top Gun Leather stores since 1996.

“I talk to Ayal maybe once or twice a week and he keeps me updated,” says Houston, 31. With the long hours and amount of traveling that comes with being a pro athlete, joining

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