Former NBA All Star Jamal Mashburn Slam Dunks in the Business Arena

Team building key to making successful transition from hardcourt to boardroom

Jamal Mashburn is most notably known for his success on and off the basketball court. The former college and NBA All Star spent over 20 years with the Kentucky Wildcats, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, and New Orleans Hornets, where he dribbled, dunked, and dazzled fans.

Yet, before Mashburn ever set foot on the professional hardcourt, he was already preparing for his successful transition to the boardroom. While Mashburn served as an ESPN on-air NBA analyst from 2006-2010 after retiring from the sport, he took his skills straight to the business arena.

“Everyone can’t be blessed with a 6’8” frame and natural athletic abilities. For me, the pursuit of becoming a professional basketball player was always a means to an end. While honing my basketball skills as a boy, I also aspired to one day become a successful businessman who carried a briefcase to work,” says Mashburn on his website. “I was motivated to become successful in business because I wanted to provide for those that I love and to make them proud. I’m very proud of my success on the basketball court, but accomplishing the business goals that I set in my youth has been a tremendous source of pride.”

To date, the savvy entrepreneur has ownership interest in numerous restaurant franchises (38 Outback Steakhouse restaurants, 40 Papa John’s pizza restaurants, and three Dunkin Donuts stores), car dealerships (Kentucky’s Toyota on Nicholasville and Lexus Store of Lexington), real estate, and the thoroughbred horse racing industry. He also is a Board Member of the ROI Acquisition Corporation and the FairBridge Hotels International.

Paying homage to businessman and baseball legend Jackie Robinson, Mashburn told BlackEnterprise.com: “As an entrepreneur it was Jackie Robinson’s mental fortitude, emotional preparation and strength that I kept top of mind when I transitioned from sports into business and those same core values continue to drive my globally diverse enterprise today.”

Mashburn has been beating the odds. There are countless reports of hundreds of athletes who made enormous amounts of money during their careers only to wind up with nothing after they retire. In fact, recent studies show roughly 70% of professional athletes go broke within a few years of hanging up their jerseys.

It comes as no surprise that over the years a number of other athletes have approached Mashburn about investing in their business ventures. Athletes get pitched all the time. He told the Wall Street Journal, “People have this view that you’re not the smart money, you’re the dumb money. We get pitched mom-and-pop businesses that are not scalable. We get pitched on the marketing side, heavily. We get pitched by people who say their company is the next Google.”

The former pro athlete is actually stepping up his game, taking it to next level. Last year, Mashburn teamed up with NFL offensive tackle Winston Justice to launch a venture capital firm that invests in high-tech startups. Justice Mashburn Capital Partners, as the firm is called, made its first investment in LevelEleven Inc, a company that develops gamification sales apps.

He attributes his success as an entrepreneur to his team building prowess. He has assembled a group of professionals specializing in administration, finance, project management, insurance, and advertising. This rock-star team quickly developed an ownership model that resulted in his impressive business portfolio.

“In basketball, and in life, having the support of a talented and dedicated team is essential.”

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