Adrian Muhammad: Helping Athletes Find Financial Success

Adrian Muhammad: Helping Athletes Find Financial Success

In July 2021, the inaugural NKSFB Sports Wealth Summit took place in Aspen, Colorado.

The summit originated out of a need to try to combat the lack of resources and/or education athletes lack. Craig Brown, partner and co-head of the Sports Business Division at NKSFB and NKSFB Sports co-founder, introduced these discussions to athletes.

Esteemed professionals and entrepreneurs indulged the audience within the subject areas of fine arts, technology, investment strategies, angel investing, venture capital, cryptocurrency, real estate, cannabis and money management, among other topics that could enhance a successful portfolio.

With the likes of Grammy-winning producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Pharrell Williams, football great and Good Morning America cohost Michael Strahan, and Memphis Grizzlies owner Elliott Perry, the summit returns to Miami from Feb. 23 through Feb. 25.

BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to Adrian Muhammad, managing partner at Jackson Shah & Company, and an event leader for the summit. Muhammad spoke about how the success of the initial summit propelled the immediacy of another one less than a year later. Muhammad also discussed additional sponsors coming on board and the purpose for the summit’s various topics.

BLACK ENTERPRISE: With the initial summit built for the financial success of Black athletes, how do you see this summit being implemented within the structure of athletes going forward? What was the thought process when this idea was first implemented? 

MUHAMMAD: Parable of talents. Everyone envisions themselves as good stewards of their God-given talent and the wealth that talent produces. Professional athletes, in many ways, are the best among us. Hard-working and disciplined. Purposed, fearless, and confident. The field of play in life is bigger, of course. Deeper, and in some cases, darker and more nuanced, but nothing worthy of our fear. Same in business. The goal was to create an environment of learning, shared values, and a spirit of service in undertaking the topic of wealth preservation and growth. An environment where the most talented among us could learn from those who’ve proven equally successful in business or related areas. Both are in awe of one another. Both want the same thing out of life.

In terms of how this space is maturing: This is all relatively new. Learning and working together, especially in this space is something we’re all still learning how to do better. Money evokes a lot of emotion. Most, not productive. Equally, we’ve found there’s an even greater passion to achieve generational wealth by especially Black professional athletes as they have a disproportionate reputation of “squandering” their wealth. As the yearning is organic and authentic for athletes, the population will grow in kind. Now with name, image and likeness rules changing, we see this also becoming increasingly more relevant to elite amateurs. As for the Wealth Summit, our lone job in this environment is to be good stewards and the best learning environment imaginable.

Why was it necessary to have different topics than those originally done last year for the Miami summit? Do you plan on continuing that structure and/or adding anything that would be beneficial for the participants? 

In six months, NFTs have evidenced a new, exponentially growing multi-billion dollar market, Facebook has changed its name (Meta) and the housing market has exploded. So topics and tastes, and even markets, are quickly evolving. To keep pace, especially when talking strategic investment with influencers/athletes are often at the pulse of these changes; we must do the same. So, yes, this is central to our strategy.

Another change from last year’s initial summit is the addition of a Women’s Retreat. The importance of women, especially Black women, is an important discussion to have. What led to the inclusion of this retreat and what should be expected? 

This has been uniquely powerful and one of the most pleasurable to see develop. When we were in Aspen, the men were thoroughly engaged. Impressively so. But the wives and mothers were absorbed. As stewards of family, you can see how important preserving wealth was to them. There’s a lot to build on here. Thankfully we’ve been blessed with the support of some of the smartest, most accomplished sisters in the country, including Kim Paige (BET), Cori Murray (Essence) and Tiffany Burns (McKinsey), as well as an equally impressive team of wives and mothers of professional athletes. They have taken in both the spirit and goals of the Wealth Summit and are doing impressive things with it. This is certainly worth watching develop.

Based on the success of last year’s summit and the feedback you were given, what is the approach to the upcoming one as opposed to the initial wealth summit? 

The spirit of Miami is different from Aspen. The energy is different. Technology, art, alternative energy are as center to the city as beaches, music, and food. Since Aspen, we’ve earned some great partnerships, like Vanderhall Motor Works, the luxury, electric vehicle company, and Obsidian Investment Partners, the impact and innovation private equity firm. Partners like these have brought tremendous value to our efforts, sharing valuable industry insight, the leverage of their networks, and even accretive investment opportunities. The Miami event will benefit from these new relationships. But we expect this to continue as we evolve.

You have a variety of speakers attending with different views when it comes to business and entrepreneurship. How were they selected? 

Our clear goal is to both perspectives: the value of an investment as well as providing meaningful dialogue in areas unique to this audience. And one of the true advantages of the NKSFB Sports relationship is the leverage of a profound network of both business leaders and influencers. So we’re fortunate to have NFL Hall of Famer, Coach Prime [Deion Sanders] sharing his path to purpose anew as a ground-breaking NCAA coach, or Rick Ross sharing his personal path to entrepreneurship; Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse walking us all through one of her famed sports case studies. So while we’re intentional about having leadership from core business areas, we see it as equally important that leaders like them are also leaders that can add value to the human being.