Rising Trend of Athlete Mentors (And Its Immediate Impact)
In a strange new world, famous athletes are taking younger players under their wings outside of sports.
Throughout life, you have probably had an array of mentors.
Maybe started with teachers or coaches, then jumped to business, and maybe even “life” mentors.
And the best ones form because that person sees potential in you (they maybe even see themselves in you).
We’ve seen a sharp trend of these “mentorships” in the world of sports.
And I believe they’re going to have a pretty big impact — which is why you should be paying attention to them.
Let’s Dive In 👇
Rise of Athlete Mentorships
The top two prospects in this year’s NBA draft are Victor Wembenyama and Scoot Henderson.
*interesting side note* neither of them played in college — Wembenyama (France), Henderson (G-League).
And two stories recently hit the headlines:
NBA reporter Mark Stein reported that Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, & Manu Ginobili are expected to mentor Victor Wembanyama.
Scoot Henderson has entered a “strategic alliance” with Stephen Curry that will focus on “business, basketball, and beyond.”
Neither of these teenagers will play on the same team as their new “mentors”, so what exactly is going on?
Business Drives Athlete Mentorship
Before social media helped more athletes become business moguls — there were still mentorships taking place.
For example, Junior Bridgeman is one of the most successful athletes of all time off the court:
And in 2013, the restaurant mogul partnered with NBA star Chauncey Billups to buy 30 Wendy’s hamburger franchises in St. Louis.
Plenty of “mentorships” came before this (and many have formed since).
Most were private — but the ones that are public, usually have deeper reasoning.
Hint Hint…PR & media coverage.
Aaron Rodgers just raised his second consumer-focused venture fund of $150M at RX3 Ventures.
Several other NFL players are investors, including fellow quarterbacks Josh Allen and Sam Darnold.
RX3 is focused on educating the next generation of athletes for long-term financial success.
Here’s a quote from RX3:
“Financial literacy is a big part of what we do — we invest in growth-stage companies and brands athletes know. We do it in a way to set them up for long-term success.”
It even shifts across sports…
Naomi Osaka is being “mentored” by Lebron James (and he also is an investor/owner in many of the projects she’s orchestrating).
Naomi is creating the same business model as Lebron — agency, venture firm, production/media arm, foundation, and entrepreneurship.
Top Athletes Lead The Way
Funny enough, athletes are starting to understand the power of athletes (themselves).
So the top ones (with the most resources), are now trying to bring the up-and-comers into their own ecosystems.
They understand who has:
talent on the court
potential off the court
And by aligning…
It keeps the older athletes relevant and gives the younger athletes the needed mentorship.
It makes perfect sense — practically and financially.
Where Is This Headed?
I expect to see a lot more “mentorships” & “business partners” between athletes.
(even reaching as far down to high school/college thanks to NIL)
I think University athletic programs would be smart to help facilitate some of these — whether organically or artificially.
The advantages are obvious to have someone like Patrick Mahomes speak to the players at Texas Tech:
good content for social media
helps Mahomes, the players, and the school
At the end of the day…
Athlete mentorships come down to money, relevancy, and giving back to the next generation of stars.
It’s a net positive for the space ⭐
Today’s podcast guests line up great with business building around creators and/or athletes.
Cole and Cody Hock — Founders of Up North Management.
Up North is a diversified entertainment company specializing in talent management, creative content, and original business ventures.
You’ll enjoy this episode as we discuss:
Building creator/athlete-led businesses
Where the agency space is headed
Advice for startups/brands looking to use creators
Check out the podcast episode here.
The brothers made the Forbes 30 under 30 list last year in large part to their amazing efforts in creating Enjoy Basketball with YouTube star Kenny Beecham.
Thanks for tuning in today!
Feel free to shoot me any suggestions for future newsletter deep dives.
A quarterback’s true competition is the defense (not other quarterbacks).
And with all the money — it only makes sense to team up and leverage each other’s marketability, bank accounts, and relationships off the field.
The richer athletes get…
The more exclusive of a club it becomes off the field.