Tech Summit Helps Players Plan for Career After the NBA
The NBA Players Association is joining forces with tech moguls to help past and present basketball stars prepare for their future careers.
The NBA Players Association is teaming up with Silicon Valley to assist retiring basketballers find a career after a life on the court.
The union will host its inaugural NBPA Technology Summit next week, bringing past and present players together in San Francisco to learn more about the industry. Participants include Jawbone, the maker of wearable technology gadgets, and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
“A key part of our mission at the NBPA is to help players maximize their opportunities on and off the court, and prepare for life after basketball,” said Deputy Executive Director Roger Mason Jr. in a statement.
Outliers like superstars Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant aside, the average NBA career lasts just under five years. This means that many players, some of whom joined the league before finishing college, suddenly find themselves out of a career while in their 20s.
NBPA’s summit will offer educational seminars with the heads of major businesses, tours of local technology companies, networking events, and a series of workshops to help players begin planning for a future beyond basketball.
Golden State Warriors star Andre Iguodala played a pivotal role in launching the event, NBPA officials said. When he’s not being named Most Valuable Player on the court, Iguodala has built a reputation as a savvy investor in the tech sector, even appearing on CNBC last year.
“The close relationships and experiences I have developed with many of the CEOs [in the tech field] have allowed me to strengthen my knowledge about tech and digital media, and apply many of the same principles to my game, like team building and leadership,” Iguodala said in a statement. “The upcoming tech summit presents a tremendous opportunity for my fellow NBPA members to receive valuable information and knowledge about this evolving space.”
Figuring out what to do after a career in professional sports—and preparing for it—isn’t an issue limited to the NBA. Football players last an average of three and a half years, while hockey players generally spend about five and a half years in the rink. Major League Baseball players fare the best, lasting a hair longer than hockey players in uniform.
For some athletes, failing to prepare for the future comes at a massive cost. Former NBA star Antoine Walker turned to gambling and eventually wound up on charges of writing bad checks after losing about $110 million.
“You get a lot of money at an early age and you don’t understand or know what to do with it, and we don’t think for the future,” Walker told NPR’s “Only a Game” in 2015. “I think that’s the biggest thing. We don’t think for being 35, 40 years old, because we’re 18, 19, 20 years old, and we think we’re going to make money forever.”
Golden State Warriors star Andre Iguodala played a pivotal role in creating the NBPA's tech summit. (Keith Allison/Flickr)