Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors isn’t just content to sit back and coast off his three NBA championships. He’s also keeping busy as a tech investor in Silicon Valley.
Speaking Tuesday in San Francisco at Bloomberg’s Players Technology Summit, Iguodala talked about one of his first ventures in the world of investing—starting an E-Trade account and putting some cash down on the mobile gaming company Zynga (ZNGA).
“In year or two, our returns were just crazy,” Iguodala said. Considering that Zynga was already a public company he thought about the potential to make more money if he invested earlier.
“That when I heard about seed rounds,” Iguodala said regarding investing in startups during their embryonic phase.
Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown is also a burgeoning tech investor, and said he once did an internship at a venture capital firm. When the 21-year-old once attended an event where prospective startup founders pitch several venture capitalists on their companies, “some of the things that surprised me was that a lot of those guys were the same age as me.”
Brown said he “saw the similarities in basketball” and the startup world in regards to the way both the basketball league and the tech industry are drawn to youth.
Regarding game-changing technologies, Iguodala said “I think social media has really disrupted sports.” He believes that “sports is the only live content that’s left” that keeps people glued to watching. Advertisers are drawn to sports media, “because they know it’s locked down live,” he said referring to the notion that people can’t skip pass commercials.
With social media, “the voice of the fan has become larger than ever,” Iguodala said. While the ability for fans to comment freely on social media “is very good for business,” the drawback is that “as an athlete, you start looking at things differently.”
“My conspiracy theories always pop up,” Iguodala said. “But I think that it’s something you try to embrace.”
“I get approached to doing different deals on social media,” he added. “Some good, some bad. [I] can’t fight it off, it’s only going to get bigger.”
When looking back at his tenure as a pro-basketball player so far, Iguodala said that he sometimes takes it for granted and is trying to enjoy the moment, especially after winning multiple championships. Even after winning three championships, he said “it doesn’t look very good unless you have four,” referring to the feeling of not being satisfied and the need to “sit back and enjoy it like you should.”
As for Brown and what he’s focusing on the most for the upcoming year, it’s clear that while he’s interested in tech investing, he’s still a basketball player at heart.
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“I’m trying to get a ring,” Brown said.