Overtime: Charles Smith’s journey from basketball to business
The former NBA player discusses his biggest influences, challenges he faced, and more.
Hi, my name is Charles D smith. I was the third pick In the 1988 NBA draft since my career ended. I was hired, I was fired, I was furloughed, I was laid off. I was even weighed. How many people around the world can say that I was an entrepreneur even before I started playing basketball. So that was always a part. Um I went from a paper route at age 11 delivering papers around the neighborhood to seasonal shoveling snow, raking grass, making money, grocery store jobs. I did that even through high school as my career progressed, I would read and see some players doing well, some players doing great and some players that we're not doing well after their careers. And and then the key turning point was the influence that Julius Irving and Magic johnson had on me and they were different Julius erving, He was so poised, he was charismatic and I said that's how I want to be. And then Magic toward the end of my career, he was doing all these deals and he had a guy with him named ken Lombard when he was doing Starbucks and all these different deals and communities. I didn't want to be magic, I want to be ken lumbar, I wanted to be the guy doing the deal. So I started a path of self sufficient and I said, I want to sit in technology And so I got into sports technology. So I started new media technology and I was the first to develop customizable applications for video injections. And my first three clients were NBA teams, Major League Baseball in Madison Square Garden. I'm working with fierce inc now and I'm a master facilitator to be able to go out and talk to corporations on effective communication uh, about the real essence of teamwork, um, how to deal with confrontation and just other areas of how effective communication impacts the company's bottom line. Yeah, yeah, I learned so much uh that enabled me to become a professional athlete. And it's like everything that I learned at zero to do with everything that I needed. When my career was over. My biggest challenge was me. I finished playing at age 32 33. I'm 15 55. Now, It took me 22 years to change, to be in a position that I am today, to be able to not just explain my value proposition to accompany, but for them to understand why they would want to work with me. And at times we need him, I could have easily gone broke, just like everybody else because I lost millions betting on myself. I had the most costly education in the world. Mhm, betting on myself, paying for my jobs and giving myself titles and building businesses and failing. It was costly. But there were very few people I wanted to work and put time in important to an athlete and actually teach him self sufficiency. They want to do that. They wanted to use me as the brands. We can make money together and those sorts of things, which is great too. I wanted to learn. So that's what I would tell guys. You know, it's it's not easy out here. But the next the next evolution of the athletes, Yeah. Is to be able to understand and learn what's happening around them in their own time and their own time, what they gotta do. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah.