The NBA’s Successful Vanity Ventures


Today’s NBA players are netting record-high contracts, which means they have a little dough to spread around for the goal of conspicuous consumption. Although the richest players can spend money just to prove they can, here are some burgeoning businesses that belong to some of the league’s savviest current and former players.


Photo: Andrew Link/

Tim Duncan’s car tuner shop: Black Jack Speed Shop
A recent acquisition for the Spurs power forward, Black Jack Speed Shop is the venture of none other than resident NBA gearhead Tim Duncan. The San Antonio shop was opened last December and specializes in high-performance automobile customization and parts, and it’s billed as a “one-stop shop” with in-house fabrication, wheel-building and repair bays. In addition to the 8,000-square-foot shop, it features a 4,000-square-foot showroom to give patrons a taste of what they’re in for.


Photo: IndieGoGo

Shaquille O’Neal’s video game: Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn
As if being a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings and the CEO of a real estate company isn’t cool enough, Shaquille O’Neal is determined to dish out a reboot of the 1994 cult classic loved by NBA fans everywhere for its campy aesthetic and, well, reputation for being one of the worst games of all time. The new project, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn, was recently successfully crowdfunded and will be entering development by Big Deez Productions, a team with members who worked on AAA titles such as Halo and Final Fantasy.

Photo: Carmelo Anthony/Instagram

Carmelo Anthony’s luxury watch publication investment: Haute Time
Starting up a timepiece magazine is one way to show off your massive wristwatch obsession. Carmelo Anthony regularly Instagrams shots of his latest acquisitions for Haute Time’s “watch of the day,” using his star power to drive traffic to the spin off of Haute Living Magazine. ‘Melo owns a 10 per cent stake in the company, which has been fairly successful and caters to an estimated audience of approximately 50,000 readers.


Photo: Getty Images

J.R. Smith’s upcoming sneaker store: Team Swish
Success doesn’t always have to do with the bottom line. Just ask J.R. Smith, who’s reclaiming the land his old family home used to occupy in order to build a strip mall and, most notably, a family-run sneaker shop called Team Swish. Nearing completion, the mall is in sleepy Millstone, New Jersey, where he is almost certain he’ll lose money on the bottom line due to its lack of customer traffic. If anything, his persistence shows that some things are worth keeping in the family, and respect for one’s roots is certainly worth taking a risk on.

Photo: WireImage
Steve Nash’s startup incubator: Consigliere Brand Capital

While Steve Nash’s pet project isn’t something you’ll hear bragged about in a rap song (what rhymes with “successful venture capital firm,” anyway?), the client list of the marketing company the Los Angeles Lakers guard co-founded would have Madison Avenue agencies green with envy, including Nike, Under Armour and Vitamin Water. It also helps fund young companies in need of capital—website rating company STELLAService comes to mind, as does subscription-based beauty and grooming site Birchbox. This particular venture has paid off massively for Nash, as it comprises a good deal of his net income.


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