Trevor Booker, like many of us, has the lifelong dream of eventually becoming a billionaire.
Trevor Booker, unlike many of us, is a professional basketball player and an entrepreneur at the age of 29 with interests in 18 companies – and counting. He’s not banking on a winning lottery ticket.
We’ve seen the stories time and again, of NBA players squandering their wealth, their status, and their identities over the course of their career, not being able to overcome a collection of transgressions along the way.
Booker’s seen them too. Just a couple of years into his NBA career, the Clemson University graduate understood that he wanted to set himself up for life after basketball, but longed for the means to do it first, in a smart and secure fashion.
“I just want to have options for when I finish basketball,” he told Netsdaily, seated straight across the length of a basketball court from the floor-to-ceiling windows at the Brooklyn Nets’ training facility, the ones that show the world’s financial capital.
“Right now I’m dealing with a lot of real estate, a venture capital firm. We have a couple of different companies under that. I have a whole team back in Charlotte that handles everything and updates me while I’m in season. If I didn’t want to go into coaching or the front office – then I could focus on my businesses.”
Basketball comes first, but Booker has always wanted to be an entrepreneur, not like some people you see posing as one on their social media pages. This Brooklyn Net is really ‘bout that life. After all, he didn’t get where he is on the basketball court without risk-taking.
“I’ve always wanted to do it but I never had that capital where I felt comfortable investing and taking risks until a few years ago ... once I started building my net worth and my safety net,” he said. “Once I got comfortable with that and had that foundation of money set, I started taking a little bit more risks with my money and investing in things. It’s a hobby for me, and at the same time it keeps me growing as a person. It keeps me learning.”
When asked about his businesses, Booker spent a few moments rattling off details on damn near all of them. But among the many ventures the 6’8” forward is involved in, there’s Nohbo, which bills itself as the world’s first eco-friendly shampoo, and which Booker says also is going to offer eco-friendly shaving cream and soap.
Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban, a billionaire in his own right, is an investor in Nohbo, which had been featured on CNBC’s “Shark Tank.”
Booker is also a minority partner in D.C. United, the Major League Soccer club located in the national’s capital, the same place where Booker suited up for the Wizards from 2010 to 2014 at the start of his career.
Additionally, there’s another ‘pretty big’ deal on the table that he can’t yet discuss. He hints he’ll be able to talk about it soon.
For now, Booker wants to focus on the here and now. He doesn’t think enough NBA players do so but with so many tales of failed post-game careers, things are changing. Many professional athletes are increasingly taking different avenues to success beyond the court, field, ring, etc. Booker thinks even more should develop interests outside of their (in some cases) multi-million-dollar trade.
“The resources are there, especially while you’re an NBA player,” he said. “Everybody wants to meet and would love to do business with NBA players. I don’t think enough players take advantage of their opportunity – I met so many cool business people that just want to sit down, kick knowledge and connect you to the right people. Just to have that in your back pocket, you should utilize it.”
Some of those people who want to work with NBA players might also be fellow athletes.
For Booker, that would be Brownsville native and former world champion middleweight boxer Danny Jacobs. The two spoke at the recent Barclays Center Gala, and might have something in the works.
“He (Jacobs) was telling me that he’s been reading about different things that I have going on,” said Booker. “He wants to sit down and explore some different avenues – he’s seen what I have going on and wants to sit down and talk with me about different things. He’s a big time fighter and big in the community so for somebody like that to come up to me to let me know that they see what’s going on is pretty big for me.”
Among the many things Booker has learned is that there are business opportunities wherever he’s been, and in his case, he’s been able to call Salt Lake City, Washington D.C. and now Brooklyn home, while in the NBA. For example, in Utah, he discovered that tech companies are moving in from Silicon Valley.
He’s also learned about the importance of having a solid group of people around him, a foundation. Basketball will teach you that, he notes. So far, he’s been lucky. He hasn’t encountered any “snakes,” he says.
“Hopefully I don’t, because I would hate it for that person if someone tried to do me wrong,” he added with a chuckle. He is 6’8” and 230 pounds, after all.
Some of Booker’s business acumen has drawn the curiosity of his Net teammates, whose median age is 25, with only two players older than Booker. So, he’s tried to bestow some of the knowledge he’s gained on his Brooklyn brothers.
He’s gotten help from them as well. Booker runs a prep school, Combine Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his friend, Jonah Baize. He’s importing a couple of Lincoln High School alums to Combine, thanks to former Railsplitter Isaiah Whitehead.
Have the Nets players taken any advice yet from Booker? Well, for now, they’re learning.
“They’re fresh in the league so they have to build up their net worth and build that safety net like I did,” said Booker. “I think they’re just learning and taking notes for when they get the right contract and then they can start dibbling and dabbling to different things.”
As for his future, he has his sights set on becoming Trevor Booker, the billionaire. He calls it the only thing he’s set so far, in terms of goals beyond the hardwood.
“It’s going to take a lot of work, but I think I’m on the right track,” he said confidently. “I truly believe that I’m going to be a billionaire one day. I’m building the right team right now. It’s a fun process … time will well.”