Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant is one of the biggest names in the NBA. After two victories against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals, he and his team are on track to potentially win back-to-back championships.
$ 51 million contract with the Warriors and moved out to San Francisco, leaving behind his hometown team, the Oklahoma Thunder, after eight years. But basketball isn’t the only thing Durant is doing in the Bay Area.
He’s also diving into the business world by way of his own Silicon Valley-based start-up, the Durant Company, which he founded two years ago. He’s already invested in a number of tech ventures, including Acorns and Postmates, and he recently sold a scripted series to premiere on YouTube.
As Durant grows his company from the ground up, he’s learning as he goes. And the best business advice he’s gotten along the way is surprisingly simple: “Don’t do things just for money,” he tells ESPN in a recent interview. “Don’t do things just for fame. Do things because you feel right and it feels true.”
To get there, Durant started by focusing on himself and his goals. “You see the business of yourself first,” he says. “You know what kind of image you want to portray, what stories you want to tell and how you want to use your resources to make everything grow.”
Once he relocated to the Bay Area, he reached out to tech veterans like Ron Conway, an early investor in Google, and Ben Horowitz, the co-founder of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, he tells ESPN.
Durant is also taking cues from Warriors teammate Andre Iguodala, who has invested in tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Tesla, he tells The New York Times.
In fact, Iguodala says chatting about Silicon Valley and investing has become the team’s go-to topic in the locker room. “A number of my Warriors teammates — Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Javale McGee — are into investing and tech,” Iguodala tells Wealthsimple. “But we never look at it as a competition. We inform each other of what’s going on.”
The collaboration works, he says: “I learn something from all of those guys. Steph was having a conversation about net neutrality one day, and I wasn’t as caught up on it. He got started on it, and I was locked in, because he did his homework!”
As for Durant, learning to succeed in the business world also means humbling himself and taking a step back. He told ESPN that to get better in business, “you have to remove the ego of it and realize that you don’t know it all.”
“I’ve got to ask questions, and I’ve got to have an open mind to it all,” he said.
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