The NBA is littered with financial casualties, like Allen Iverson and Antoine Walker, who both blew through more than $110 million in career earnings on gambling, shaky investments and large entourages. Steve Nash is not your typical NBA player or investor. The South African-born, Canadian-raised Nash is known for his uncanny court vision and is one of just 10 NBA players to win back-to-back MVP awards. He is fifth among the league’s all-time assists leaders.
His eye off the court is just as daring, as he has built a portfolio of nine investments that are mostly sports and health-centric, including Liquid Nutrition (juice retailer), OneBode (supplements), the Vancouver Whitecaps Major League Soccer club and a string of gyms that bear his name. “I want to build something special and be a part of exciting growth with different companies and at the same time not impact my kids’ chances of going to college,” says Nash.
Nash likes to integrate the companies in his portfolio, where OneBode’s
supplements are available in LiquidNutiriton
locations, as well as the 17 Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Clubs
in Canada. His film production company does work for companies in the portfolio in addition to corporate gigs with the likes of EA Sports, Nike, Toyota and VitaminWater. Nash hopes “the sum is greater than the parts” when it comes to his investments.
Another venture is a marketing consultancy and venture capital firm, Consigliere Brand Capital, which he launched in 2010 with former Deutsche advertising executive, Michael Duda. The two became close when Nash did a three-month internship (unpaid) at Deutsch’s Manhattan office in 2008. “It is a great concept to merge venture capital and ad agency capabilities, so you can help grow a business with more than just your investment,” says the 38-year old point guard. Nash leaves the day-to-day work to Duda and his team, but looks to get more involved when his playing career is over.
Nash typically trades his time and endorsement for equity stakes in these businesses or gets a significant discount on his initial investment. If he likes what he sees after working with the company, he’ll invest more of his own money. Brandon Kou, who heads up Steve Nash Enterprises, says he looks at a couple of deals a week for SNE, mostly in the health and wellness, digital and mobile spaces. “The goal of Steve Nash Enterprises is to find interesting companies that are extensions of Steve’s passions and who he is,” says Kou.
Nash owns 8% of Liquid Nutrition, which went public last year and is a thinly traded micro-cap on the TSX Venture Exchange in Canada. He owns 10% of the sports club business and roughly 20% of OneBode. Dividends from his equity investments, along with traditional endorsements with the likes of Bridgestone, Dove and Sprint, generate $4 million annually for Nash—a sweet supplement to his NBA salary which was $9.4 million this past season (the NBA lockout cost him $2.3 million of his $11.7 million salary).
Nash is a free agent this summer and says he wants to play three more years before retiring and taking a more active role in SNE. His role model is another transformational NBA point guard. Says Nash, “Magic Johnson’s ability to network and partner with people and add value to brands he is involved with is a model I want to replicate.”