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3 mins read

Jaylen Brown plans to use $304 Million Contract to Create “Black Wall Street” in Boston

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown made headlines when he signed a record-breaking five-year, $304 million contract, the richest deal in NBA history.

However, Brown’s ambitions extend far beyond personal success and financial gain. In a press conference and subsequent interviews, he revealed his plans to give back to the community, particularly in Boston, where he aims to bridge the wealth gap and create a thriving ecosystem he refers to as “Black Wall Street.”

Through various initiatives and collaborations, Brown aspires to make a lasting impact on his community and inspire positive change throughout the world.

A Commitment to Giving Back

When asked about his intentions with the newfound generational wealth, Jaylen Brown expressed his deep-rooted commitment to giving back to the community. He believes that athletes, as influential figures, have a responsibility to leverage their platform to make the world a better place. Brown emphasizes that despite overcoming barriers to reach the NBA, he remains dedicated to representing and supporting the communities he comes from.

The Vision for “Black Wall Street” in Boston

Jaylen Brown envisions a multi-faceted initiative to address the wealth disparity in Boston, which has consistently ranked among the top five cities in this regard. His primary goal is to create a project similar to the historical “Black Wall Street” of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was known for its thriving African-American community and successful businesses in the early 20th century.

Brown aims to establish programs that not only bridge the wealth gap but also promote equality across the city. By leveraging his platform and collaborating with various stakeholders, he intends to stimulate economic growth, create job opportunities, and empower minorities in Boston. Brown believes that a self-sufficient, fully integrated hub can be achieved through commercial ventures, mixed commercial spaces, real estate development, and residential initiatives.

The Path Forward

Recognizing the magnitude of his vision, Jaylen Brown acknowledges that the journey towards creating “Black Wall Street” in Boston will be challenging and time-consuming. However, he remains optimistic about the possibilities, thanks to the support of political leaders, the NBA Players Association, and organizations that represent the players’ interests.

Brown’s long-term plan involves collaborating with influential partners, government officials, and community leaders to bring his vision to fruition. By combining resources and ideas, he aims to highlight the potential of minorities and simultaneously address the wealth gap, not just in Boston but also setting an example for other cities worldwide.

2 mins read

Black Owned Cannabis Brand Raises $13 Million To Expand Operations

Viola is a Black owned cannabis brand that is a producer and licensed wholesaler of premium cannabis products.

In 2011, NBA veteran Al Harrington was inspired to launch the brand by his grandmother, Viola, who suffers from glaucoma and diabetes and found solace in cannabis remedies.

black owned cannabis
Viola founder, Al Harrington

Through initiatives like Viola Cares, the company seeks to create entrepreneurial opportunities for communities of color in the cannabis industry, offering education, expungement, and incubation programs for minorities.

“We’re trying to change the stigma and change people’s lives,” Harrington said, adding, “especially when Cannabis was something used to destroy our community,” said Harrington in a statement.

Today the company announced the closing of a $13 million equity funding round. DelMorgan & Co., an internationally recognized investment banking firm headquartered in Santa Monica, California, acted as an exclusive strategic transaction advisor to Viola in connection with the transaction.

The news follows a series of milestones in 2021 that include the celebration of the brand’s 10th anniversary and a partnership with Basketball Hall of Famer Allen Iverson on an exclusive cannabis strain.

black owned cannabis

This latest round of funding allows Viola to expand into several key new markets, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland, and continue executing on strategic marketing initiatives.

To keep up with demand and pursue further expansion, Viola is also considering raising additional capital aimed at increasing supply to meet market demand.

Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Black Owned Dental Practice Lands Partnership With NBA Team

Smile Savvy Cosmetic Dentistry is a Black owned dental practice based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Founders Joya and Drew Lyons took their first step from small business to big partner this year.

The duo joined the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets as a dental partner alongside big brand names such as Coca-Cola, Lowe’s, and NIKE.

black owned dental practice
Drew and Joya Lyons

The dental practice isn’t the only small business the Hornets signed on with, but it is the only local Black-owned business to make corporate partner with the professional NBA team, and one of only a small few among all NBA partners.

“As one of the few Black owned businesses to partner with the Hornets, we’re just happy to break barriers while continuing to give back,” Dr. Joya Lyons remarked.

Though the monetary details of the partnership are mostly unknown, Josh Rosen, senior director of corporate communication at Hornet S&E, confirmed that it is a multi-year partnership. As part of the deal, Smile Savvy will now be the primary sponsor of the well-loved “Smile Cam” and their branding will be displayed alongside birthday announcements during home games.

Additionally, Smile Savvy will be launching the “Smile Savvy Smile Watch,” in which neither the fans, coaches, staff nor the Hornets players themselves are exempt from being the subject of impromptu photos within this new digital series. Smile Savvy now also retains the rights to use Hornets logos and marks.

black owned dental practice

Furthermore, two lucky fans will get the opportunity to enter sweepstakes for the classy “Date Night” package. Smile Savvy and the Hornets will team up to present the winners with premium tickets, fine dining from the renowned chefs of the Crown Club, and an exclusive behind-the-scenes pregame experience.

The Smile Savvy duo aren’t strangers to giving. After opening their dental practice in 2014, the Lyons lamented the fact that a new smile was a luxury that many couldn’t afford. To remedy that, they launched the Lyons Share in March 2019, a charity organization that aims to give at least 4 people from underserved communities a smile makeover.

The couple rebranded and renewed their interest in cosmetic dentistry during the pandemic, finding the opportunity to present adults with new smiles more important than ever in a time so harrowing and uncertain.

“Smiles are a major part of human connection and interaction,” Dr. Drew Lyons said during a press release. “During the pandemic, people not only missed seeing the smiles of others but also realized how valuable they are when it comes to employment and other opportunities. By partnering with the Charlotte Hornets, we know that we can touch more who desire to have healthy smiles to open more doors through both our office and our charitable arm, the Lyons Share.”

Hornets President and Vice Charmain Whitfield shares the sentiment in his statement. “We look forward to bringing them into our Hornets family and teaming with them to help share healthy smiles.”

As proud dental partners of the Hornets NBA team, there’s no doubt Smile Savvy’s addition will result in healthier smiles and happier hearts team and nationwide.


Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

NBA Player CJ McCollum Now Owns a 300-Acre Vineyard

NBA star and vintner CJ McCollum has purchased a 318-acre property, located in Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton appellation, for his Heritage 91 wine label.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers appears to be the first active NBA player to own his own vineyard.

CJ McCollum

The still-to-be-named vineyard is a 318-acre property in the Willamette Valley’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA, located just west of the Chehalem Mountains where the label’s grapes are currently grown.

Related: Black Owned Wine Businesses You Should Know

According to an announcement, the farm — which borders Resonance Vineyard — features “multiple micro-climates, a five-acre reservoir, several irrigation ponds, a rock quarry, and a nursery operation.”

The Heritage 91 property is in the Yamhill-Carlton appellation, right next door to Louis Jadot’s Oregon vineyard. (Oregon First)

The McCollums say they are hoping to begin laying out the vineyard next year, working with local experts to find the best clones for the land, implying that it may be some time before the wine is actually produced from grapes grown on the site.

So in the meantime, McCollum Heritage 91 wines will continue to be produced with their current, founding partner, Adelsheim Vineyard.

Source: Wine Spectator and Food &Wine

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3 mins read

Former President Barack Obama joins NBA Africa as strategic partner and minority owner

The National Basketball Association (NBA)  announced yesterday that former President Barack Obama has joined NBA Africa as a strategic partner.

President Obama will help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent, including programs and partnerships that support greater gender equality and economic inclusion.

In this capacity, President Obama will have a minority equity stake in the new venture, which over time he intends to use to fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa.

“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States—using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent,” said President Barack Obama.  “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people.  I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities.  That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries.”

“We are honored that President Obama has become a strategic partner in NBA Africa and will support our wide-ranging efforts to grow the game of basketball on the continent,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “In addition to his well-documented love for basketball, President Obama has a firm belief in Africa’s potential and the enormous growth opportunities that exist through sports.  NBA Africa will benefit tremendously from his engagement.”

“We have ambitious growth plans for NBA Africa and having President Obama join our efforts is a recognition that through sport, Africa can take its rightful place on the world stage,” said NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams.  “We look forward to working with President Obama and our strategic investors to use basketball as an economic growth engine across the continent and as a platform to improve the health and wellness of one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing populations.”

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2 mins read

Valerie Daniels-Carter, Founder of the Largest Woman Owned Franchise Business and Part Owner of an NBA Team

Valerie Daniels-Carter is a part owner of the NBA team The Milwaukee Bucks, and is both president and CEO of  V&J Holdings.

V&J Holdings is the largest franchise company owned by a woman, the largest minority owner of Pizza Hut franchise stores, and one of the largest franchising companies in the country, period.

It owns over 40 Burger King restaurants, and over 60 Pizza Hut locations, along with other franchises such as MyYoMy Frozen Yogurt, Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels, and Captain D’s Seafood along with other real estate properties.

How it all started

This franchise and real estate empire all started with Valerie Daniels-Carter and John Daniels Jr. back in 1982 with just one Burger King franchise. Valerie Daniels-Carter was working as a banker when she decided to start her own business. She had to raise over $1 million to buy the rights to a Burger King restaurant and to build the restaurant itself.

Her late husband Jeffrey pitched in by giving her a savings account that he filled up with checks from his second job. It took a lot of sacrifice and shrewd decision making to get the first franchise off of the ground, but the effort paid off. By 1998, she already had over 30 Burger Kings and 60 Pizza Hut locations.

Valerie Daniels-Carter says she did this to challenge the old status quo in franchising. She wants to help other African American women have a chance to own their own franchising companies as well.

She frequently gives motivational talks, using her own life experience, business experience, and sheer determination as a way to inspire and encourage others who look like her and come from similar backgrounds to aspire to accomplish more than they ever dreamed of.


Johnny T. Ross

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1 min read

Master P Now Focused On Owning An HBCU Instead of an NBA Team

A few days ago, Master P (born Percy Miller) took to his Instagram account to announce his desire to own an HBCU.

“So, y’all know I always wanted to own an NBA team, but now I want to own an HBCU. It’s so important that we educate the culture. This message is all about educating our people,” he said during the video clip.

“I was shocked when I Googled who owned and founded HBCUs,” Miller said. “We can’t change the past but we can change the future by investing in the next generation. They going to have to sell some of these schools to us, or fund it the same way other major universities are funded.”

During the video, Miller expressed that he once had a desire to attend Southern University, an HBCU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He encouraged others to join the movement to ensure that the nation’s historically Black colleges are able to offer proper education to our children.

Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

LeBron James, Maverick Carter Raise $100M To Build a Media Empire

LeBron James and his longtime business partner Maverick Carter have reportedly launched a new venture to expand their media empire.

The pair raised $100 million to start the SpringHill Co., a conglomerate that aims to produce content from usually marginalized voices, Bloomberg Businessweek reported Thursday.

“When we talk about storytelling, we want to be able to hit home, to hit a lot of homes where they feel like they can be a part of that story,” James told the magazine. “And they feel like, Oh, you know what? I can relate to that.”

lebron james

With James as chairman and Carter as CEO, the firm combines the duo’s SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted LLC, which have birthed entertainment projects such as a forthcoming “Space Jam” sequel and an HBO talk show, with a marketing agency called the Robot Co., according to Businessweek.

SpringHill was reportedly formed on the same day in March that the NBA suspended its season because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the ensuing lockdowns haven’t hampered the company’s early days — Carter recently inked a TV deal with Disney and has a basketball-themed Netflix film in the works, Businessweek reported.

James and Carter reportedly attended the same high school that James left to join the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. The pair worked together on “The Decision,” a live broadcast of James’ 2010 announcement that he was leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat, Businessweek reported. They went on to start SpringHill Entertainment, which shares its name with the Akron, Ohio, apartment complex where James grew up.

lebron james

The pair’s new company is backed by a slate of investors including Guggenheim Partners, UC Investments, SC Holdings and News Corp. heir Elisabeth Murdoch, with a board that includes tennis legend Serena Williams, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and LiveNation CEO Michael Rapino, Businessweek’s lengthy profile says. (News Corp. owns The Post.)

“This is ultimately a company that’s about point of view, the community you serve, and empowerment,” investment banker Paul Wachter, who helped facilitate the project and also sits on the board, told Businessweek. “This is a company designed to move the culture.”


Source: NY Post

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2 mins read

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Auctions off NBA Championship Rings for STEM Education

Fans can own a piece of NBA history thanks to Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The basketball great is auctioning off hundreds of pieces of memorabilia and including four NBA championship rings.

Much of the proceeds will go to his Skyhook Foundation, which brings STEM educational opportunities – science, technology, engineering and math — to underserved communities.

“When it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or trophy in a room, or providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple. Sell it all,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his blog.

“Looking back on what I have done with my life, instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold plating celebrating something I did a long time ago, I’d rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about what I might be doing for their future,” he added.

The basketball great teamed up with Goldin Auctions to help sell off the memorabilia, some of which has minimum bids set at tens of thousands of dollars.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

How many NBA championship rings does Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have? A whopping six — and four are now up for auction. In addition to those historic rings, Abdul-Jabbar’s 1985 All-Star ring, a 1989 used and signed basketball and an MVP trophy are among the highly-coveted items receiving bids well over the prices listed as minimum bids. receiving bids well over the prices listed as minimum bids.

Abdul-Jabbar’s foundation states this its mission is to “Give kids a shot that can’t be blocked.” Its flagship program is a camp for fourth and fifth graders that hopes to inspire students to focus on STEM education. Campy Skyhook takes the kids on a five-day immersive experience in the Angeles National Forest.

“I can do more than stuff a ball through a hoop; my greatest asset is my mind,” Abdul-Jabbar says on the foundation’s website.


Source: CBS