Startups & VCs

NBA union launches business accelerator to support players

Patricof Co partnership to provide startups with mentorship and resources.

by Sam Carp

NBA union launches business accelerator to support players

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has created an accelerator programme to support its current and former members’ business ventures and startup ideas.

The NBPA Players Accelerator Program has been launched by the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) players’ union in partnership with Patricof Co, a specialised private investment platform for professional athletes founded by Mark Patricof, the son of venture capital pioneer Alan Patricof.

The accelerator will see select player-led companies receive benefits such as mentorship, exposure to like-minded entrepreneurs and access to resources of the NBPA, Patricof Co and sponsors of the initiative.

The accelerator will also include a three-day training camp in June that will culminate in a final pitch to a panel of professional investors.

Companies that are selected for the programme will need to meet several criteria, including active involvement of a current or former NBA player. Eligible firms will also have received no more than one round of funding.

“Our members are more than basketball players - they are investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs and stewards of their personal brands,” said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts. “This programme will provide additional resources to grow their businesses in a creative and competitive environment.”

“We are extremely confident that the NBA is talent rich in more ways than basketball and expect many great business ideas to come out of this endeavour,” added Mark Patricof. “We are grateful to the NBPA for sharing this vision and opportunity with Patricof Co.”

Several NBA players already have their own business interests away from the league, most notably LeBron James through his digital video firm Uninterrupted and Kevin Durant through his Thirty Five Ventures investment company.