By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

As promised, here is another installment from Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Project.  This time the focus is on sports and what happens AFTER THE CHEERING STOPS.  

This section, like his HipHop Summit, is packed with so much essential and inspirational information, that I'm dividing it into two parts.  There is way to much information to absorb in one blog, and it would make it waaaay too long, even for me.  This is the beginning of a series of articles and interviews with brothers and sisters in the sports and entertainment realm.  Hope you like it - give me your feedback. 

As I stated previously, Rev. Jackson's Wall Street Summit is the gift that keeps on giving.  The information is vital regardless of whether you're an athlete, wanna be an athlete, have a son, daughter, aunt, uncle, friend or significant other who was/is an athlete.  The great thing about it is that it is so significantly and sufficiently out of the box that we can benefit greatly by doing some research of our own and following some of the information shared by the panelists. 

After the limelight is over, many athletes find themselves in a quandry as to what to do with their lives.  In a great many instances, there has been little if any preparation for financial management, career goals, and transitioning into a "normal" lifestyle.  Some athletes have handled the transition well, while others have unfortunately faced a life of despair, poverty, depression, with some taking a wrong turn to drug abuse and alcoholism.   The members of this panel have been in the throes of working collaboratively and individually to assist former athletic superstars in making pivotal decisions about the next steps in their lives.  The information has not only helped them, but can also be instrumental in helping those of us who never made it to that level plot a track to success as well.  

REV. DR. JOSEPH BRYANT, JR., National Director, Rainbow/PUSH Sports, served as moderator for the ten member panel, that included:  Matt Gutierrez; Rodney Woods, Gerald Rogers, Dion Southern, Dale Davis, Dana London, Carlton Gamberell II, Dr. David E. Martin, Anthony Simmons, LaMarr Woodley.

To the extent possible, the information is going to be primarily from the panelists themselves, with very little editorializing from yours truly - to give you a better sense of the information rich session.  When it becomes necessary for clarification, recommendations or cross referencing, my comments will appear in red -  

So here is Part I of
Sports Industry and Athletes Panel: AFTER THE CHEERING STOPS
DR. JOSEPH BRYANT, JR., National Director, Rainbow/PUSH Sports - MODERATOR:
How the sports industry and athletes have a different spin and a different approach to their place in the economic scheme of things – and how so many of them played a role in doing some amazing things, not only during their playing careers, but after their careers – so today is really a celebration of that and an opportunity for us to hear from these stellar athletes and all the accomplishments that they have been able to achieve.

In introducing the athletes Dr. Bryant admonished the audience to remember that these are athletes and they're used to hearing the cheers from the crowds"So I expect you act as if you're in MSG and cheer!
Beginning to my right on the upper level is: Former New England Patriot – Matt Gutierrez;
We have the fantastic and fabulous business man who is the Executive Director of Diversity and Promotions in Playbook Investors Network – Rodney Woods; Marketplace minister co-author of Success on God's Terms, who – also a consultant working with athletes and business - Gerald Rogers;Former NFL Player and Standout with the USC Trojans, now international network marketer, Dion Southern; Former NBA giant who still looks like he could take it to the hole is – has now carved a new path and trailblazed businesses for retired athletes – Dale Davis; The one lone female – blossom and shining star of the panel who is a consultant, life coach and adviser for pro-athletes in retirement and transition – who has had an experience working with teams around this Metroplex, including the former NJ Nets and now a part of many of the NFL initiatives and women's issues Dana London;  to her left Professional success coach, co-author of Success on God's Terms, Carlton Gambrell,II; Amazing genius of a business man founding chairman of M-CAM Corporation Dr. David E. Martin; Current NFL all-pro defensive genius, maximizing his gifts, not only on the field but off the field, he's still playing while the cheering is going on LaMarr Woodley; Former NFL player with the San Diego Chargers, president and founder of Pro Athlete Business Groups, Anthony Simmons.

From a business perspective, let me just allow the platform to be set here today. It's important that we hear these voices. This is a very unique group and a very unique mindset.

ANTHONY SIMMONS, founder of the Pro-Athletes Business Group: talked about what he's doing – how he created the group he has; and how athletes are being given opportunities and the deal making opportunities he provides for the athletes after the cheering stops:


I was a former player with the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saint,  and played seven years in the league; and what happened was there are a lot of things that go on with a professional athlete – the percentage may be a little higher or a little lower, but it's there.  I started a company called Pro Athlete Business Group to give back and empower and educate professional athletes. We started with just twelve (12) guys in one room, back in 2009."   His business has grown to over 300 professional athletes in the room who want to come and listen to the different opportunities for them and their families. Because the athletes are – someone can ask them to a golf outing unless he's taking care of them - “what we do is we fly all our athletes in to the event; and the athletes who come to our event have to bring a significant other to the event so we can make it a family environment. We bring in 25 different companies to exhibit and present to these professional athletes. Within the last two years we've opened our doors up to NBA, Track and field, WNBA, even actors and entertainers – giving them opportunities. Those actors and entertainers are in the same boat as athletes, because they could stop making a record, they could stop making a movie and where their money is coming from – it's no longer going to come in. Of course, as athletes, we think we're going to play forever. I became a part of the environment my first year in the league – I spent every dime that I had my first year in the league. 

Back when I played they were making hundreds of dollars, now they're making millions of dollars. So people look at that and think well that wasn't a whole lot of money. Yes it was. My first year in the league, when I spent all the money, I had to go to a coach; because I went to my agent and asked him could I borrow $7,000 so I could make it for two months before I went to camp – not knowing if I'm going to make the team the next year – I was being considered, but I could have been traded to another team, injured, or not made the cut; or if I would make it to play the few years that I played. Well my agent didn't want to loan me the money, so he didn't believe in me; so naturally you know what I did – I fired him. So I went to my coach to ask the unthinkable of giving a player a loan so that he could make it to the next season. Well, I borrowed that $7000 from that coach; he rode my ass like white on rice in camp to make sure I made that team. Which I did - legitimately, I did make the team because I was hungry, you know I wanted to play. No matter how big, how strong I was, it's always going to set in a fact where a player can not make the team the next year. So, I was one of the fortunate ones. So at my event we bring in speakers, we bring in guys to encourage the guys, to empower them, to help them out in life after the game."

MODERATOR DR. JOSEPH BRYANT, JR.:   DION SOUTHERN you had a couple of years to play and then you decided to go back and take advantage of the educational opportunities that were afforded you for college – tell me a little about that, and then how you began to think about your future and maximize your college experience so that you could get on a good path after the game. 

DION SOUTHERN:   “Well, coming out – transitioning out – I changed majors at USC.   I started out in engineering and figured, hey, I can do this but I won't be happy. So I winded up transitioning to business. I went to summer school and different things, but, after I came out I still had a couple of classes left - knowing that NFL stands for “Not For Long” - I knew I was going to have to figure something out; so I made sure that I basically picked up those courses in off season. 

Then, coming out, I looked at my career and things that happened my second year; getting cut my first year, and brought back. You know that really woke me up right way. So the second year, when I transitioned into the new team, some different things happened – was supposed to come into camp, the player personnel changed on me – there are so many things that can happen regarding your success. It's not about talent alone. It's so many different variables - And I actually was working for a car dealership and a gentleman who was kind of a “supporter” of USC – basically, I went back to him and said 'hey Bob, I need something to do. Can I sell some cars while if figure this out?' So I was able to do that for a little while; and realized that I needed to do something. At the same time, I was trying out for other teams and wound up pulling my hamstring running through a try out. And I said, I'm done. I'm not going to be with those guys trying to make the team and getting older. But fortunately, my Mom was an entrepreneur, so I'd grown up in business. She had a beauty salon; hair salon. So I had the entrepreneurial spirit in me. I knew all along that I wanted to start a business. My goal was to spend enough time in the NFL to do that. But throughout the course, as you say – you get tired, or you spend all your money just trying to survive and living and working in the off seasons. So going back and finishing my degree was very key. It allowed me to not necessarily utilize it – because I wanted to be a stock broker, but when I went in that direction, I actually got exposed to the industry called network marketing. When I saw average individuals making above average income in this industry. I said 'hold on, I can do that.' So while I was actually working with my mom and helping her in her business, I began on the path of network marketing and distribution and got engrossed in that. And it grew; made a career out of that and actually ended up going on with that. It's all about relationships. Understand the power of relationships. Where ever you are – in school, out of school – on your current job – build relationships; and you never know where people are going to be five yeen ars, tyears from now. And they may have an opportunity related to you because there really in network marketing it was the relationships that I had and people came back to me and brought me opportunity – because of our relationships, because of the integrity that you displayed in your relationship with other people – they want to do business with me. That's the main thing right there – relationships and being in business with me; and identifying opportunities.

MODERATOR DR. JOSEPH BRYANT, JR.:   LaMARR – you're still playing, you're still in the locker room – you're still going out and maximizing your youth, your energy and your talent on the field. And yet you've taken the time to create all of these areas. Organizations that are doing so many great things – you have youth program and different things that you've already created – and yet you still playing the game. What motivated you to start so early to begin investing your energy and to allow yourself to develop businesses that are going to help people and help your community the way you are?

LaMARR WOODLEY:  I went to the University of Michigan and there was a guy named Clarence Ward(?) and he said one thing you've got to do is that you've got to take advantage while you're hot. Use your resources – take advantage while you're hot. 


 Because when you're hot, people want to talk to you. People want to have conversations with you. So that's what I did while I was in the limelight, I took advantage of it. And if you get to know me I'm a likeable guy, I'll talk to anybody – so I was just taking advantage of making friends. It started back in college for me when I was being able to start building relationships; and able to give back to the community, and I felt like we need to keep it in the community – so we started a golf outing called Heroes for Kids when I was a sophomore in college we found a way for me and another guy who was in Michigan State to put our name on it and to raise money. We did that for five years raised $350,000. I always went back and spent my time studying because I knew a lot of people were depending on me, looking up to me as an athlete. And I knew they watched me everything I did, I worked nearby. I went back to the high school. I talked to the kids in school because I felt like other people who came from our school should have come back to do that when I was there. So I said when I make it to that I would come back and spread the word. It's not going to be a secret how to make it and get to the next level, where it's academics. Once I got to the pros, it really opened doors then because I had some real money in my pocket and could begin to do some major stuff.- I could really go back and do some things that I wanted to do in my community. So I started my LaMarr Woodley Foundation; I did my football camps at school, I did all sorts of things where it wasn't about the attention, it was because I just liked helping the kids. And I don't anybody to pat me on the back – because I do it from the bottom of my heart. So that is what really got me started. And my wife got her degree hanging in the house, so I said I got to get my degree. I got tired of walking past hers and the kids see it, so I was little jealous! So I said I was going to go up one on her – I start school next week and get my masters in sports confidence (?) and minor in sports management. And I'm a huge basketball fan . I've had my own AAU basketball team for three years. Sounds kind of odd a football player with an AAU team. We have a member who played for the Golden State Warriors - he's from the same home town. I've been knowing the kid since he was three years old and we got together and a started a program. I'm always trying to come back and feel ideas of how to give back and give. And even some times if it was just my dollars that were needed – because I could just be sitting home saying we can do that! And we go out there and work with them because I feel like it's important for the community. I'm starting an event called The First Impression – the first impression is a back to school event where we give three hundred kids 150 haircuts for boys and 150 manicures for girls; and give away book bags, school supplies and things like that. First Impressions is like you want to feel good, and haircuts now cost you around $20 to $25; and we know a lot of parents can't afford that. We have a sign up sheet, but even if they show up the day of the deadline, we'll get you a haircut. Just so kids can have their good with them the first day of school and having them going back; because I remember when I went to school, I had to ask a girl could I borrow a piece of paper. She would look at me like I was crazy. And I'm like wow. So that is some of the things that we do; my PR agency helps out and they're the engine behind the whole thing, I'm just the face that comes up with a few ideas. , Byron Long, was a founding member of the team in 1927.

MODERATOR DR. JOSEPH BRYANT, JR.:  I want to thank you all for the heart behind – we thank you for that – it's admirable.   DANA you've been working with athletes for several years, and listening to LaMarr talk about being an active player and willing to give back, wanting to start companies, foundations, doing the community work he's doing, and going back to school – is that a story that you hear about? And if not, how are you guiding the athletes to begin to think a lot more down the playing field than they have.

DANA LONDON: Well, 22 years ago I started an organization called Transition Teams. And my background was that of a stock broker, and sold insurance, and doing financial planning for professional athletes and their families. 

What I discovered was that I was getting more questions about 'what do you think about this?' 'how can I do that?' And so I realized that there was a real need for those guys to figure out going back to the real world, what comes next. And, so in addition to addressing issues as they relate to women, I addressed the issues as they relate to the NFL, the NBA, Boxing, WWE. I've had an opportunity to work with athletes on various topics. And I do come across the foundation needs and the programs; and I've had plenty players who come to my program, and whether or not they were fully prepared to do what I needed them to do to go back to school. Their wives have taken part too. You know, it doesn't matter, because it's the raising of the entire family. Now my grandfather happened to have been one of the original Harlem Globetrotters.  {Byron Long, was a founding member of the team in 1927}.     So my family's connections support entertainment – it's coming up on 90 years – but that's just what I've seen. I don't think as a society we look at the needs of the athletes as men. And, as a woman people are always asking me 'you're a woman, what do you know about this?' The difference is that I know sports. I'm my father's fourth son – that thankfully looks like this -but it's a matter of being aware as a woman, as a mother. How would I want my son to grow up? As a woman, what kind of a mate would I want for my daughter or myself. That sort of thing, so you know you know these things. And, most of the time the men talk to their mothers and their sisters and their girlfriends and their wives. So I have seen it where society have agreed to bring in the guys; the guys want to talk to me, you know, because it's something that they're used to – they're from single parent homes, and that sort of thing. So it's non threatening. And that's where the woman aspect doesn't get acknowledged as much as it should, you know. Because it's not just as it relates to the women around; it's the women of influence in their lives. So if you know what you're talking about, you can encourage them to go back to school, and what comes next; and stop spending their money to where they're not broke after the year or two years are up. So, I've seen it a lot in 22 years.  {Of course you know I couldn't end this without saying that Ms. Dana London is a member of DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY, INC.}

MODERATOR DR. JOSEPH BRYANT, JR.:  Carlton tell how you've transitioned so well to being successful in the businesses you are seeking to do and have done, and more to come.

CARLTON GAMBRELL: Transitioning was a big key for me. I had an opportunity - I saw a lot, experienced a lot and developed a company while I was still playing, which was Pro Player Holdings. Pro Player Holdings is built for athletes and entertainers in all aspects of their careers, during post-, pre-, current- - whatever you have. In a nutshell the formula for me, we started at the financial realm. 

We tried to put together a bank; a sports entertainment network like in the early 2000 and they got wiped out by the train of the bank in New Orleans and we're bigger than – and we had to have some type of financial power and finance. Our whole concept of – because if you look back – we're kind of like product for the industry. But we don't control the product or the distribution. And how can we connect those dots? From an athlete, playing as a kid who wants to buy my shoes or buy product, and why can't we take that concept and put it into some more meaningful that can trickle back to the communities. So during that process we were fortunate enough to withstand the real estate era, which banks, at that time, were not too friendly to anybody. We were fortunate enough to be able to develop some technologies – one in the mobile stage which actually gives everyone a second chance to have a bank account, and they integrate them to any cell phone or any banking system in the world. So that's a new product that we did specifically for the under banked market. And how it ties into the whole sports world is, if you look at what's going on in the social network – Tweeting, Facebook – we're doing that as people are following us as athletes and entertainers. We're doing that pretty much without compensation. So how can you now monetize that whole social network platform, if it's specifically done with customers that use those specific products based on celebrities – and it opens up a whole 'nother world to be able to now circulate those funds back to where they need to go. So doing that journey of transition – it wasn't easy, sometimes you get knocked down and you get back up and try again to connect the dots which forced athletes to look at its social organizations and that's the one way where we'll make true change and that's what we've done thus far.

MODERATOR DR. JOSEPH BRYANT, JR.:    RODNEY WOOD has been a part of some experiences – especially in the past few years – where you've worked with athletes on multiple levels. A lot of what we're talking about you've already experienced. You are very familiar with. And yet you decided a course and you have created investment opportunities. Tell us a little about the ventures that you've the athletes that you've helped guide and do some of the things we've talked about toward their path to financial security as they go into their future.

RODNEY WOOD: – I'm also a former athlete myself. I didn't get a chance to play too long I got hurt, and almost had to have a knee replacement, coming into the Mavericks. Got into law enforcement – got with the P.I, did some incredible things there, which people like to (Imitates a private investigator and the audience breaks up into laughter) Pop! Pop! Pop! I'm looking atcha boy! I'm looking atcha!!” 


 But you know working with a lot of athletes, and my business partner David Martin, who you will undoubtedly hear from later. We wanted to make a big change – and we said, well how do we make this big change? And how do we build something? Because we're always talking about we got access to capital, and we've got this, we got that, but you know we're cool in the room with the guys with capital, who got to the next level can get capital. So we had to build a platform, so we built a platform, it's a wealth based platform basically to help every minority, every woman owned business – everything in getting access to capital. So, one you've got to teach, you've got to educate. And in order to educate sometimes you've got to put it in front of you so you can see how it actually operates. How you actually get to the next level. Because, you know, if somebody gives you capital, everybody wants to know how are you going to get my return? So you need a business plan, you need a succession plan; you need a key amount of insurance, you need auto financials. You need those things to get to the next level. But then the next hurdle was how do we educate my peers, other athletes and entertainers in how to transition into that space to be able to utilize liquid assets while you still have it, and not lose it? The third step after that was, how do you get people with money, a lot of money, who have a lot of capital they can invest in this, to understand what that ROI is? So now we built up a bankers' pool, with forty bankers on my platform; we've got over ten thousand investors at fifty million and above that are from the institutional side. Not the credit side, where you can go in and lose all your money, but we make sure that we educate you in this platform on how it works. And the program's called Playbook Investors Network www,playbookinvestorsnetwork.com, What we want to be able to transition – we want to be able to own things. How do you own something? You can't own anything if you don't have the capital. If you don't have the skill sets. To have the right people in your company to get you to the next level. So you got to have the type of things in order to get you to create jobs in your own community. Own the shoe that you actually wear. Let's not just own the shoe, how about we manufacture the shoe in the United States? Or you partner with a company in the international market. So we're doing our own things to be able to turn the landscape around, so that it is about not just the athlete, but it's about the business community and people who are buying your goods and services that you see everyday; it;s all about that, so we're very exclusive in what we do on that end. So I'll let David take it over a little later from here. 

This ends part one - there's a lot of information in this initial section, with much more to come in Part 2 - If you got anything positive, constructive, instructive out of it, please let me know - I'm on FaceBook, or you can email me gloriadulanwilson@gmail.com - make sure you indicate AFTER THE CHEERING STOPS in the subject line. 
 As I indicated before, this is the beginning of a series of articles and interviews with brothers and sisters in the sports and entertainment realm.  Hope you like it - give me your feedback.

Stay Blessed &


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