Entrepreneurs Grind

Rennia Davis Plans To Comeback Better Than Ever

Rennia Davis has a bright future ahead of her.

Coming off an incredibly successful collegiate career at the University of Tennessee where she averaged 15.4 points and eight rebounds over the course of her four years with the team, Davis finished top 10 in just about every statistical category imaginable in Tennessee history including scoring, rebounds, and double-doubles. Her performance during the 2020-2021 campaign earned her the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, and she was subsequently drafted 9th by the Minnesota Lynx in this year’s draft.

Unfortunately, Davis suffered a stress fracture in her foot early in the season, putting her out indefinitely. Still, as we all know, setbacks are setups for comebacks, and Davis is working hard to come back better than ever. We caught up with one of Tennessee’s all-time greats to talk about her college career, what it was like to experience the moment of being drafted, and what we can expect from her in the coming months.

ONE37pm: Okay let’s start by taking it back to the University of Tennessee where you established yourself as one of the best women’s college basketball players in the country. What was that like for you?

Davis: Honestly, my time at Tennessee was not how I was expecting it to go. It was definitely a grind! It feels good now looking back, but it wasn’t easy. Teams played us harder because we were “Tennessee.” We’ve won eight national championships, and our name holds a lot of weight. I remember we played Kentucky my sophomore year, and they beat us. They were sort of rubbing in our faces like “yeah we beat Tennessee.” We were getting the best of teams every night, so it does feel good now.

ONE37pm: Draft Night is a defining moment for every athlete. Unfortunately, it was virtual like last year, but what was it like to hear your name called?

Davis: It wasn’t unfortunate for me at all! I got to be around my family and it was more of an intimate setting. It still would have been a special moment if I had been there, but to have all the people that love and care about me was great. You know this was my dream, and it was a really good feeling. A different energy for sure!

ONE37pm: You suffered a stress fracture in your foot just a few days after training camp, but we all know you are very resilient. How has the rehab process been going?

Davis: It’s been very tough, but as you said, I’m a very tough individual. I’ve actually had this stress fracture since March, so I went through finishing the season, pre-season, and that little bit of training camp with it. It’s a different approach to each day, but whenever I face challenges, I take a deep breath because I know there is a blessing waiting on the other side. It’s a balance of being positive and realistic. Sometimes it gets complicated because I’ll be trying to do core work, but then I have to worry about my leg. I’m working through it.

ONE37pm: Where would you say you are right now in terms of recovery on a scale of 1-10?

Davis: I’m not gonna lie—I’m very close to a 1, but it’s my doctor’s orders. I can’t rush this process at all.

ONE37pm: Absolutely! Don’t rush it at all because you’ve got plenty of time. On another note, what have you been doing to make the most of your time off?

Davis: I’ve been doing a lot of big things! I’m trying to stay involved in the game without necessarily having a basketball in my hands. I’ve been interacting with my supporters in different ways, and I’ve been focused on trying to build my actual brand with Distinction, my marketing agency. I’m working on my logo, and I am going to have t-shirts dropping soon. I also plan on starting a weekly live session, and obviously starting off it will be with people that I know in the league. I’m still very much involved with my teammates and the league, and I’m also starting a five meal in five days program. The first meal actually came out this week! I eventually would like to own a restaurant because I have other passions and dreams too.

ONE37pm: What can we expect from you in the future, and is there anything else you would like to mention?

Davis: I’ve got my t-shirts coming really soon! I want to have them released before the end of the season. Also, go Lynx! Keep supporting us!

You can keep up with Rennia on Instagram and Twitter for all of her latest updates.

Entrepreneurs Grind

GaryVee Talks To Pro Athletes About How to Make An Impact

If you saw the “30 for 30″—then you already know the story.

“By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke.”

Former Tennessee Titan, Derrick Morgan, is looking to change that.

Last Friday, Morgan spearhead a financial conference called “I AM Nation.” It included guests speeches from the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk and Anthony Pompliano.

“Life is only about access. And the great mistake of athletes is not going aggressive enough, to make relationships in the cities where they have played,” Vaynerchuk had to say when speaking at the event, emphasizing the need for personal connections.

In addition to increasing financial literacy, Morgan, and a slew of other current and former athletes, are hoping to also make an impact. They’ve laid out their priorities as capital, community, and culture.

When players are in the primes of their career, financial strategy and investing are rarely discussed in the locker room. The event was made to provide a forum for players to learn, network, and open that conversation.

The “I AM Nation” group has put together quite the team. The roster includes Josh Childress, Byron Jones, Stephen Tulloch, Winston Justice, Justin Forsett, EJ Manuel, Vincent Fuller, Kevin Byard, and Spencer Paysinger.

These players’ backgrounds are all different. Some of them have already dabbled in entrepreneurship and others are just getting started. Either way, their involvement is helping diversify the investment space.

At the event, the conversations revolved around NFTs, real estate, cryptocurrency, and stock trading. Each subsection was given a speaker dedicated to providing valuable information for the group.

“[Athletes] are playing in real cities, with real die-hard fans. Football is one of the great passions of our society.  And because of that passion, you can access some really influential people, who will take a meeting with you, who will say yes to doing business with you” Vaynerchuk emphasized.

The event united the focuses of Morgan’s vision, by bringing capital, community, and culture together.

Entrepreneurs Grind

New Orleans Pelicans Star Wes Iwundu Announces Partnership With Diplomacy

New Orleans Pelicans star Wes Iwundu is teaming up with black-owned streetwear brand Diplomacy for a new capsule collection called Free The Future. A life-long lover of streetwear fashion, Iwundu and Diplomacy have collaborated to bring forth a capsule that includes high-quality statement tees, shorts, socks, and accessories all made in California. Working closely with Diplomacy founder and creative visionary Eric Archibald, the ultimate goal of this collection is to create expression through fashion, escapism, and pieces that promote mindfulness, tact, and civility, as we continue to battle a global pandemic, racial injustice, economic hardship, and political division.

Wes Iwundu

Additionally, Iwundu and Diplomacy will be helping the community, as a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Houston, as they will work to deliver high-quality afterschool to their community’s most at-risk youth. Ahead of the launch, ONE37pm caught up with Iwundu to discuss how this partnership came to be, and his aspirations for this capsule.

ONE37pm: First of all, congratulations on this partnership! How did this come to fruition, and how important is it for you to be teaming up with Diplomacy?

Iwundu: I’ve always wanted to be able to bring an idea to life through fashion. Partnering with Diplomacy gave me the opportunity to be in a creative mindset.  We chopped it up, they listened to my ideas, and the project evolved from there

ONE37pm: Has streetwear always been something you have loved or been passionate about?

Iwundu: Streetwear was always a passion of mine. Ever since I was a kid asking my mom to take me to the store to pick up the cool trends. Elementary school had a dress code, so I wasn’t able to show really off my drip yet, ha-ha.  But I love the socially conscious vibe that drives streetwear, and I think Diplomacy does this in really creative ways.


ONE37pm: You have been working with creative director Eric Archibald on this Free The Future capsule which has hoodies, tees, accessories, etc. There is truly something in this collection for everybody. What was the design process like in terms of creating and selecting the pieces?

Iwundu: Eric has been amazing.  So inspiring to work with. Being in the same room with his imagination really gets me thinking in new directions. The process of creating and coming up with the pieces was very detailed and took time. We needed to explore what “free the future” means and how we could represent it visually in the most exciting ways. From there we looked for fabrics, and Los Angeles is a great place for that, I wanted the fabric to feel so good that when you try on the hoodie or the shorts or the tee there is an immediate reaction.  You don’t want to take it off.  Same with the fits — it had to fit like the favorite pieces in my closet.  In the end I think we came up with stuff that’s super dope.

ONE37pm:  A portion of the proceeds from the capsule will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Houston, your hometown, which is awesome! How much does it mean for you to continue to give back to the community?

Iwundu: I’m so excited to be teaming up with The Greater Boys & Girls Club of Houston. The name of the collab is “Free the Future”, and kids literally are the future, like Whitney says, so the partnership made a lot of sense.  It’s really gratifying to be able to give back especially to the community where I grew up. 

ONE37pm: Last but not least, what does Diplomacy represent in your eyes, and is there anything else you want people to know about this collection?

Iwundu: Diplomacy to me is about being heard.  Listening to others and having them listen to you.  The toleration and/or acceptance of opposing views.  I can make my point without making an enemy.  Even if we just agree to disagree.  That’s Diplomacy to me.

You can shop the collection here.

Entrepreneurs Grind

How Sole Retriever Is Changing The Sneaker Game

Whether you are a sneakerhead or a casual sneaker wearer, there will come a point where you have to purchase a new pair of kicks. For some of us (like myself), sneaker collecting is a passion the same way others collect items such as trading cards, comic books, and now crypto, however, the process of getting your hands on new sneakers has recently become quite difficult. That is where Sole Retriever comes in. Since its 2019 launch, the company has been somewhat of a “middle-man” to help give consumers a better shot at snagging sneaker Ws. Sole Retriever allows sneaker enthusiasts of all levels to have access to raffle-based drops, giving users a list of all upcoming releases, and the different retail shops offering raffles for that specific drop.

Recently launching their mobile app this past April, Sole Retriever is a must-have for any sneakerhead, and currently has a waitlist of 50,000 users (yes you read that correctly) anxiously awaiting their turn to get in. With their website and mobile app booming, Sole Retriever is already becoming a powerplayer in the sneaker market, and ONE37pm spoke to one of the co-owners, Harry, about the company’s beginnings, the success Sole Retriever has achieved so far, and their plans for the future.

ONE37pm: How did the concept of Sole Retriever come to be?

Harry: We launched the site in 2019, and just released our mobile app this past April. Sneakers in general are hard to get, and the process has become very fragmented. Sneaker raffles are a way to make that process more fair. We research, collect and aggregate data to source all of the places that are offering sneakers, so that way people can enter different raffles. More shops have leaned into raffles because of the first come first serve aspect of sneakers, and this is going to be the future! Also COVID played a major role in accelerating the trend of online raffles as well because obviously you couldn’t go in-store as much. We have a strong sneaker community online and via socials as well which is great too! 

ONE37pm: For those that may now be fully aware, just how important are raffles going to be in the future?

Harry: Depending on the release, which sneaker it is, and who is carrying the shoe, companies will typically allocate a certain amount of sneakers to retailers such as Foot Locker, KITH, etc. Raffles are super important because what we’ll do is provide a calendar of online release dates for sneakers that users can enter so that way they have access to all of the information and resources necessary to increase their odds of landing a pair. We are a supplement that helps people generally become more aware so that way they multiply their chances of getting Ws.

ONE37pm: Have there been any challenges that you have encountered along the way?

Harry: Definitely! It has sort of mitigated as of late, but there were some difficulties when we first started to gain traction. There’s three people on the team, and that meant (and still means) sometimes waking up in the middle of the night to stay on top of everything happening, keep our users updated, and put out any fires that may arise! There were also some growing pains along the way as well. As of now, we are investing into resources and working on scaling up to continue to support our increasing user-base, but these are definitely good problems to have!

ONE37pm: Obviously there are hyped releases with every brand such as Yeezys x Adidas, but would you say there is definitely more demand with Nikes/Jordans?

Harry: For sure. There has been a resurgence with the Nike SBs, and they have become one of the most demanded silhouettes, especially with a ton of recently hyped collaborations. Many of the recent Jordan and Yeezy drops tend to be released in sizable quantities, limited collabs, excluded, but with the SB’s, it’s been quite a combination of insane demand and great colorways that has resulted in their recent popularity spike.

ONE37pm: You touched on this a bit earlier, but it can be so hard to get sneakers retail, and the resell market can be crazy. How does Sole Retriever help with that?

Harry: Just by opening up the window to more potential Ws by introducing users to places and stories they didn’t even know existed. Even if you are unsuccessful with getting a W on a particular sneaker release, you are still benefiting from the knowledge gained, time saved, and convenience and accessibility provided to you.

ONE37pm: Last but not least, where do you see Sole Retriever in the future?

Harry: We have a lot of fun stuff in the pipeline, and right now we are really focusing on our mobile app. We launched the app in April, and there is currently a waitlist of 50,000 users, which we are letting in on a rolling basis. We are also releasing new features on the app, and it will be suitable for whatever sneaker level you classify yourself as. Whether you are an entry-level sneakerhead, or collector, we appeal to any sneakerhead! At the end of the day it’s all about access and convenience, and that’s what we’re here to provide.

The Sole Retriever app is available via IOS and Android devices, so be sure to sign up and mark your spot on the waitlist today. Boost your position by referring your friends and gain instant access when you reach five referrals! In the meantime, you can up with all of the latest Sole Retriever updates through their official website, Instagram, and Twitter.

Entrepreneurs Grind

Jimmy Butler Is Partnering With Rhone to Elevate Your Lifestyle and Performance

Jimmy Butler has always been known not just for his elite basketball skills but for his smooth style off the court, infectious personality, and content creation. So it should come as no surprise that Butler is looking to take things up a notch, as it was officially announced today that the five-time NBA All-Star is partnering with performance lifestyle brand Rhone in a rare first-of-its-kind collaboration.

Jonesworks Company

As a part of the deal, Butler will serve as the face of the company, while taking on a role as an investor and business partner. The Miami Heat superstar will also be an active collaborator with Rhone as he will assist in the design and marketing components of the brand, and as always, Butler will be giving back to the community as a part of Rhone’s outreach programs (which also includes a summer basketball camp for underprivileged youth).

Butler is set to make his official debut with Rhone’s Summer 2021 campaign and has been working extremely hard behind the scenes in preparation for his new role while balancing the final stretch of the regular season as the Miami Heat are set to begin postseason play next week. We spoke to Butler ahead of this announcement to talk about all things Rhone, and what we can expect in the near future.

ONE37pm: Jimmy, you have always been known for your pulse on content, marketing, style, etc., so this partnership with Rhone seems like a natural next step. For you personally, why Rhone?

Butler: I think Rhone is in the market where they are really good at what they do. We have a lot of things in common, we both come from nowhere but we hang with the big dogs. Rhone is full of good people who make good clothes and apparel for working out, lifestyle, etc. The biggest thing is that we see eye to eye on the community.

Jonesworks Company

ONE37pm: This is such an exciting announcement! We know we can expect the first campaign in Summer 21’, what has the day-to-day process been like?

Butler: You know there is so much going on in my life right now! I’m playing basketball, and anybody that knows me knows that when I’m competing, basketball is always on my mind. Right now everything is full speed because the playoffs are starting and we want to win a championship, but I’m also focused on this. I love building things and helping others.

ONE37pm: You sort of just mentioned it, but how are you balancing being in-season, along with this partnership? The postseason starts next week, and you guys are aiming for another Finals run and ultimately a championship. When it comes to Rhone, are you going to temporarily take a break?

Butler: Yes, I’m locked in, but I also think too much of anything can be a bad thing. I can’t be so locked in on basketball that I’m missing out on other things like my family, Rhone, Dominoes, and coffee (Big Face Coffee). Basketball is so stupidly important to me, and it will always be, but I have to make sure I focus on other things too.

ONE37pm: You mentioned the importance of community involvement. I know that there are plans for summer basketball camp, but is there anything else you can tell us at the moment?

Butler: Just making sure that everybody has an opportunity to be an active part in Rhone, and it’s something that we can all have in common. I can’t really say too much right now because we are still working on everything, but you guys will be the first to know!

Jonesworks Company

ONE37pm: Not only are you the face of the brand, but you will also have a hand in the designing and marketing components as well. How has that been for you?

Butler: It’s been great! This has really given me the opportunity to show my creative side and marketing aspects. Rhone is a real family vibe, and I also have a great social team helping me out when it comes to marketing on Instagram, Twitter, etc., for different strategies. It’s been fun!

ONE37pm: Last but not least, what we can expect from you and Rhone in the future?

Butler: To be the best, that’s it! That is both of our goals. We want people to look fly, and when people wear athletic gear, we want to say “Rhone did that.” When people wear swimwear, we want to be able to say “Rhone did that.” No matter where you go, we’ll have you covered!

Entrepreneurs Grind

How Michael Mayer, Co-Founder of Windmill, Is Changing Air Conditioning

This week’s edition of The Tartare Project hosted by Phil Toronto features Michael Mayer, the co-founder of Windmill. A consumer electronics company, Windmill is a small business headquartered in New York that focuses on building eco-friendly products that help keep the air clean. The brand’s most notable product is their personalized Windmill Air Conditioning unit that targets better airflow and smoother cooling while keeping away outside air.

Prior to co-founding Windmill in 2018, Mayer had a resume full of business experience, including being the co-founder of smartphone gadget Lookalu, and a three-year stint at Betterment For Advisors in which he served in various different roles.

Toronto and Mayer sat down for a 45-minute interview in which they discussed his career trajectory. Toronto began the conversation by asking Mayer about the decision to start Windmill. “Before Windmill there was no brand association or loyalty when it came to air conditioning. You know the big-name companies, but they haven’t been able to connect with the customer. For that very reason, this is an opportunity for innovation and experience.”

Growing up in Orlando, Florida with Disney World as his ‘backyard,’ education was a huge part of Mayer’s upbringing, attending college at the University of Pennsylvania, where he eventually received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. “I actually wanted to be an English major because I loved 18th Century Poetry in high school, “ he tells Toronto before going into the decision to go down the finance lane. “I went from an English major to finance. I spent the rest of those three years doing international currency finance and accounting. I felt the air just get sucked out of me. I wasn’t myself, and I wasn’t vibing on the stuff that I was learning. I ultimately graduated and realized that it wasn’t who I was.”


Like many young adults, Mayer had to discover himself and find his own path in life. That journey was a spiritual one that included lots of meditation and therapy. “I’m a big fan of mental health. Even if you think you don’t need therapy, it’s helpful to dig into your past to figure out why you are the way you are—especially with starting a business. It’s very helpful!”

As the conversation continues, Toronto and Mayer cover his decision to leave banking, trusting your ability to live in uncertainty, and his early career experiences. Naturally, the conversation gets back to Windmill, and how the company values their customer’s experience. “LG, GE, Frigidaire—they aren’t thinking about how to word their installation manual in a way that you would understand it—they have third-party companies doing their manuals,” he says before detailing Windmill’s game plan for the future. Ultimately the vision of Windmill is to expand outside of air conditioning and to think about air care more broadly—especially with Covid and the wildfires out west. Air care is becoming more important.”

For more on Mayer and his business Windmill be sure to listen to the full interview above. You can also check Windmill’s official website here.

Entrepreneurs Grind

How Jacob Zuppke Is Changing The Landscape of Petcare

This week’s episode of the Tartare Project hosted by Phil Toronto features Jacob Zuppke, President and COO of Autopets. Autopets is most known for their innovative pet care products such as the ‘Litter Robot,’ and the company aims to deliver meaningful insights through their high-grade products to assist in making better decisions for pets. Priding themselves on their development, marketing, and elite customer service, Autopets continues to rapidly grow their company as they establish themselves as one of the leaders in quality pet care and accessories. Zuppke spoke with Toronto in a nearly 40-minute conversation that covered his early childhood, the beginning stages of his career, and the developmental strategies behind Autopets.

Toronto starts the conversation by asking Zuppke to give a rundown of how Autopets originally came to be. “Autopets is the maker of ‘Litter Robot,’ which is the highest rated self-cleaning litter box for cats, and that is how we got our start. As of recently, we launched the ‘Feeder Robot,’ which is a pet feeder for both cats and dogs. We also have our litter box brand which is the maker of refined cat accessories ranging from modern cat trees, to cat nips, to different litter boxing closure to hide your litter box in plain sight.”

Taking some steps back, Toronto and Zuppke discuss his childhood in Bloomfield, Michigan, how he viewed school growing up, and his very first business venture at sixteen. “When I turned sixteen, my buddy and I started TJ Bagel, which was a Sunday morning bagel delivery route,” he says, reminiscing about his teenage entrepreneurial days. “We would get up early and go to a bagel place near us called Brooklyn Bagel and pack up everyone’s order and deliver them. We did that for about a year-and-a-half, and it didn’t really turn into much. It was a fun hobby business where we could make a little bit of money, but it was the first real business entity that we filed for and learned that process.”

Two summers later Zuppke embarked on a power washing landscaping business with another friend, and it was there that he realized that he had a passion for entrepreneurship. “That’s when I realized that I had this creative marketing approach where we sat outside of a grocery store that we worked at, and gave away free power washing services. We gave out 100 square feet of power washing, which isn’t much, and we were eventually able to book out an entire summer of homes. It was a really cool first go!”

After diving into more of Zuppke’s early businesses, the conversation progresses into Zuppke’s decision to join Autopets and how he has approached each phase of his career. “It definitely wasn’t all rainbows, but I came to a head where I realized that my partner and I were no longer having fun growing the business together,” he tells Toronto. “I recognized that I am somebody who wants to be in business with a partner, and it’s hard to do that if you don’t enjoy each other’s company all the time or don’t want to have some form of a relationship outside of a business one. I was young and really wanted a mentor, and I felt like it was something that I wasn’t necessarily getting a piece of. I want to have fun with what I’m doing, and looking back, I’ve never had more fun than what I’ve had at Autopets.”

For more on Zuppke and Autopets, be sure to listen to the full interview above. You can follow the entrepreneur on Instagram and Twitter.

Entrepreneurs Grind

What Is Post Malone’s Net Worth?

Post Malone first rose to fame in 2015 with the release of his single ‘White Iverson.’ The following year the artist released his debut album Stoney, which featured the hit ‘Congratulations’ and set a record for the most weeks on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In the five years since, Malone has continued his success with his follow-up albums Beerbongs & Bentleys and Hollywood’s Bleeding and has amassed a net worth of $30 million. Here is a breakdown of how the 25-year-old has been able to reach that number in just a six-year time period.

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Post Malone at the Grammys

Post Malone was born in Syracuse, New York, where he spent the first ten years of his life, before moving to Grapevine, Texas. It was there that the budding artist discovered his love for writing music, and taught himself how to play guitar through YouTube videos. Malone used social media to build his profile and began gaining attention through his covers and original releases.

At this point in his career, the majority of Malone’s earnings have come from his music career and endorsements. The success of ‘White Iverson’ captured the attention of many esteemed rappers like Mac Miller and led the artist to sign a deal with Republic Records in August of that year. His first studio album, Stoney, went double platinum, and spawned two top ten singles with the tracks ‘Rockstar’ featuring 21 Savage, and the Ty Dolla Sign collaboration ‘Psycho’.

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Post Malone at the Billboard Music Awards

His sophomore album Beerbongs & Bentleys was even more successful, earning the artist four Grammy nominations, and breaking a streaming record on Spotify. His latest release, 2019’s Hollywood’s Bleeding, solidified his place as one of music’s most successful young rappers as the album broke Michael Jackson’s record for most weeks on the Billboard’s Top R&B and Hip-Hop Albums chart.

In the music industry, success on the charts doesn’t always mean that an artist is making a lot of money. In this current music climate, artists earn a good percentage of their money through performances and tours, and of-course, the more you know how to do on your own, the less money you have to payout to others.

Malone is his own principal songwriter, which means he gets to keep a higher percentage of his royalties as opposed to other artists who hire a team of writers for their projects. The rapper has also booked many performing gigs through the years, and has embarked on a major concert tour for each studio album.

His last concert, The Runaway Tour, was on track to be one of the biggest tours of 2020 prior to the pandemic cancellation, and was voted Best Hip-Hop/R&B Tour by the Pollstar awards over the summer. With the pandemic still being a concern, Malone hasn’t announced any new concerts, but is currently confirmed as one of the performers for Rolling Loud in May, and Rock in Rio in June. While Malone has never officially released his tour earnings, according to Forbes, the rapper reportedly grosses $500,000 per show.

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Post Malone at Billboard Music Awards

In addition to his musical projects, Malone has multiple brand partnerships, with his Bud Light deal being the most financially lucrative. Malone has performed at various Bud Light sponsored events, and has earned millions with the company. The artist also has also secured on-going partnerships with True Religion and Hyper X.

Post Malone is still only six years into his professional career, but appears to be on a good track in terms of his success and overall net worth. With more music in the works, and upcoming entrepreneurial ventures ahead, Malone certainly has the potential to wind up being one of music’s top earners in the future.

Entrepreneurs Grind

NBA Strength Coach Haseeb Fasihi Discusses The Ins and Outs of Training Athletes

Staying physically healthy is an essential component of being a successful athlete. To ensure their performance remains at a high level, many teams/athletes have a designated strength and conditioning coach/specialist to help them keep in tip-top shape. Haseeb Fasihi has been a go-to trainer/player development specialist for many teams and athletes since 2010, working with some of the NBA’s brightest stars including Jae Crowder, Miles Bridges, and Robert Covington to name a few. Fasihi has been the strength and conditioning specialist for the Lakeland Magic (the NBA G League team for the Orlando Magic) the past three years and played a critical role this past season in making sure the players stayed healthy during a shortened campaign that saw the team winning the 2021 G League championship.

Taking a well-deserved break to relax and recoup, Fasihi will soon be back in action, and he caught up with ONE37pm’s Jael Rucker to discuss this past season with Lakeland, how he started his training career, and advice for young college students who also aspire to achieve a career in conditioning and player development.

Haseeb Fasihi

Jael: I wanted to first get your thoughts on the bubble. I know you guys weren’t out there for as long as the NBA, but I know it was still tough.

Fasihi: To be honest, it was exciting for all of us! We treated it as a way to evolve ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. I had a goal for the players to work on things to get them out of their comfort zones. A lot of the stuff I have players work on is reading books, staying on time, making sure they are communicating better than normal, and eating better than normal. With the bubble experience—all of the players had the resources needed to excel, and usually, the ones that utilize the most resources are the most effective.

Those first couple of weeks in the bubble taught us to establish a routine, and from there, move forward to keep building off that routine. The best part about the bubble was getting that routine, and working on winning habits. Lakeland has had a winning culture since 2017, so we had to make sure the new players understood how we go about things. It took time, in the beginning, to figure each other out, but once chemistry started building up, everyone began to understand one another, and it led to a championship.

Jael: How was the season? Did you guys go straight into playoff time, or were there exhibitions?

Fasihi: We had a 15-game regular season, a lot of back-to-backs. The players had to understand that going through the back-to-back process could mean more injuries, additional rehab processes, more treatment time, etc.—we had to make sure guys were playing effectively and recovering. My biggest goal as a strength and conditioning coach/player development specialist is to make sure guys are priming and at their peak at the right time. 

We had a system where I tried to make sure everybody was sore and growing their tissues from the start of the bubble. When the playoffs came, we had a ‘one and done’ system similar to March Madness. There was a one-day break in between the regular season and playoffs and then three games to win the championship. 

Haseeb Fasihi

Jael: That is a lot of games in such a short amount of time, so what was your strategy?

Fasihi: Trying to figure out what everybody needs because every player has their own specific needs. I would always try to find out if players had a routine prior to the bubble that they wanted to continue. Myself and my performance staff had a logistic performance plan to work on stuff in a strategic way. The biggest goal was communication—we didn’t want players hiding injuries just so they could play. I had to deal with that over the past couple of years, where players weren’t expressing if they were hurt right away, but with this situation, we had to be as transparent as possible.

We noticed a lot of other teams dealing with big injuries in the bubble, and in speaking to the other strength coaches, they said the players were trying to hide it. So communication was one thing, and the second was finding a routine that worked for the guys in terms of implementing it over time.

Jael: Let’s take it back. When did you start training?

Fasihi: I started doing player development around 20 or 21. I had just gotten done playing overseas, and I wanted to get into injury prevention because I started going to UCF for exercise physiology. I was 21 when I worked with my first NBA player on the development side—that is my bread and butter. Over time I’ve had mentors along the way that have really helped me. There was a time where ESPN had an article that featured me.

I would forward that article to my mentors and people that I knew. One of my mentors at the time was the strength coach of the Orlando Magic; his name is Bill Burgos. He saw my progress, and then in 2017, the Orlando Magic invested in the G League team, and he asked me if I wanted the opportunity to work at the G League level. That was also when I started my strength and conditioning career. Everything prior to 2017 was player development, so now I have both roles, and players trust me on both sides.

Haseeb Fasihi

Jael: What would be your advice to anyone in college that wants to do what you do?

Fasihi: The best advice I can give is to just gain as much knowledge as possible and get as many certifications as you can. You also want to build relationships with people who are in the industry. You can’t just know people—they have to know you. People always say it’s ‘who you know,’ but if nobody knows you, then to me, there is no purpose for that phrase. The ones that really know me know what I am capable of doing. Build relationships and be persistent, but you don’t have to nag either. Just update them with things along the way, so they are up-to-date with your progress, and eventually, they will reach out to you. I never filled out an application to get into the NBA. It was more of a referral. It can be like that or the route of applying for a job. If you are applying, just make sure you have some sort of relationship within the organization or know their history because that can help your chances.

Jael: Final question. What is your plan for the future?

Fasihi: Right now, I’m still up-to-date with what Lakeland has going on performance-wise, specifically with their injury and medical prevention staff. The draft process will happen this summer, so God-willing I will be a part of that by helping the players work out before they get drafted. I will also have my off-season workouts in Miami—that is the new hotbed for NBA players to come train and hang out. I have a program/bubble situation here in Miami where players can come get their workout in and feel safe. That’s what the plan is, but still moving along the chain and making myself available for anybody, whether it is the NBA or working independently.

I have flexibility, and that is what I wanted. Learning from people who have worked in strength and conditioning for years has also been one of my biggest goals, and getting my masters remains one of my biggest priorities. I want to keep my clientele running independently.

The season will be back before we know it, so make sure you keep up with Haseeb on Instagram and Twitter.

Entrepreneurs Grind

Emily Schildt, Founder of ‘Pop Up Grocer,’ Discusses Her Entrepreneurial Rise

On this week’s episode of The Tartare Project hosted by Phil Toronto, Emily Schildt, founder and CEO of Pop Up Grocer, joined the show to discuss her meteoric journey in entrepreneurship. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes College in 2009, Schildt has built a loaded resume over the past decade, which includes a stint at Chobani as the director of digital engagement and a role as the project food director at Fohr Card. Prior to starting Pop Up Grocer, Schildt created a consulting company called Sourdough in December 2013 to bring new products to the market by telling their stories, and from time to time offers a tech-free event series called ‘Things of Wonder’ to promote human connection in our ‘phone-addicted culture.’ Between all of her businesses, Schildt truly has her hands full and spoke with Toronto about her path to success with Pop Up Grocer.

Toronto began the conversation by asking Schildt about how Pop Up Grocer came to be. “Pop Up Grocer is a place to discover the latest and greatest products that fall under the food and grocery umbrella,” she tells Toronto before diving into the various products Pop Up offers. “It’s mostly food and beverage, but we also have home, pet, and body care. To date, we have traveled the country visiting different cities in which we open for 30 days at a time, and introduce them to the products that we select.”

Growing in the suburbs of Baltimore, Schildt wasn’t what she personally considered a ‘model student,’ but turned it around in college to eventually become the entrepreneur that she is today. While Schildt has undoubtedly achieved a lot in her career thus far, that transformation from the student that didn’t exactly care about school to one that became seriously focused on her grades and future remains one of her proudest accomplishments because it shows that how you start doesn’t determine how you finish. “I was not a good student as far as getting good grades, and a lot of people are surprised to find that out about me. In my junior year of high school, I had a 1.5 GPA, and I had to turn it around my senior year in order to get into college. I love to tell people that because it proves that you can turn things around if you are motivated.”

As the conversation continued, Toronto and Schildt discussed Schildt’s time in college, her many different internships, and how her early job experiences taught her the many lessons necessary to start a business. Referencing her days of doing marketing consulting for other companies, Toronto then asks Schildt how her role as a consultant prepared her for starting Pop Up Grocer. “I got the idea for it because I enjoy grocery stores, and pre-Covid, I traveled quite a bit.

The grocery store would always be the first place I would go to get a sense of how people ate and lived.” Always knowing that the ultimate goal was to create a grocery store of her own, Schildt struggled early on with figuring out the logistics of opening her own store. Through her clients’ help, Schildt was eventually able to get the help she needed to launch. “I knew that I wanted to open up my own grocery store, but I didn’t know how to do it because it’s a very capital-heavy business, and I didn’t have any money. Through working with my clients who were emerging food brands, I identified a white space where I could create a grocery store and cover my costs.

Toronto and Schildt covered a lot in their 30-minute conversation, including the details of how Schildt was able to get Pop Up Grocer off the ground. You can listen to the full convo above, and follow Schildt on Instagram