When it came time to hang up his jersey, two-time NBA All-Star Baron Davis wasted no time taking his passion and talents to a whole new game: entrepreneurship.
The serial entrepreneur and investor founded Business Inside the Game (BIG), a traveling live event series that aims to connect like-minded people hoping to make a major impact in business and a positive impact on society.
For the third year, BIG has set up shop at the NBA All-Star Weekend. Held at the Ace Hotel in Chicago, attendees will see panels featuring speakers like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, L.A. Laker Javale McGee and a host of innovative CEOs and thought leaders discussing such diverse topics as art in the branding world, how tech is changing the justice system and how to harness the power of storytelling.
The summit runs from February 13 to 15 and includes the kind of VIP dinners and afterparties you might expect at All-Star Weekend. Tickets are still available here, and for those who can’t make it in person, BIG will be live streaming on Twitch and posting highlights on social media.
We grabbed a few minutes with Baron before the summit tips off to discuss the power of ideas and human connection.
This is BIG’s third time at All-Star Weekend. How has it evolved?
I would say for the first one, having the likes of David Robinson, Ice Cube, Chris Paul, Morgan DeBaun from Blavity — it was a great opportunity that helped us build momentum. We were fortunate enough to have Adam Silver come in and give a keynote and a fireside chat. And so to have the NBA — with everything that they do great from the social and the business standpoint — to participate on this level, it was just a stamp of approval to say, hey, we’re doing it and we’re doing it right.
What do you hope to achieve with these events?
I want to put together people and panelists discussing things that are at the forefront of business and society, create conversations and connections to inspire the next generation of innovators. So for me, success looks like someone getting the right internship, someone getting the right job. An entrepreneur getting the right advice. And then next year at All-Star Weekend, can we keep all of these people and ideas aligned? Can we keep those messages and narratives aligned throughout the year? We want to ultimately create disruption and get results. We had a women’s tech summit in L.A. that resulted in a new foundation for women in the business of sports, and so we’re setting up a system to track our members’ and ambassadors’ ideas that come out of these events.
And, for me personally, the panels are a great opportunity to be a fan. we have people who are extremely knowledgeable in their subject matter, and I can sit there and listen. That gives me an opportunity to learn more and be able to be of service to more people.
You’ve played in the All-Star game, competed in the Dunk Contest and also assisted in Blake Griffin’s crazy “Jump Over a Parked Kia” dunk. (Watch the replay here.) What goes through your mind as you get ready to toss that lob?
All I can say is, I’m glad it worked the first time! Throwing an alley-oop pass sitting inside of a car is not easy. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the pass or have him miss the dunk and have to do it again! It was a major production to get that all coordinated, and I’m a sucker for a great story and great production, so that was a lot of fun.
On a very sad note, this is the first All-Star Weekend since Kobe Bryant’s passing. How does that affect you and how do you think it will affect the overall weekend?
It is heartbreaking. But I think All-Star Weekend is finally going to be a moment where everybody has a moment to kind of be around each other. There is going to be a lot of comfort, togetherness, and it will be a celebration of Kobe and who he was as a brother, as a competitor and a friend. I think it will be extremely, extremely soulful. You’ll see a bond and togetherness that celebrates Kobe and his legacy.