Grant Hill, a former NBA superstar and Duke Blue Devils icon, has earned over $100 million in his career. He has invested in several major real estate projects, including a $5 billion development in Atlanta. He owns a stake in the NBA team and has entered into a new partnership with Philips, a multinational conglomerate.
Now his fortune is estimated at 250 million dollars.
But a first-round pick by the Detroit Pistons in 1994 is still paranoid about money, a mindset that has endured from his time on the NBA court.
“I was always thinking about the end game,” Hill said of his game-day budget as he followed life after retirement. “And I think it has served me well. »
Hill, 49, met with CNBC on Tuesday to discuss his new promotional deal with Philips Shaver Products for the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament starting March 17. He also works as a basketball analyst for Turner Sports NBA and NCAA games.
The interview was only supposed to be 15 minutes long, but ended up running over 45 minutes as Hill talked about his investments, his full-time involvement in the NBA, and his endless curiosity about the business in general.
This is how Hill managed his finances and built a promising business portfolio off the field.
Think like a CEO
Following the draft, one of Hill’s most notable decisions was not to hire a sports agent to broker deals. Hill said he did not believe in paying an agent a percentage of his contract to speak on his behalf. Basketball agents can charge players up to 4% for fulfilling contracts and earn more if they bring in customers with brand deals.
Hill, who played for four teams during 19 NBA seasons, recalled that his first contract was an eight-year, $45 million deal in 1994. Phoenix. President of the Suns Basketball Company.
“Essentially, we are the heads of our own companies,” Hill said, referring to professional athletes. “And executives usually don’t hire agents and don’t pay them a percentage. They work with lawyers and they have lawyers to help them negotiate and review agreements for you. And to protect your interests in contracts. So, I went down this path with the view. »
Babby, who billed Hill by the hour, helped close a $93 million deal with the Orlando Magic in 2000 and created a marketing division that closed deals with brands such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, Cola sprite.” Sportswear company FILA signed Hill to a lifetime contract in 2018.
Grant Hill #33 of the Detroit Pistons stands on the line to take a free kick against the Washington Bullets in an NBA basketball game circa 1994 at the US Airways Arena in Landover, Maryland. Hill played for the Pistons from 1994 to 2000.
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Having taken control of his company early in his career, Hill said he learned by “sitting with the management team, reviewing marketing campaigns and visiting advertising agencies to develop strategy.” He also studied the business section of newspapers to learn about money and “keep it simple” when it came to spending.
“I haven’t changed my lifestyle,” Hill said. “I didn’t shop. I didn’t buy a car. I had a relationship with General Motors and they gave me a few cars.”
Hill, who played until the age of 40, was elected to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018 and serves on the organization’s board of directors. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NBA Retirees Association. In January 2021, Hill was named the new general manager of the USA men’s national basketball team.
Inside Hill’s wallet
Hill said he became “paranoid about money and losing money” after seeing athletes struggle with money after their careers ended. Hill’s father, former Dallas Cowboys running back Calvin Hill, played in the NFL from 1969 to 1981, so he saw some players run into financial problems up close.
When asked if he remains paranoid about these financial results, Hill said: “There is a constant paranoia. I guess that’s how I’m made. »
This mindset is reflected in his involvement in real estate investing.
“I believe in long-term assets, real assets,” Hill said.
Hill praised his parents for their interest in the industry. He remembers going into space in 2000 while working at Magic. Hill has invested in multi-family and office properties in central Florida, an area he called “growth potential and has seen tremendous growth ever since.”
Through his marketing and management company Hill Ventures, the former NBA All-Star has invested and developed over $200 million in projects from Florida to North Carolina.
In his latest venture, Hill joined commercial real estate investment company CIM Group to invest in Centennial Yards, a $5 billion mixed-use development in Atlanta. Hill said the downtown project would take seven to ten years. he compared it to LA Live, an entertainment and residential complex outside the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Tetra images | Mark X pictures | Getty Images
Hill is one of many athletes who have profited from real estate investments since their retirement.
Basketball Hall of Famer and Pistons legend Isaiah Thomas owns a real estate company under his ISIAH International company. Former NFL running back LeSean McCoy is building his portfolio through Vice Capital.
Several top athletes are investing in crypto, but Hill is skeptical about the sustainability of this asset class. Again, for Hill, it all comes down to hard assets.
“There have been huge fortunes that have been created through real estate and this is part of the asset allocation,” he added. “I think it’s a safe bet, but I also think it’s a bargain compared to some of these new digital currencies that are out there. »
Ballboys wear gloves as they warm up basketballs as a precaution before an NBA game between the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks at the State Farm Arena on March 9, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Todd Kirkland | Getty Images
Investment in sports teams and black art
Hill’s portfolio also includes sports facilities. He is an investor in the $1 billion NBA Africa business and a minority shareholder in the Atlanta Hawks.
Hill acquired an equity stake and became vice chairman in 2015 when he, along with businessman Tony Ressler, bought the team for over $800 million. The Hawks are now worth $1.6 billion, according to Forbes.
Hill has not disclosed his full ownership of the NBA franchise. “This is an investment and Tony Ressler may treat me like an investor, but he treats me like a partner,” he said. “This is what I really like and what I appreciate. »
Previously, Hill and other investors offered $1.2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014 and failed to meet the offer of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who paid $2 billion for the team.
Another asset in Hill’s portfolio: black art.
Hill began collecting black art in 1990. Hill told CNBC that he owns works by Romar Burden, Elizabeth Catlett; artist Norman Lewis and Hank Willis Thomas. And with greater acceptance by the mainstream art community, the value of black art has risen in value.
“I think if you buy good art, have a good eye, and know what you’re doing, you can make a lot of money,” Hill said.
Hill still uses his NBA brand
The Celebrity Net Worth website, which tracks athletes and celebrities, estimates that Hill has made about $120 million from ads. Hill also has experience in the consumer products industry as a member of the Board of Directors of New Jersey-based Campbell Soup.
Hill is also helping Philips attract new razors with its Norelco OneBlade line. The terms of Hill’s agreement with Philips were not disclosed. Philips is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of $28 billion.
“You’re looking for trustworthy companies,” Hill said of how he approaches advertising deals with brands. “Companies with a history of success; ultimately embody the qualities and characteristics that you represent.
“They (Philips) have a product that I think identifies and serves young college basketball fans,” Hill added. “I know this because I was a young college basketball fan. »
Hill played under legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. The famed coach retires from the program after 42 seasons and five NCAA Division I championships. Two of those title teams, 1991 and 1992, featured Hill.
The former superstar attended Krzyzewski’s last home game at school last weekend and called the moment “bittersweet.”
“Celebrating him, celebrating his legacy – seeing players from decades past – that was special,” Hill said.
And he thinks the Blue Devils will go all the way this year. Duke won his last NCAA championship in 2015.
“We were expected,” Hill said. “Hopefully we can fire Coach K with another championship. »