With the NBA's Golden State Warriors winning games at a record-setting pace, sports fans have begun to debate whether the team's best player--reigning league MVP Stephen Curry--belongs in the pantheon of basketball greats.
For fans who are avid followers of entrepreneurship, Curry's off-court activities have also become a hot topic. As GeekWire reported earlier this week, Curry is the co-founder of a five-employee Palo Alto-based startup called Slyce, which helps celebrities sift through social-media interaction. Slyce, which has raised $900,000, is led by CEO Bryant Barr, Curry's former teammate at Davidson College.
This is not the first startup in which Curry's involvement has been significant. Curry is also on the leadership team of CoachUp, an online service connecting athletes with private coaches. (CoachUp founder Jordan Fliegel is an Inc.com columnist.)
Does Curry's involvement in two startups qualify him as a sports-star-turned entrepreneur? It depends how you define that fashionable four-syllable word. It used to be that entrepreneurs were strictly thought of as company founders. But in recent years, the term has broadened to become applicable to almost anyone who creates or co-creates a subsistent organization or entity. In 2016, you can feasibly call yourself an entrepreneur if you're the co-founder of a nonprofit or spinoff, large or small.
At this point in Curry's business career, it's certainly fair to call him an entrepreneur, based on his co-founder status at Slyce and his leadership status at CoachUp. But if, for the sake of conversation, you were comparing Curry to other sports-stars-turned-entrepreneurs, you'd have to rate him behind the contemporary athletes who have launched full-fledged companies on their own.
For example, former NFL player Tony McGee is the founder of an Orlando-based logistics company. Former NFL player Adrian Wilson is the founder of a shoe company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Former NBA star Jamal Mashburn owns more than 80 restaurant franchises. And these are just three recent examples. The full list of former pro athletes who have become successful entrepreneurs is a lot longer than that.
So while Curry's involvement in the two startups has generated a buzz, he's really just the latest in a long line of sports stars to catch the entrepreneurial bug. It will be interesting to see what becomes of his involvement in CoachUp, Slyce, and other business projects as his career unfolds.