Friday September 22, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

National Basketball Retired Players Association Expands Horizons With NASA Partnership

Photo credit: NBRPA
Front Office Sports Today

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Sports Media Forever

As he steps down as chair of Fox and News Corp., we discuss his monumental and ongoing impact.
Listen Now
September 22, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

Photo credit: NBRPA

In its most recent innovative initiative, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) has teamed up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center to create an entrepreneurship program for former players.

“You think about these former players — they’ve made it to the top of what they’ve done,” said Eric McGill, senior technology manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “They’re dedicated and hardworking. These folks are very smart people. They have that drive and the ability to work on teams, and the entrepreneurial industry is built on teams, with people from a variety of backgrounds.”

The partnership will pave the path for former NBA, WNBA, ABA, and Harlem Globetrotters players to work with NASA engineers and delve into the commercialization of patented NASA technologies.

“Professional athletes already leverage their likeness and celebrity and use that in their business dealings, so this is a good opportunity for them to learn about the technology first and foremost, and utilize it,” said Scott Rochelle, president & CEO of the NBRPA.

LISTEN: Rob Perez’s Journey from Ticketing Entrepreneur to NBA Personality

The connection between NASA and the NBRPA was established well before the implementation of this program; NASA has been involved in the NBRPA’s tech summits for years.

Additionally, former Globetrotter David Naves, who is also on the NBRPA board, has worked at NASA for more than a decade, so it was an organic partnership for the two organizations.

“We decided we needed to do more and formalize a program,” said Rochelle. “NASA had just done a program with the NFLPA, so we took something similar and applied it to our former players. Through the summer conference, we’ve connected players with the NASA reps through that informally, but now we’ll have an onboarding system.”

“We had a natural connection because of our relationship with NASA,” he added. “They have a keen interest of using their technology and getting it into the hands of entrepreneurs.”

On top of that preexisting relationship, McGill explained that the partnership takes advantage of the drive and resources of former players.

“We thought there would be way for our organization to work with the NBRPA and figure out a way that makes sense for us to engage them,” McGill said. “What we came up with is, in our field of technology commercialization, with the transfer of technology from federal labs, many people who want to license our inventions have problems raising capital, and it’s hard to find those first investors because it’s high risk… These guys [with the NBRPA] have resources that an average person wanting to start company might not have.”

[mc4wp_form id=”8260″]

The program itself will feature informational sessions and meetings with NASA engineers to pinpoint specific opportunities tailored to each former player’s interests.

“We’ll have workshops we’ll put on where they come in and get exposure to our portfolio and folks who’ve gone through the process and successfully licensed our technology,” McGill said. “We’ll plug them into the entrepreneurial ecosystem to show them how to be successful.”

The informative style of the program is ideal for the NBRPA’s diverse membership, according to Rochelle.

“The educational component will come with site visits to Goddard, seeing how NASA applies technology, and then it comes down to customizing business opportunities around existing technology that’s there,” Rochelle said. “It’s a better way to engage young people, and the older generation that’s learning how to operate it. Our membership goes from age 28 to 98, and technology is that one constant that almost everyone uses.”

Former players have already started to dip their toes into the program and utilize NASA’s technology.

“One of their members was interested in educational licensing for specific technology, so he’s building a curriculum for student-athletes, aimed at high school students, to stay plugged into more than just athletics, but their academics too,” McGill said. “So, he licensed technology from us to integrate into his curriculum.”

The program is open to former players who are experienced in the startup realm, as well as those looking to break in for the first time.

READ MORE: WNBA Teams Find Success Through Creative Partnerships 

“It’s for those thinking of getting in the business and those who have existing ventures,” Rochelle said. “They can all work within this new program.”

With that sense of inclusion in mind, the NBRPA has created a unique opportunity for former players, which is on par with the organization’s broader mission to continuously innovate.

“It’s very important because we’ve been operating for 26 years, and we have to maintain our relevance and stay up to speed,” Rochelle said. “The landscape for retired players has changed. We used to talk about financial literacy as the main thing. Now, we’re looking forward, putting them in positions for success as leaders in the entrepreneurial world. Now, we need to lead.”

“We expect to be in this space for a long time, no pun intended,” he added with a laugh.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

A close up of a WNBA basketball

WNBA Enters Playoffs With Wave Of Continued Growth

League completes regular season with broad set of increases
Patrick Mahomes

NFL Media Machine Continues To Dominate In Week 1

NBC and CBS posted their best Week 1 viewership since 2015.

The Pickleball Effect: How Tech Amplifies Sports From Niche to Notorious

A closer look at what defines the niche sports fan.
Las Vegas Aces guard Chelsea Gray looks to drive past New York Liberty forward Jonquel Jones during a game at Barclays Center.

Viewership Is Propelling Women’s Sports Betting Interest — and Vice Versa

At FanDuel, 22 WNBA games have generated handles of $1M or more.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Sports Media Forever


Featured Today

Warriors Stake Reportedly Up For Sale at $7B Valuation

A 10% stake in the franchise could cost $700 million.
September 22, 2023

Jaguars Threaten Move Without $1B From Jacksonville Taxpayers

The Jagaurs are hoping to renovate TIAA Bank Field for $2 billion.
Deion Sanders on College GameDay
September 22, 2023

ESPN Beats Rival Fox in Deion Sanders Bowl

ESPN’s “College GameDay” more than doubled the audience of Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” in Boulder.
Stacy Lewis tees off on the seventeenth hole during the first round of the CPKC Women's Open golf tournament at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club.
September 22, 2023

In Ryder Cup’s Shadow, Solheim Cup Captain Laments ‘Missed Opportunity’

U.S. captain Stacy Lewis criticized the lack of cross-promotion and marketing.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations

Eli Manning: Keep MetLife Field Turf

Eli Manning feels that MetLife Stadium should keep its artificial turf field.
Joe Burrow’s $275 million deal makes him the league’s highest-paid player, with an average annual salary of $55 million per year.
September 11, 2023

The 10 Highest-Paid NFL Quarterbacks

Burrow's $275M extension is second to Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs deal.
Travis Kelce
September 7, 2023

Travis Kelce Talks Positional Values, Players Sports Betting Ahead of NFL Season

Kelce says tight ends should be paid off of production metrics.
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is by far the NFL's highest paid player for this season.
September 7, 2023

The 25 Highest-Paid NFL Players for 2023

Lamar Jackson will make almost double the second-highest paid player.
September 6, 2023

Mahomes Creating New Model For Athlete Investments

Two-time champion building extensive sports investment portfolio
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick (7) against the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium.
September 6, 2023

Reddick: Inside Linebacker Pay Going In ‘Right Direction’

Haason Reddick is glad that inside linebackers are hitting new salary heights.
August 31, 2023

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Sports Empire Is Only Getting Bigger

NBA superstar's investment in TGL team expands business portfolio
Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers have invested in LAGC, the TGL golf team owned by the Williams sisters and Alexis Ohanian.
August 30, 2023

Giannis Antetokounmpo Invests in TGL’s Los Angeles Golf Club

LAGC is owned by Alexis Ohanian, Serena, and Venus Williams.