May 27, 2020

Spencer Hawes — Evolving NBA Playing Styles While Learning VC Investing Playbook

Spencer Hawes — Evolving NBA Playing Styles While Learning VC Investing Playbook

NBA journeyman and proud Seattleite Spencer Hawes joins The Game Plan to discuss his interests on and off the basketball court, and life today as he contemplates retirement during the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

NBA journeyman and proud Seattleite Spencer Hawes joins The Game Plan to discuss his interests on and off the basketball court, and life today as he contemplates retirement during the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

On this episode we discuss the evolution of the NBA game and how our guest adapted his skillset in the middle of his NBA career to be seen as a player that could stretch the floor; ultimately leading to his big payday.

Spencer also shares what initially drove his curiosity in investing, including a reality check courtesy of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. Fans of the Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Charlotte Hornets will enjoy going deeper with the energetic big man that they came to love as a player.

To follow the latest updates on what Spencer Hawes is doing on and off the court follow him across social media on both Twitter and Instagram.

Follow co-hosts Jay Kapoor (@JayKapoorNYC) and Tim Katt (@Tim_Katt) for all things sports, media, tech, and venture capital.

Follow The Game Plan on Twitter (@thegameplanshow) and Instagram (@gameplanshow) for show news and updates, to recommend guests, and for bonus content!


Transcript

*Please excuse any and all typos, errors and mistakes in the following transcript as an automated service is used to generate this text*

When the phone doesn't ring, you kind of wait around and wait around and then you start realizing, okay, I gotta start broadening my horizons. I gotta start taking advantage of, some of these relationships and opportunities that are presenting themselves because.

It's a wake up call that, this doesn't last forever. And it's a huge luxury to be able to not only see your end coming, but to be able to try and, and ensure that maybe it does happen on a little bit of, a little bit of your note. And that's a rare, rare commodity for guys to have. And I can speak to the other side of someone that expected to have it and did not.

 

  And, I always tell a funny story. I read a one of Warren Buffett's books my rookie year and I, I call up my financial advisor and I said, you know, I was just fully sold as God Warren buffet, you know, he can't do no wrong. Like, let's buy a, you know, let's, let's buy some Berkshire and East. He said, well, you know what an a is going for right now? And I was like. No, no, no, but you know, let's, let's get, let's get some of those. And he's like, well, they're $80,000 and you don't have that much money. And I was like, well, I know there's B shares too. What about those? And he's like, all right, I'll buy, we'll buy a couple B shares and we'll see how it goes.

And, so sure enough, by a couple of couple of UBI shares and, you know, a year later I go back to meet with him after the season. And sure enough, what's my worst performing asset in the portfolio? Okay. And, and so I, that was when I stopped stock picking. And that was an important step for me because once I accepted the fact that I wasn't going to pick stocks anymore, I allowed myself to, to close that pay, you know, close that book and open a new page on, alright.

Outside of the stock market, what are some ways that I can, Look at diversifying it and making some more money. And I think the first thing, and one of the natural things that, that I could understand, and it really made sense to me was real estate investing and getting into that. And then you start to make more relationships, as you go along, across the field.

And then you start, You know, the opportunity still could start coming in. People keep having ideas, and then you start getting into some of the venture stuff and some of the early round, opportunities to get in various types of businesses, kind of across the board.

 

 

Jay, it's rare. Someone is able to get ahead of a rapidly changing industry and completely shift their skill set in the middle of their career, but that's exactly what our next guest did today. I'm very excited to welcome our first seven footer to the show, seasoned investor, proud Seattleite and 10 year NBA veteran Spencer Hawes.

Spencer, thanks for joining us on the game plan.

Hey, thank you guys for that.

Yeah, we're, we're excited to talk with you, man, and we'll jump right into some of the stuff that you've been doing off the court, but starting off, you're, you're in Seattle right now, which has been a little bit of a, a hotspot at ground zero for everything going on with, with covert 19 it's just starting off.

How are you holding up? How are things out there?

we're holding up. Okay. My girlfriend and I have have been cohabitating now for probably six or seven weeks straight. all as well. I was very sick and tired of having a big house. I was getting about to the end of my rope with having a bigger house. And then. this comes out of nowhere and all of a sudden you have a different appreciation.

So we're, we're really lucky. We're healthy. Families are healthy. you know, it's, it's been tough on everybody, but unlike a lot of my friends I talked to you that are cooped up and in apartments and so many in Manhattan that are, you know, stuck in five, 600 square feet, I think, I don't have much to complain about.

So, 

that's great to hear here, man. I'm, I'm glad that, you're, you're making use of the space that you have with you. I know. I also saw looking online that,  you've been able to give back a little bit through this crisis and try to do some good. So would you tell us about some of the work that you've been been trying to do in the community?

Yeah. It's, it's kind of a part of my transition to, what I'm calling semi-retirement. not, I'm not ready to be done playing yet, but, other circumstances have been indicating otherwise recently. So, I've been trying to get. just kind of reacclimated with the community and more involved. I'm from Seattle.

I grew up here. I live now about a mile away from my parents. I didn't make it very far. so it's something that I'd always wanted to do, and now that I've had the time, be able to kind of get reacquainted With some of the, you know, the great causes out here in Seattle. And joining a couple of boards, on the boys and girls club, of King County, and I've also gotten involved with the police foundation.

And I think those are two groups right now that are especially, Always relevant in any situation, but especially right now, given the circumstances, you know, the boys and girls club serves as a place for a ton of kids whose parents, you know, whether they be essential workers or just, you know, workers of any store, that depend on.

you know, their kids, obviously being in school, not only get educated, but as a place to go, you know, a safe place to go during the day and to get fed and to, you know, foster social interaction. they haven't closed up their doors and, and they still have a lot of needs and,  and resources that are getting depleted quickly.

So I've tried to help out, help out those guys with getting some food to the kids, With the police officers and the first responders, people up at, the hospitals, you know, really on the front lines battling, just trying to, to give back to them and give them a hot meal, give them a little, a little break from everything that's going on and then support some local small businesses in the process and try and try and find a little balance where everyone kinda ends up being able to benefit from it.

Wow. That's, yeah, that's excellent. And we definitely want to dig in to more of what you're up to now. But first I think we're gonna take it back a bit. So. Know you were dominant in high school, recognizes an all American, but the one and done rule was instituted while you were in high school. Did you have any aspirations of going straight to the league from high school and what was that whole experience like for you?

I did, but I, I think I was kinda in a unique situation. I was a late bloomer. So, I was a kid that came into high school. I was six, four, one 45. You know, I didn't hit puberty until later on. So when I had my growth spurt and when I kind of, the joke was I was, they called me the baby giraffe. cause I didn't, I had to kind of get my feet under me again.

So I wasn't one of those guys that was, you know, came in hyped up and in seventh, eighth grade and just kind of rode the wave up. you know, my kind of Ascension, I guess with the rankings and getting in involved with the all American games and all that stuff came pretty late. so for me, when they, when they actually put the rule in was kind of before the big summer and spring circuit I had, where all of a sudden I kind of leapfrogged into being one of the top players in the country.

And then all, and then the speculation of, Oh, would, would you have gone to the NBA, would you not? I never really had to deal with it because. They made the rule. I wasn't thinking about it at all. It wasn't on, you know, it wasn't on my horizon by any stretch of the imagination. And then you have kind of a, you know, a quick Ascension and everyone's asking you, well, what would you have done?

And I consider myself lucky cause I never really, I get to play revisionist history. I never really had to stress. Stress through that process. you know, at the time, whereas a year earlier, one of my high school teammates and a few teammates, Martell Webster was a six pick in the draft. So I kinda got to watch him navigate the process without having to go through that stress itself.

And even though I was only in school for a year, I'm really thankful that I had that opportunity. To attend dub. both, you know, from an education standpoint, from a social standpoint, just having another year to grow up, mature a little bit and, and be more prepared. I don't think anybody's ever fully prepared to make that jump, but definitely you're more prepared at, at 19 than you are fresh out of a high school graduation and

Yeah. Yeah. Talk a little bit more about that, like how did that one year shape your approach? Were you thinking the whole year like, Hey, this is me gearing up for the NBA? Obviously you're still a kid. You're 1819 so you want to enjoy life too, which is. An important experience, but curious kind of what was going through your mind throughout the year and, how you made the most of that.

Yeah, I mean, I think I talked to guys now, you know, UDaB had a couple of guys this year and Isaiah Stewart and Jayden McDaniels that will be one and done and most likely, lottery picks. And if not that, you know, first round picks and, and I got to know Isaiah, pretty well. Him being a big man tried to reach out to him early.

And one of the things I told him in the, In the midst of which was for him a very successful year, individually, but underwhelming from a team standpoint, it mirrored my experience and my team's experience my freshman year. And one of the things that I told him, as difficult as it is, is to try and enjoy college while you're there.

And I think that's one thing that I would have done a little differently, is I was so worried about. Screwing up my stock or not doing this and everything. My, my entire focus was just basically to kind of punt it down the road and, you know, get to the NBA as fast as possible. And, and, and I don't think that I allowed myself to really, Enjoy the time and savor the experience of being in college, and be present in that experience as much as I wish I would have. And, you know, looking back, I can't say I regret it because it worked out pretty well, but what the value of some perspective, you realize,  there is a happy medium for both.

and that's something that I wish I would have. I wish I would've known then. But it's, it's all part of living and learning.

Yeah. Yeah. And speaking of big man, so when you started out in your career, you weren't really the guy that could stretch the floor beyond the arc, and then over time you sort of evolve and whether it was Philly or Cleveland, I think you were, you started shooting more threes, I think you were, you were ranked 12th in the league in three shooting percentage.

Was that something you like. Really worked on developing early on, or at what point did you say, Hey, I need to sort of stretch my skill set and really expand what I'm able to do on the court?

Well, it was, I think it's a, it's an age old thing with basketball players. You know, big guys always want to be guards and guards always want to be big guys. And I wasn't always. I was always the tallest kid growing up, but not when you'd go to nationals or you'd go to these tournaments. I, I wasn't always, you know, I wasn't playing center, so I always love shooting threes, practice shooting threes.

but it just wasn't, there wasn't really the place for it and the game, and it wasn't the role that I was asking. You know, really early in my career. And then, really when coach Brown got to Philly my last year there, I remember vividly we were doing preseason workouts and just going through shooting drills and pick and pop drills.

And I was shooting, you know, 18, 19 footers. And he came over and stopped the drill and he said, Hey, I've been observing, I've been watching you shoot, I see you shoot threes. I see practice threes now when we're doing this. And when we get into games, like, I don't want any more of these long twos. And it was a very.

spurs Z and approach, I guess, early into the pace and space and, and stretching the floor. And that was one thing he emphasized with that Philly team. You know, we knew we didn't have the talent to compete, so we were going to have to make up, make up for it with the numbers, having more possessions than other teams and getting more out of those possessions.

And I think when he kind of took the reigns off and gave me the green light. She started launching threes. That was a year that, that I really started incorporating that and then kinda never really, looked back after that.

On that point. What are your thoughts about how the NBA in general has evolved from that sort of post dominant play to now sort of the run and gun style and how that's changed for big men especially?

well, I think, you know, there's only so much room for adaptation. you look at rosters even six, seven years ago, and it's affecting me now. You know, teams would, every team would have three centers and, and would play at least two of them, the rotation. And now. you're lucky if a team starting kind of one, quote unquote traditional center.

And, when it, when you look at what they're coming off the bench with, a lot of times there's, there's no semblance of sight. So, it's, it's a necessary evolution to have that skillset. But at the same point, even with that, there's a lot of guys that are still struggling, to kind of find their place in the new, new age of basketball.

Yeah. So you were traded four times in your career. Enforced into a ton of different situations. You know, kind of like you were talking about, you were drafted by a team that already had a dominant center and then played for the Sixers were there for the start of the process, lob city. what does that do to you from an emotional and mental perspective and how did it change your approach or thoughts on the game as your career went on?

I mean, you obviously.  to be successful at anything, at the level of being a professional athlete. you have to have a love and a passion for what you do. But the analogy that I always kind of use when you get traded or free agency and it doesn't go your way and you end up in situations, it's kind of, it's like a, it's like a death from a bunch of stab wounds as opposed, you know, there's not one.

Big blow that kind of sucks the air out of, out of your passion and your love of it. It is every time you get traded or you're kind of rotting on the bench, or you go through free agency and you don't get to a situation you're hoping to fulfill. It kinda, it takes a little bit here, a little bit there, and then you kind of get to the point where you have to reset and not allow it to, to completely, deteriorate your, your love and your passion for the game because it's easy. the business stuff can have that effect over time of, where you're, you kind of sit back and evaluate it and realize, Oh, I'm doing this for the wrong reasons now I need to get back to the passion and the love that I had when I was a kid.

And, and the professional. You know, the success will follow as opposed to just being so caught up in, what's my contract situation? What's my, you know, how's this going to lead into that? Because that's, that kind of stuff just drives you crazy.

Yeah. So to that point, across all the cities and teams you played in, which one of those situations do you look back on most fondly? Okay.

I would say my time in Philadelphia, I think when I got traded there. It was a great opportunity for me to go from, Sacramento, a franchise. It was kinda sputtered in the mud, you know, kind of lacking direction and having never had any type of taste of playoff basketball to, now a young team with two, Kind of stalwart veterans in Andre Goodall and Elton brand that no one really had any expectations for that. You know, I would say we kind of defied the odds pretty quickly making the playoffs the first year, and then the second year there, going on a little bit of a run, I would say, Individually, I'd say I felt most invested in, in kind of that process, I guess before the process.

and you know, I was there almost four years. You, you make a lot of great relationships in the, in the organization with your teammates and the city at large. And, you know, I still have a lot of love for that team, for that franchise. Elton's now the general manager bread, obviously still the coach, and, and the city of Philadelphia as well.

Yeah, I'm sure the fans, there'll be happy to hear that as well. They can be a tough bunch.

That's right. And you know, through this, this rollercoaster in which obviously is, you know, not, not only an emotional roller coaster, but financially in terms of stability. At what time did you really start thinking about life outside of basketball and what came next for you?

I think the first lockout, In, I believe 2013 when you kind of, it's, it's so easy, what the NBA schedule, it's, you know, it's basically six months on, six months off to the off season or the, the, or the season. And then when, when you're in the season theater game day, you get so caught up in the routine of it.

And. You have to have such a singular focus on maximizing, maximizing that experience and maximizing on your, your earning potential during that experience that you don't want to get too, too caught off course, you know, looking into this or that, whether it's a hobby or. A business, an idea that's a passion outside of it.

and then when the lockout comes and everything, you know, now all of a sudden it's October, November, and you're used to being in training camp and playing games, and you're sitting at home, you kinda, it's a, it's a nice preview. Without. Knowing that it's going to come to an end, that Hey, I gotta have, I gotta find something else that, that brings me satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, something else that I can make money on beyond just relying on, on what I earned from, from playing basketball.

And I think that was a good little small sample size of a wake up call for what comes down the road.

Yeah. And then as you were going through that process of, you know, being on different teams, the folks that you played with, I mean, was there any, any specific advice that you got from guys that you had seen some of the veterans, as they were thinking about what they were doing off the court? Is there anything that you remember that sticks out to you, or were there players that you reached out to that were particularly helpful as you were sort of thinking in that direction?

I mean, I think you try, at least my approach was, was try and look at the guys that, have success on the court and longevity on the court, because I think that's, I think that's kind of the ultimate judgment of success at a, at a professional level. Obviously, you know, very few of us are going to be all stars and go on to make it in the hall of fame, but I think there's other ways to define a successful career.

And I think longevity's an easy one to point to. And so you try and pick up, Pick up little things from, from different guys. And there's so many different guys with varying backgrounds and, and interests and whatnot. Like Brad Miller, for example, was my rookie, or excuse me, was my vet and sack and he made a ton of money and was very conservative with it.

And you know, he, he would talk about it. He's like, Hey, I just, I trust the places. That. I know that I liked that people where I'm from, like, and he's, you know, he's like, I have a ton of, I own a ton of Walmart. I own a toner, these staples. And that was what he, where he liked parking, parking, some of his money.

And then, when I got to Philadelphia. Back to Elton and Andre. you know, Elton at the time was very involved in the film industry and production, and that was his passion. And that was something from his time in LA that he'd gotten, exposed to it and started to navigate that world. Andre, I think on the other hand, you know.

Obviously he gets a lot of attention for his investments in his, exploration in the business world since he's been, since it's his time with the warriors. But I can tell you he was, he was into, into everything, into all types of investment way before that. From the earliest days that I started talking to him in Philly, that was always one of his passions, figuring out ways outside of basketball to start generating revenue streams and generating income.

And I think he did a great job of parlaying that when he got to the Bay area and the time that he was there of, of really aligning himself with the right people and having a lot of success off the coordinate and his ventures.

Yeah, yeah. And, and you talked about, you know, as we were sort of chatting before the show that, for some folks they can sort of see the end of the road come in or they can sort of see, okay, this is my, my, my exit. And then for other folks it can be a little bit of sort of a jarring experience. what, what was that like for you, especially more recently as you were starting to think about the longevity of your career and then obviously had had a jarring experience, so, so help help us sort of understand that a little bit.

Well. So my last year, when I ended up getting, getting waived, I had a player option and I didn't want to take it. I was, I was, was not happy with my situation in Milwaukee at the time. I'd gotten traded there. we had a ton of centers. It was kind of a center by committee. One night I would play the next night someone else would play and it was hard.

you know, to find kind of a consistent rhythm in that. So I was kind of looking for an easy way to get out of that situation. And then, and that was kind of earlier in the summertime when I had the deadline for, For my player option, but I was also making six point something million dollars a year.

And that's a lot of, you know, that's a lot of burden the hand to put, put on the table. So my kind of philosophy with signing with contracts and take it, you know, evaluating offers and looking at things, there's always been burdened the hand, type of outlook. And so I did what I. Cut it normally do. I took the conservative approach, I picked up the option and then kind of kicked it down the road thinking about, all right, how am I going to get myself to a better situation?

And a couple of months later, you know, the, the bucks get up against some salary cap restrictions and you know, you crunch the numbers, the easiest one to wave and stretch to give themselves flexibility was my contract. And so then kind of overnight, I was on vacation with my family. I just got Mack, went to a training camp.

Basically like a preseason training camp with the team down in Santa Barbara thought it went really well and I got a call basically on a Tuesday. Hey, you're probably going to get waived tonight. And you know, for me, I'm like, I've never been cut from anything. So it was, I didn't think that was the time that it was going to start.

But you take it stride, you figure, okay, now I got a chance to go double dip. when the phone doesn't ring, you kind of wait around and wait around and then you start realizing, okay, I gotta, I gotta start broadening my horizons. I gotta start taking advantage of, some of these relationships and opportunities that are presenting themselves because.

It's a wake up call that, this doesn't last forever. And it's a huge luxury to be able to not only see your end coming, but to be able to try and, and ensure that maybe it does happen on a little bit of, a little bit of your note. And that's a rare, rare commodity for guys to have. And I can speak to the other side of someone that expected to have it and did not.

Yeah. And you know, one of the things you've been excited about off the court is investing and learning to have an investor's mindset. How did you go about developing that and what are you excited about investing in.

it's just kind of start off simple.  you're in a rare position, I think when. People have the ability to, whether it's your friends, family, or just fan anybody to, you know, they Google your name. And the first thing that comes up is your salary. And then, 

That's true.

some, and it's some speculation on your net worth, and then it's, you know, whatever other whatever else is floating around out there.

so it puts you in a position where. A lot of people, you know, are early in your career. They come for you. They just want money. I came into the career kind of beginning and then through the middle of the great recession. So, you know, people, whether it's family, friends, everybody else, weren't doing so well. So it kind of starts off as, as people asking you for money, you know. Thousand here, 20,000 there just just to help them out.

And then as you get a little older and people get more stuff cooking, and you start to bake, branch out with your relationships, then you have, people coming at you with business ideas, you know, from every different angle.

 it's something that starts off early, at least for professional athletes in, in your career. everybody knows. How much money you're making, everyone speculates how much money you're worth. So it kind of starts off when you're younger and, you know, your friends are in college. And for me, it was the middle.

Now everybody's got ideas and business ventures that they want you to get in on because they figure you're flush enough to start throwing it around. And I think one thing that I tried to do early was just start reading about. You know, great investors and their strategies and what they look at, you know, Warren Buffett's of the world, people like that.

And, I always tell a funny story. I read a one of Warren Buffett's books my rookie year and I, I call up my financial advisor and I said, you know, I was just fully sold as God Warren buffet, you know, he can't do no wrong. Like, let's buy a, you know, let's, let's buy some Berkshire . He said, well, you know what an a is going for right now?

And I was like. No, no, no, but you know, let's, let's get, let's get some of those. And he's like, well, they're $80,000 and you don't have that much money. And I was like, well, I know there's B shares too. What about those? And he's like, all right, , we'll buy a couple B shares and we'll see how it goes.

, so sure enough, by a couple of couple of UBI shares and, you know, a year later I go back to meet with him after the season. And sure enough, what's my worst performing asset in the portfolio? 

Okay. And, and so I, that was when I stopped stock picking. And that was an important step for me because once I accepted the fact that I wasn't going to pick stocks anymore, I allowed myself to, to close that pay, you know, close that book and open a new page on, alright.

Outside of the stock market, what are some ways that I can, Look at diversifying it and making some more money. And I think the first thing, and one of the natural things that, that I could understand, and it really made sense to me was real estate investing and getting into that. And then you start to make more relationships, as you go along, across the field.

And then you start, You know, the opportunity still could start coming in. People keep having ideas, and then you start getting into some of the venture stuff and some of the early round, opportunities to get in various types of businesses, kind of across the board.

you bring up an interesting point about all these people coming to you asking for money or, you know, what the next great investment idea, Jay and I both as venture capital investors, we have to get really good at saying, no.

Two people as well. Cause we have entrepreneurs coming to us all the time. What are some of the ways that you've gotten either creative in saying no or just worked through and developed a process to say no cause that's, you know, more important almost as saying yes right.

Yeah, I mean, and that's something that I'm still working through and trying to get better at. it's not something that's easy and I think, Something that I wish I would have had a better ability when I was younger. And something, you know, you asked what would you, when you look back, how would you do things differently or what would you kind of tell yourself and that ability.

Is extremely valuable, not just for the individual investor, but also for the person that's trying to raise money. And something that I did when I was younger is I would, I would just go people, if I didn't like the idea, I didn't, I didn't believe in it. I would just, I would just ghost them and hope they went away.

And that was, that affected me negatively with, with multiple relationships, friends, family, what have you in now? As I've gotten older, I think both sides of the table and having been on both sides of the table, people appreciate transparency and quick responses, when it comes to, Hey, is this something you're interested?

Yes or no? If yes, all right. Here's the, you know, let me know in a week, let me know in 10 days I was going to go, because it just keeps the process going and it makes it easier on both sides, not sitting around, kind of dealing in that middle ground. And it's still something, like I said, I have to continue to get better at.

But, you become a lot more comfortable. It almost becomes a little bit addicting the first time you figure out how to say it and you're like, Oh, this is a lot easier and it should have been, just makes, this takes a lot of stress out of my life, not having all these, question marks kind of hanging around.

yeah. And I think, I think you're, you're getting at the point, which I think every, early investor, and I remember this from my sort of first days investing too, is that. inherently, if you're an investor, you have to be an optimist.

Yeah. 

Cause, cause, cause you see, you see the potential, you see the opportunity.

And then you got to look somebody in the face who is reflecting that optimism. And then you gotta say, I'm sorry, no to your dream. Right? And it's when, if you're an empathetic person, it's a hard thing to do.

It is, and it's, it's hard not to get caught up in it. And there's, I think the ability to differentiate good idea from a viable business model is something that's, you have to learn. And that's another thing that I'm trying to still get better at it and try and improve as you go along because, There's a lot of great ideas that become great business models that make people a lot of money. And there's a lot of great ideas that people don't, you know, whether their fault or not have the ability to execute on that, you know, fall by the wayside.

And so the ability to differentiate those two things, to. Recognize the combination when you see it. And then, on the other side of the coin, evaluate it and tell that something's missing and be concise. And, and being able to recognize that quickly enough, I think is important. you know, it's an important way to protect yourself.

Yeah. So, so before we get into some of the specific investments. What do you look for when somebody comes to you, whether it's in the individual themselves, whether it's in the idea, or as you said, the business viability. What are some of the things that you're already looking for, picking up on when somebody is pitching you an idea?

What makes a good investment for you?

the first thing I try and look at it is make sure that they're, you know, let's look at some of the data. Let's look at some of the revenue and see that, You know, obviously it's not anywhere near what you, what you hope for if you're getting an early stage. But I like, you'd like to know that there's something there that is not just like we spoke of.

It's not just an idea or, Hey, I've made 25 of these. It's gone. Well, let's, let's start to scale it. You know, you want to see that there's some kind of track record. that they're relying on it and some type of, some baseline, data that allows for all the fancy projections that are usually the next stage of, of a pitch that come into play.

That those, those have something to stand on. And then you also spoke on, you know, a lot of times you have to look at the individual with the idea and, and whether, you know, a lot of times you end up investing in them knowing that, Hey, all right, if. No, there's, we see these obstacles. We have these issues now, but I trust that this person, whether it's a part of their personality or whether it's their track record and other endeavors, they're going to be able to figure it out and they're going to be able to mitigate these issues.

or someone that is a slick salesman, but you look and say, Hey, you've done three things, and, you know, whether your fault or not, none of them worked out. I like the product, but I don't know if I can bet on you. You don't have the ability, you haven't proven the ability to execute it.

Yeah. Maybe give us an example of some of that early thinking you had with a specific investment and then how also that that changes over time as the, as the company grows and builds.

one of the lessons, I guess I would say that I've tried to, I've tried to steer away from are, are investing with your friends or investing in your friends and, and having a little bit of a buffer when it comes to, how you get exposed or pitched to a certain investment and, and making sure that it's not that maybe there's one person in the middle of, you know, the, a to B to C of, of how, how you're getting connected with this, this entity.

And I think that's something that, once again, I wish, I, I wish I would've learned the hard way when,  you know, someone in your family has a great idea of, for example, one of my uncles was involved in a company That worked on a boat engines and creating a completely new system for dealing with waste in, you know, in boat engines before the electric craze, in traditional combustion engines.

And, you know, it was great. It was, you know, increased fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, increased power, everything it was, they were going around going, everything was going well, but. You know, for whatever reason, it hits a stag. There's issues in kind of the hierarchy of the, you know, the front office, so to speak.

And, you know, that ends up being a write off on your balance sheet. So, I think that was my first lesson in, Hey, all right, let's, you know, maybe family, family ventures or something that we're gonna put a pause on. And then you have friends that are coming up with stuff and pitch and stuff. And. And if you go through that a couple of times and say, all right, I'm going to start, you know, I'm going to try and find some other person, not only to get in the middle of it for checks and balances, but that has, that can be, they can have another set of eyes to be able to vet these, these potential opportunities.

so that I'm not kind of putting on these rosy colored colored glasses of when we talk about. Having faith in the individual over the entity, not letting your personal biases impact that. Having someone else who can say, all right, I understand that you have a lot of faith in this person and you know this person well, but the track record in the, you know, we're looking at the top line, bottom line.

That's, that's not all adding up, having another voice of reason in there. It can really, I think, help protect you from yourself.

Yeah. I think you're the point you're making. I mean, I see it even from our perspective, right? When we have an investment committee for a reason, it's really, really easy when even when you're working in a fund. to get carried away with your own biases. You know, a lot of investors, you see that they invest in people that went to their same school, cause you say, Oh, you know, I went to the school.

This guy's clearly as smart as I am. Everybody thinks they're the smartest investor. And so you see, you start to see that bias start to compound. And it's always great when you have somebody else in the room who pushes back on it. And so, so I always find when, when we talk to athletes who start off going solo.

Almost always they bring somebody in, even just as a sounding board, it's like, Hey, this person, they're not writing my checks for me, but at least they're a sounding board for me cause I can't do this all on my own.

And, and you get back to the ability to say no and having a scapegoat and, and you don't want to, you don't want to burn. You know, there's a way to do it in the right way where if, say there's an opportunity with a certain group that you're not, you're not thrilled with not being, having the ability to not burn, to say no politely, but not burn that bridge, because something else may come up down the line five years later where that same group or that same individual is coming back and pitching something to you that you say.

Well, okay, now we all agree that this is a home run. And they executed the last one that we said no to. So now there's a little more of a track record. I want to still have that, ability to have, take the, you know, to get that call or get that meeting and have FaceTime with these individuals, because I think that's a, that's another lesson you learn.

or that I would say that I learned, Playing the NBA, whereas it's easy to burn a bridge in the kind of, in the, in the short term, and it helps you and you feel good and, you know, I don't need them. I'm, I'm above, you know, I'll never have to go back in. Well, you know, I went, I went and worked out for.

The Sixers before this season started, you know, a place that I wasn't really thrilled with, how it ended there, kind of getting, you know, all of us getting traded at the end. And then I went back three weeks after that and worked out, you know, for the bucks a place that I was even less thrilled with how it ended there.

So, you never know who's going to circle back, how it's going to go, but keeping as many,  As many lines out as you can and as many positive, relationships that maybe go dormant. keeping them as positive as you can, I think is something that, that I learned from basketball that I kind of try and apply when it comes to, thinking outside of that world.

Yeah. In terms of the one off investments that you're doing, how much of that is something that's just like a lot of fun for you? Feed your curiosity, lousy to really dig in and engage on new and interesting ideas versus the goal and hope of really meaningful financial returns.

Well, I think that, I mean, the money is always the first, the first, the second, and the last kind of motivating factor in it. I think, earlier in my career, Whether it be a loan loan, I kind of look at loans as donations. I'm still yet to get payback on most of them that I, I dolled out when I was a little younger or, you know, loan investment, whatever.

you, you do it, you think you're doing it for the right reasons, but maybe you're trying to help or maybe you're like, Oh, it'd be fun to be involved. One early that I said no to was an opportunity in the cannabis industry. And you know, five or six years ago, the entire shift of the public perception of that industry and, and everything that kind of goes along with it was different.

And at the time, and I don't know how it is in the state of Washington, for example, you had to be. you couldn't invest through an LLC, so you had to put your name on it. And so what looked like a very lucrative opportunity in, in, investing in a cannabis business up here. I was wearing, not as much due to the business model, but more, alright.

I'm putting my name on it. I can't go through a shell, or a buffer of any sort. If that gets out eventually to the MBA, how's that going to look? Because you, you know, the MBA at the time, it was, you know, that's, you can get suspended for cannabis use it, and whether it's using it or invest it, you know, it was, it just wasn't something that people were as open, about advocating for investing in.

And so that's something, Then I looked at that. I probably, if it weren't for that factor, would have ended up investing in,  kind of circling back, now I think more of my focus is Trying to first off, evaluate.

All right, is this something where we're trying to hit a home run or is this something that's going to be a longterm, potential dividend yield conservative, kind of value oriented play. For me with, with my mindset of, you know, if you play sports and you, you're a professional athlete long enough, hopefully you save enough money to not have to go after as many home runs as maybe you would if you were in a different situation.

I think that's my mindset when it comes to investing now is. You know, take a couple shots, but spread it out where you're not going to rely as much on one of those home runs. Because at the end of the day, it is about creating an income and, you know, growing your nest egg as opposed to, and I think learning about it, and I think a spar in fulfilling curiosities is a huge part of it.

But I don't think that, at this stage, at least for me, is, It takes precedent over the ability to generate generate money from it.

you're not going to write a check just to be able to, to learn about an industry. Right? That's not sort of the approach that you're taking.

and I do think it's, it's an extremely valuable way to do it. I think that, I've been very lucky in my exposure to the financial. Early on to the financial world. And then, branching out into kind of the venture world. it has been extremely educational and it teaches you stuff that you don't learn in college and that they don't prepare you for how the, how the real world and how the system actually works.

But at the same time, I don't think that that should, should be valued over, all right? This is a bad investment, but I can learn a lot from it. I don't think that you should go into something.  that that's not the motivation going into most opportunities, but you do learn from losing money.

That that that is

In hindsight,

having, having made some bad investments on my own. The one thing you learn, and I forget who we were joking with this about, but it's like, you know, the, the nice thing on like basketball is that a. In venture capital, if you shoot 20 and you make two, that's still a pretty good shooting record,

It's a 

the only industry that works.

it's even better in baseball,

Yeah, that's right.

hip 0.89 and you don't get cut.

Yes. Yes, exactly. And you know, the other, the difference is also the kind of things you invest in, right? So you talked about on the early stage, the time horizons are a lot longer. And so I think the level of patience and the mindset, I think you're bringing to it, of, of having that level of patients, that, that tends to serve you well.

We. We've seen, I would say it's a little bit less this year with everything that's going on, but in 2018 2019 a lot of people came into the venture capital world. I'm not even talking about athletes. I mean real estate investors, you know, media investors, that all came into venture capital, but they came in with the same mindset they were bringing from the public equity side, and they're trying to see a return every quarter.

And like Tim and I, I mean, we, we measure success on the order of years, not on the order of months. Right. It's very, very different.

Well, I think, and I think a lot of it, I think there's multiple reasons that so many people kind of flooded in. I think there's a huge trend in the media and it became kind of the, you know, the cool thing to do, or, you know, this is where the cliche is, is getting into the VC world.

Obviously people see, the type of money that. That people make, or have the potential to make with it. I don't think the thing they realize is if you look at, you know what, whoever your rock star of venture capital is, and ask them to actually turn over their, you know, their, their sheet, their balance sheet from day one and see, all right, how many,  you know, what, like we talked about what percentage are you hitting or how much, you know, how much did you have to be, have the stomach to lose, To end up gaining on these two or three things. That's huge. And I think, the environment, the financial environment, let's take out what's going on right now because obviously, you know, hopefully this isn't an anomaly that's more short term than long. There's not a ton of places, to just go and take money that that's going to generate money.

Like there used to be. The bond market's dried up. Interest rates are nothing. There's the conservative kind of so-called easy money that you used to be able to count on even 10 20 years ago, is kinda gone. And I guess it's to be determined if it comes back, but you're kind of stuck basically investing in real estate, equities and now you know, the venture world. it's, I think part of it's just a byproduct of people not having as many places to go, as they would have traditionally. And it's kind of a forced an entrance, in influx that may not have been there before.

I think that's really smart. I mean, people can also forget the cost of capital and the liquidity that comes with venture capital. And so, you know, I first started to get really interested in this space 10 plus years ago when I was doing media buys on new platforms like Facebook and Twitter before they had.

Add products. And that got me really interested in venture capital because I saw the growth of those companies. But at the same time, 10 years ago, putting money into those companies, or at least once they went public, putting money into those companies that would perform better than pretty much any venture capital funds.

So it's, it's important to have a portfolio strategy, you know, with all the capital that you have and allocate. The venture higher risk stuff accordingly. and hopefully you're doing well on the blocking and tackling as required. you know, with the, the primary amount of capital that you have. So,

Yeah. Yeah. And it seems like you've got a team around you to that, that you can sort of trust and rely on that it's not just you doing it alone. Right. And that's, that's actually a. A great thing for us to hear. So, we typically end on a couple of questions. I'll take one. Tim can hop on the other.

Looking forward, both at your opportunities, you know, whether on the quarter off the court, what are you most excited about as you look forward to the next couple of years, for you,

Getting out of this, covert 19. World that we're living in.

a given.

That's the primary thing I'm getting. I'm never been so excited to go out for, go out and have a date and just go, go meet, meet my buddies at a bar. But, no. I mean, I think first and foremost, I want to keep playing basketball and I want to try and explore that opportunity, until the door is, doors completely closed.

But at the same time, these last couple of years have provided me, A great opportunity to expose myself, in the worlds outside of, just being a professional athlete and being defined as a professional athlete. And I think that's one of the biggest things that guys get tired of is, Oh, that's that basketball player.

Oh, that he was, he was a football player. What's he doing now? Oh, a lot of guys take a lot of value in just being able to shed that label and, start to begin to define themselves as something other than, than just whatever sport they played or whatever position they played.

you know, , I haven't really singled in on one thing. that one profession that I want to go into. I think, The real estate investing, like I talked about earlier, that was something from the beginning that kind of made the most sense to me, and that I was always a little bit more comfortable in it and something that I'd like to continue to develop it as kind of a, a more hands on, hands-on level and with a different scale.

But like I said, I don't do stock picking anymore. I'm out of that game. I learned my lesson. but the venture is something that's exciting because I think it. Presents a world that I, I'm learning more about, but I still feel like I'm, I'm in the first endings of my education there, but it's exciting.

And getting to meet different people and, and look into different opportunities and watch them play out, whether, whether I'm invested or not, I think is something that's really exciting. And then, You know, hopefully you have a chance to hit on, hit on a couple of the 20, as we spoke on and, and then have some more flexibility to really get out there and, and, and kind of try and keep, keep moving the world forward.

Yeah. That's awesome. So last question, which we ask all our guests, what's some advice you'd tell to current players as they think about life beyond their job as a professional athletes?

Just humble yourself as early and often as possible. I think that's a big thing. And surround yourself like you got spoke up. Surround yourself with the right people. It's, it's, everyone thinks when you're coming in, it's just you got your agent and they think your agent's gonna handle everything. Oh, he'll, I'll send him my money.

He'll handle my. insurance. He'll handle, they'll take everything, all the logistics. I think build the earlier you can build a team and, and find people you trust, find people with, with varying expertise. I think, You know, you look at the current situation, it's going on the way we're handling the crisis.

And like, you see something the other day, it's the president's task force for reopening the country. And I didn't see a doctor in front of anybody's name on that task force. so I think that's kind of a, a microcosm, or, or your situation should kind of be a microcosm, checks and balances and having people, You know that you can call on, you know, don't have to be on payroll. I think that's the thing that everyone thinks when when professional athletes talk about having a team, they think it's a bunch of people on, on that they're paying to tell them what they want to hear. It doesn't have to be people that you're paying a commission to, like your financial advisor or your agent, you know, find, find a mentor, find someone you trust that you can pick their brain that.

Hey, if they're doing a $10 million deal, can they cut, you know, can you get cut in four for 50 grand? Or can you get cut in for 25 grand and then shadow them or have the ability to call on them to, to have them walk you through the process. I think that's something that's really important, for guys as they want to, to blossom from success just in one arena, to being able to spread it out, in multiple different places.

Yeah. you know what I gotta say the number one thing I hear from you saying that is just what a open and sort of curious mind that you are bringing to learning all of this. And you know, whether it's the idea of humbling yourself or it's the idea of understanding what it is that you're good at and want to try to do it.

You're like, listen, equities are not my thing. Let me focus on something that I can do. you're coming at this with a level of introspection that I think a lot of people don't really have when they're playing and they have to, you know, immediately find it the day after. It's all done. So one, I just want to commend you on having that.

And I think, and I think something that I always said that. Right when I was getting done, I said that I, you know, I know that I'm, I'm hyper high, strong hype, you know, hyperactive. I'm, I'm not good. I couldn't just be a guy that sits back and, checks, okay, we're good for the month. All right, I'm gonna go play golf.

Like I, I've always got to have something going, something stimulating me. And. I recognize that early, but I don't think I recognized early enough having more of a plan in place for when you do get done to transition. And I think this is what the situation now has been a good opportunity for me to learn.

That is all right. When I, when I really do close the door on, on my playing career, whether it's next year or however many years from now having something that right away, like, I don't want to take. A year and just, you know, screw around. I've already done that. I've been doing that now. So having something to jump into, so that you don't have that void where you're going through this identity crisis, at least if you're going to go, everyone's going to go through the identity crisis, that's inevitable.

You want to be able to have positive distractions and opportunities to. Shorten that process as much as possible and transition and get out on the other side as easily as possible, as quickly as you can and as successfully as you can.

well, that's a great place to leave as best or we really appreciate just your openness with us and your willingness to share and let us share in on your journey as you're figuring this stuff out. I know that you're still sort of discovering exactly the path that you want to go, but I think the approach that you were taking to it serves you really well.

So we're excited for all the awesome things that you're going to do, both on and off the court, and we want to wish you the best of luck. Thank you so much for joining us on the game plan.

I appreciate it. And young, younger guys. Don't be afraid to not know, you know, not know what's next. Extent and admit it because I think that's, that's the first part of the process is, can't, you can't control everything. And I think that's hard for, you know, guys are alpha male, you know, used to being in the spotlight is always have a, you know, always be on top of it.

There's no shame in saying, Hey, I don't, I don't know exactly what's next, but this is what I'm interested in and this is what I'm good at and, and I'm going to try and figure it out.

Awesome. Thanks, Spencer.

Yep. Thank you guys.

At the end of every episode, Jay, and I like to recap what we heard and share our own thoughts on the transition and new career our guests are pursuing. We call this segment our partner meeting. A term we borrow from the meetings we have when evaluating investment opportunities at our respective funds.

 Jay, what did you take away from our conversation with Spencer

Yeah. I want to pick up where we kind of left off the conversation with Spencer actually on this idea of humility and willingness to learn. I think that was the biggest thing that stood out to me of of just how. How introspective he was about how much there still was to learn. I loved that story. He told about, reading a, a book about Warren buffet and going straight to his advisor and saying, we got to put money into whatever this guy touches.

How many people do you think have done that 

Oh yeah, no, I mean countless. Right? But it's sort of a Rite of passage. As an investor, you kind of have to figure it out for yourself. And, and then he goes ahead and he does it, and he learns his lesson and he goes. Okay. Yep. I've realized this is not for me. And I mean, I think it's humorous, but, but it reflected a little bit of his, his humility in that process, which is realizing that like, Hey, you know, you're, you're young and you're coming into this as a second career, right?

There's one thing that you are the best of the world in. And if you're going to come in, you're, you're starting from scratch in something that perhaps other people, like his advisor had been pursuing as a, you know, for a living. And so. That first experience, I think probably has set him up for success.

Now in real estate and in early stage venture, which are the sort of two tracks that he is pursuing. And we see this, and I shared with him a little bit, you know, off the mic of like, you know, when I started in this, in, in this industry, I reached out to people who were five years ahead of me and I said, how do I get from where I am to where you are.

And without you, no doubt. Every single one of them said to me, Hey, I don't have this figured out yet. I'm still getting there. And now many years into my investing career, if when a new person comes to me, I'm like, listen, I think I know, but this, this is a longterm game, man. I'm not going to know for another five years if I've got this.

And so. When you, when you come at, you know, investing, when you come at something that inherently takes a lot of, personal dedication and ego and all of these things about like, am I smart? Am I right? And you come to it from a standpoint of learning and curiosity as opposed to needing to be right on every single investment that you make.

inherently that's just like a, a better and healthier. Approach to investing. And so that was the number one thing that stuck out to me is that he's approaching investing independent of what asset class he's looking at. He's approaching it with the right mindset.

Yeah. I think the self reflection and growth that our guests show, especially Spencer in this case, is by far one of my favorite things about this show. sports is so unique because. Each year you have a season, right? So you're operating in these seasons and  it makes it so much easier to quantify your life into specific years. Or specific memories and stages. So he talked about early in his career, learning from Brad Miller and then going to Philly and learning from out and brand and Andre Iguodala and like, because again, like sports are structured in seasons, you're able to like pull out those specific memories and then like look back.

It's a lot easier, I think, to reflect and see the growth you've made. because of that. So I really enjoyed the stories he was telling about his growth both. You know, in his basketball career, but then also off the court, his ability to adapt his game I think is just something that's kind of a neat to him is that ability to adapt.

And so I think this is a really exciting time for him and to see where he's going to go because it's another opportunity to adapt and, and learn and grow. So, that, that I really appreciate his humility and yeah, I agree with you. It's, it's fun to see that, when our guests are willing to share it.

you know, one of the things that he talked about that I don't think. Any of our guests who maybe articulated as directly as this is that professional athlete is probably one of the only careers where your friends can Google what's in your bank account today. And I mean, I don't think musicians and actors even have that, right.

You get, you kind of have a sense of what they make and you know what echelon they're in. But I mean, down to the dime, like woes and shams are breaking how much, you know. Spencer was getting on a certain deal. And so we talk about this idea of like moths to a flame, right? And, and how, when, when you had this money, people seek you out.

But I think this was the first conversation of, you know, almost 20 that we've done so far where an athlete was like, yeah, I had to be cognizant of the fact that people who were my friends and sort of close relations. Knew how much I was making, and it was really, really hard for me to say no because I knew that they knew.

Right. 

And to that point, I definitely want to ask our future guests that same question around how did you, how do you say no? Like how do you learn to say it? And we've heard of some interesting solutions to that from past guests as well. But, I  think that's a really important thing. They're just forced to develop cause you can't say yes to everyone.

And if you do, you're going to lose. You're going to lose a lot of money. You're gonna do a lot of bad deals. And that's something we can definitely relate to as investors as well. Granted, you know, we're looking at things with a more, I think specific and narrow lens. And we're also not as investors looking for friends and family who are asking for 

short term term 

loans and 

whatnot.

But.

Well, it's, it's, it's a little bit different for us, man, because you know, when, and I've invested in people who. I've known for many, many years or would consider friends. And for us it's a little bit like a level of comfort. You're like, Oh yeah, you're, you know, you're building this business, but I've also known you for this many years and I sorta know that you're a and you're a smart person and all this kind of stuff.

it's, it's different I think because when we are investing on behalf of somebody else, it's, it's a little bit easier for us to say yes and no. We are allocators of capital. Whereas when Spencer's making an investment, it's his money. It's out of his account. And you even heard him say this, where it's like, put a team around you have a buffer so that when somebody in your network comes to you with an investment, you don't have to be the bad guy.

And you know, I think there's some people that are inherently better at like saying, Hey, look, I'm just going to business and friendship. whereas others have to find workarounds. And I think for him, that work around is. Having people around him who, you know, he can route these conversations too so that he doesn't jeopardize 

some of those relationships. 

Yeah, and I think that's a great way to wrap. Anything else you want to add.

No, I think it's great, man. I, you know, I'm excited about, , Spencer taking this time and really taking a, , real look at what excites him, , off the court. And I hope that he finds his way back to, to play in, , you know, in the big league again. And we get to see him, , you know, stretch the way he's played, , on the court.

But, , in the meantime, he's really taking this opportunity to educate himself. And. I want to just commend him again on that. I think that was just a really enjoyable part of the conversation, so, , thanks for that and thanks for this partner meeting, Tim. 

 

Yeah, and I think that's just a great idea to end on. We wish Spencer nothing but the best, both on and off the court. Jay, appreciate you joining me on this week's partner meeting. I'll see you next time.

That'll do it for this week's episode of the game plan with Jacob pore and Tim Scott. As always, thanks so much for listening. We really enjoyed having Spencer Haws on the show. Make sure you follow Spencer on Twitter and Instagram. We'd love to hear from you. Find us on Twitter at the game plan show, or just leave us a five star review on iTunes.

We'll see you next week on the game plan.