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6 Asian Sports Owners Breaking Barriers and Creating New Opportunity

From 1991 to the present day, we would go from there being zero Asian owners in American major sports to having 6, including one woman. So what changed?  We can all look to a little Japan-based video game company that decided to take a big risk.

Businessman and President of Nintendo at the time, Hiroshi Yamauchi, became the first Asian-born owner a US pro-sports franchise when he purchased the MLB’s Seattle Mariners in 1992.

His administration would go on to turn the franchise around with the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. and they even paved the way for the first Japanese star to cross over into American sports and succeed with Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.

Ichiro Suzuki

That decision paid off too as Suzuki is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He may never have received a chance to showcase his talent on a worldwide stage if it wasn’t for this deal. 

July 1st marks the 30-year anniversary of this historic event that changed the game and while they may no longer own the Mariners, Nintendo really did

The presence and influence of Asian leadership have been imperative for opening more doors for the Asian community.  These 6 current Asian franchise owners in US pro sports are leading the way

Kim Pegula, Buffalo Bills & Sabres

Kim is a Korean-American businesswoman that was born in Seoul. At 5 years old she was adopted by an American family and needless to say she has flourished into a great success.  In 2011, she and her husband purchased the NHL franchise, Buffalo Sabres.  And they wouldn’t stop there.

Three years later they would also purchase the NFL’s storied Buffalo Bills. In 2018 she officially became President of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, which made her the first woman president in the history of both the NHL and NFL.  Her presence as an Asian-American sports owner is not only helping pave the way for people of color but for women as well.  

Kim shares her mission and the dynamic of her background

Shahid Khan, Jacksonvill Jaguars

Shahid Khan is a Pakistani-American magnate.  In 1967, at the age of 16, Khan moved to the United States.  He would go from washing dishes for $1.20 an hour to graduating college with an engineering degree. 

Khan would excel in the automotive manufacturing industry and go on to buy the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.  Upon becoming an Asian sports owner, in 2012 he made the cover of Forbes Magazine as the face of the American dream.  

Khan tells the path of an immigrant in Pakistan at 16, to a life of champagne and luxury

Dr. Edison Miyawaki, NFL & NBA

Dr. Edison Miyawaki was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and was raised in Hiroshima, Japan.  He went on to attend high school back in Hawaii and then played baseball at Loyola. 

“Doc” has always been a sports enthusiast and even before he became one of the few Asian sports owners, he helped to assist Hawaiian student-athletes to realize their sports dreams

In 1994 he became the first Japanese-American to purchase an ownership interest in an NFL franchise.  He became a minority owner of the Cincinnati Bengals and also invested in the NBA’s Boston Celtics.  

Doc shares how hard work and serendipity lead to his success

Vivek Ranadive

Vivek Ranadive is an Indian-American business executive and philanthropist.  He grew up in Mumbai India and showed a high level of intelligence at a young age. 

He would go on to graduate from MIT with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.  Vivek would continue to get an MBA from Harvard Business School as well.  In 2010 he became the first person of Indian descent to have ownership of an NBA franchise, the Golden State Warriors. 

In 2013 he would sell his share of the Warriors and Vivek and his partners would go on to purchase a majority share of the Sacramento Kings.  He currently holds the position of chairman with the franchise as well.  It’s wild that he arrived in a position of being an Asian sports owner as he never touched a basketball until after the age of 40.

From never touching a ball to coaching his daughter, to NBA owner

Joseph Tsai

Joseph Tsai was born in Taiwan and then became a naturalized citizen of Canada.  Tsai would attend Yale and go on to become a successful lawyer. 

His journey took a random turn and by way of his network, he partnered with Jack Ma and eventually became the executive vice-chairman of Alibaba.  In 2019, Tsai and his wife Clara would become the majority owners of the Brooklyn Nets. 

They also headed the group that owns the WNBA team New York Liberty as well as the MLS franchise LA FC.  To say Tsai embraces the role of being an Asian sports owner would be an understatement.

Joe Tsai shares how impactful the Barclay’s Center is to the community and found the Asian American Foundation

Warren Woo

Warren Woo is the founder of the National Hockey League’s Breakaway Capital Holdings.  In 2007, his group took ownership of the Nashville Predators.  A graduate of UCLA and Stanford, he found a love for hockey as he attended LA Kings games in the late 80s. 

Warren is a true fan of the sport and supports and advocates the creation of additional opportunities for people of color and for socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.  He isn’t shy about being open in regard to his Asian pride.

Warren Woo prides himself in being an Asian-American NHL owner


What’s Shoe Tutting? Filipino Dancer Paves New Lane For Sneakerheads

Shoe tutting is a unique art form and one Filipino-American dancer, Jeremy Tiongson, is looking to make it a staple of dance culture.

Jeremy Tiongson’s unique combination of incorporating shoes with a dance style known as “tutting” has become an entertaining and innovative form of dance. He is hoping to make shoe tutting a more prevalent form of dance.

What is tutting, tho?

Also known as @Angles_TV, the Filipino dancer’s shoe tutting has helped make a name for himself in the viral dance community.  Luckily his grind over the years of perfecting this craft prepared him for this moment. Now he plans to capitalize on it.

The response from the dance community was extremely positive. Mario Lopez even took notice and interviewed him on Access Hollywood.

Ever since Jeremy Tiongson was a kid, he had a passion for both shoes and for dancing.  As he mentions in our interview, he would go as far as to save his lunch money every day until he had enough money to buy new sneakers.

Now, Jeremy is focused on continuing to innovate and level up. To make this possible, he needed to develop a love for the art first. The Filipino dancer is hopeful the popularity of his niche content will continue to grow. He hopes that his shoe tutting will eventually land a sneaker deal. 

But it all started in his early days when he first started dance battling.

Let the Shoe Tutting Begin

As he got older, Jeremy discovered the dance battle scene in the Bay Area. He was inspired by the top dancers and their ability to grow such a large and loyal following.

Jeremy was committed. He would travel across the country to pursue his passion and participate in battles. Some that didn’t even pay the dancers. He was spending entire paychecks to travel to battles and compete for free. Experiences like this would help the Filipino dancer find more supportive audiences.

“Back then, what I was doing was more accepted on the east coast.  They embraced what I did. This made it easier for me to be a part of that culture and community out there.  It took a while, but a lot of different opportunities popped up. Working with other dancers started to get me some more local support which is something I have always wanted.” 

-Jeremy Tiongson

The Only Constant is Change

Society, technology, and dance are always evolving.  It is important to stay true to yourself, but you also need to evolve as well. 

filipino dancer
Jeremy Tiongson displays tutting style

He needed to transition to taking his focus from battling to content creation.  He found that it was more advantageous to be able to do things on your own terms. This is how shoe tutting was born.

“I’m really into innovating and pushing this tutting style to where it’s not a sub-style.  I want it to become a main style in dance. To a point where it’s okay for people to want to become a tutter.”

-Jeremy Tiongson

Smooth Seas Don’t Make Strong Sailors 

Although Jeremy has experienced lots of growth and success, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.  Today, so many people experience several internal struggles, from mental health to finding purpose. 

The same is true for the 27-year-old Pinoy dancer from Daly City, California.  In today’s world of dance, tutting is still not as widely used.  During our conversation, The Filipino dancer stressed the importance of not quitting the things you love to do.

“Keep doing what you’re doing.  Try not to let the outside opinions of other people affect you or get you off your path.”

-Jeremy Tiongson

He continued, “When I was 17-20 I was being told that what I was doing wasn’t real dancing.  It was very hard to hear as a kid.  Stick with what you love, and everything you want will all come. Just stay true to yourself and keep doing what you’re doing.”

Tough Times Don’t Last.  Tough People Do!

At one point in his journey, he had taken a step back from dancing. He almost gave up on it.  The pandemic affected everyone — physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.  After losing his job, Jeremy was lost and in need of a new direction.

Many people can relate to this and have experienced something similar.  The key is how you respond and how you can pick yourself back up after you’ve been knocked down. 

The Filipino dancer showed the world you could get back on your feet by putting your shoes on one hand at a time…  Chris Brown even took notice of the shoe tutting sensation.

The Next Move

Jeremy isn’t close to reaching his final form yet.  He is looking forward to growing with other dancers and becoming a more consistent content creator.  Outside of dancing, he would like to be able to help others with their social media strategy and content creation.  

“I would love to push tutting to a broader audience so people could see it for how beautiful it is.”

-Jeremy Tiongson

Jeremy does one-on-one private lessons from time to time. In the future, he plans to start his own dance studio and even host battles.  Everyone will come to a crossroads or a hurdle along their journey.  Remember, you just have to do what you love and follow your feet.  

A life after ball: Julian Aiken dishes a powerful and promising outlook

Life after ball… Julian Aiken, was prepared for that moment when the shot clock ran out on his athletic career. He found a way to create his own lane while still doing what he loves.

There is a lot that goes into succeeding as an athlete at the next level.  Not only do you need to be blessed with physical talent but you need to have a good work ethic. And don’t forget you need to perform!

It takes hours of dedication and developing lots of mental toughness as you will need to persevere through many challenges and overcome adversity.  You need to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to be a master of your craft.  Many athletes are fully engulfed in this way of life. 

There’s always more to life after ball

But eventually, every athlete will reach their time.  Some sooner than others. Unfortunately many do not know how to deal with life after ball or know what to do when it happens.  Coaches provide mentorship and having teammates creates a brotherhood you can’t replicate anywhere else.

This is a problem many athletes deal with once the final buzzer sounds. It’s all about how you take those lessons learned from being an athlete and apply them to a new passion.

“Being a former athlete, most of us dedicated our entire childhood & teenage years to the respective sports that we play. Our identity as we know it is heavily tied into our athletic success, which can be extremely hard to walk away from. Many athletes even describe retirement as feeling though a part of them has died once the ball stops bouncing. “

– Julian Aiken
julian aiken young

Keeping the dream alive

The ball may stop bouncing, but the days will continue to keep passing.  Julian was 18 years old when he had a moment of realization that in the grand scheme of life, eventually, his basketball career was about to end sooner rather than later.  As a star in high school and then went on to play at the next level in college as well. 

Over the course of this time, he started thinking about the importance of being able to find success in other lanes.  Having a dedication to the grind, and being really committed to a goal, are two key fundamentals to have when finding success in any lane and these are 2 things that a successful athlete can carry over off the court.  

“After graduating, I had my sights set on getting into the ever growing tech market. A former teammate of mine helped me secure a Business Development role at an NYC tech-startup.”

– Julian Aiken

Julian was a killer on the court and a killer in the sales game.  To excel in sales, you need a mentality of a prideful competitor, and that’s something that he has always had.  

“I was very confident that I’d excel in sales since I was in 4th grade. I started off setting up a lemonade stand with my brothers, safe to say we sold out. I was never one to focus on any problems at hand, rather I’d search for the solution to the issue at hand, which is the same approach I take in my career.”

– Julian Aiken

Some things happen for a reason

Julian attended Assumption University where he had a full athletic scholarship playing basketball for all 4 years. 

Following graduation, he would excel in the world of professional sales and a few years later, after some encouragement from NBA player Mo Bamba, Julian found a perfect fit and made the decision to work with PWRFWD, an online marketplace that drives the athlete to consumer industry.  

“I knew PWRFWD would be a great fit for me to contribute to when I met Luke Bonner, our CEO. It’s the perfect combination of tech + sports, which I’ve got nearly 10 years of experience working within. Luke truly is about empowering athletes & putting THEM before any of OUR interests at PWRFWD, our interests are their interests.  This is something you don’t see often from someone in a position of power especially in the world of sports. That being said, we are going to shake the table starting with Women’s Sports, specifically the WNBA”

– Julian Aiken

Get in your Duffy!

Julian’s bag might be even deeper off the court than it was on the court.  He is also working directly with a handful of professional athletes in the Web3 space. 

“I’m currently working with a few professional athletes in building out their web3 brands & getting them aligned with strong, meaningful projects that authentically align with their interests & who they are. This is a long-term game, so we’re looking to boost brand equity by doing things the right way.”

– Julian AIken

Although the one time New Jersey state leading scorer was unable to realize the childhood dream of playing in the NBA, Julian Aiken certainly was still able to flourish in life and find lots of success. 

That being said I asked him if he could give his younger self any advice. He told me: “I’d tell myself to dream even bigger. Ignore all of the limitations that others try to set on you.

Realistic for them doesn’t define what’s realistic for you…”

– Julian Aiken

Aiken continued, You can truly be anything that you aspire to be if you’re willing to work for it; you’ll get to meet all of your idols & role models from Maverick Carter to Kobe Bryant. Never get boxed in, because anything truly is possible just work harder than hard & be ready for the moments when they come. “

If you’re a ruthless competitor & love winning, I’d suggest giving tech-sales a look. Great with numbers & have a wide network of successful individuals? Look into becoming a CFA (Certified Financial Accountant) or a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

You have got to be willing to work for it.  Great advice for any young person to receive.  Being ready for the moments when they come is especially valuable for athletes that may be considering retirement or are beginning to think about what to do or how life will be once the ball isn’t getting passed to you anymore. 

Julian touched on the type of mindset that’s helpful to have when this time comes.

“Some advice I’d give is to not allow your ego to stop you from being interested in new things. Don’t look at your career potentially coming to an end as failure, instead look at all of the doors & opportunities that have opened up due to your athletic success! Start to identify what your interests are outside of the sport you’ve played all of your life, it’s 2022 – there’s endless opportunity. 

– Julian Aiken

I can guarantee someone sitting in the crowd at one of your games can assist you in obtaining one of these roles, most will be ecstatic to hear your interest!”

– Julian Aiken

Life after ball…

Julian Aiken is the epitome.

Ball is life.  But Julian is the perfect example of even when the ball stops moving, life does not.  The lessons you learn from ball carry into all aspects of life including the chapter that happens once you hang up your jersey. 

For Julian, the goal is to help athletes reach their potential as enterprise businesses, using his background in tech, investing, and the corporate space to help them build brands that outlast their playing career. 

So far he has successfully helped over a dozen former African-American athletes launch budding careers in the tech industry and he is determined to increase that number into the thousands. 

When it comes to drawing up a game plan and executing, the GOAT you want to look at for mentorship or guidance is Julian Aiken.  

Richard Jefferson speaks about his new Ruffles sneaker and his love for ball

I was able to spend a few minutes with ESPN analyst and former NBA player Richard Jefferson and talk to him about the tradition of NBA All-Star weekend and all the hype around his new Ruffle Sneaker.

Ruffles didn’t miss a beat at the NBA All-Star Game

For the first time, RUFFLES debuted as the title partner of the 2022 RUFFLES All-Star Celebrity Game. The game featured the RUFFLES 4-point Ridge Line, a 4-point line resembling the ridges in RUFFLES potato chips.

And for every shot made from behind the line, RUFFLES and the NBA will donate $4,000 to support the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a minimum of $40,000.

Adding more hype, TV and film stars, musicians, and professional athletes from the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Jack Harlow, Machine Gun Kelly, Quavo and Mayor Justin Bibb flooded the court.

After all, ball is life right? 

Life moves extremely fast.  Everything around us is constantly growing, changing, and evolving at what seems to be an increasingly rapid rate.  The same holds true for the game of basketball. 

After all, ball is life right?  One of the most crucial things to remember in both life and basketball is to remember how important tradition is. 

“One thing that stays constant is change.  The game is always going to evolve.  The league got so offense heavy with everyone playing small ball and shooting threes and Steph Curry changing the game.”

Richard Jefferson on next generation style of basketball

In the course of my lifetime, I have seen the game evolve from an inside offense, lower scoring, defensive type of game to a run-and-gun, fast-paced, 3 point shooting, high scoring game. 

Even today we are in the midst of the game developing even further.

“Currently right now who are probably the best players in the NBA?  It’s probably Jokic, Embiid, and Giannis.  There are big men dominating the league and we haven’t seen that since the early 2000’s and the 90’s.”

Richard Jefferson points out how there is a return on the emphasis of bigs and defense

A Change for Better or for Worse?

There are good changes, bad changes, but always constant evolution.  One of the traditions that could use a little change for the better is the NBA All-Star game. 

Over the course of the past decade, it has been a little disappointing for fans because there is a blatant lack of defense and competitive spirit.  Kobe Bryant describes how the game used to be different and what the fans want to see.  

For the Love of the Game

Although the game itself has lost a little of its luster, the weekend as a whole is still a special tradition that is important to be carried on.  It is a rare opportunity for fans, players, and celebrities as well. 

Since 2003, one of the featured events of the weekend has been the All-Star celebrity game.  It’s not only fun for the fans to see their public figures in a competitive setting, but RJ also brought to light how it’s good for growth.

“Everybody loves to play sports.  I think it’s cool that celebrities love the game of basketball.  They actually help grow the game of basketball, they contribute to it.  I think it’s awesome to see who can play, who can’t and who wants to just be out there for fun.”

Richard Jefferson on looking forward to seeing the Celebs hoop

Richard Jefferson speaks on his custom Ruffle sneakers

All-Star weekend isn’t only special for fans but for players as well.  Richard Jefferson also described to me what was most special from a players’ perspective.  

A cultural staple of fans, celebs, and players…

Another traditional element of basketball culture for both NBA fans and players is the love for sneakers.  One of the official partners for NBA All-Star weekend is Ruffles who had a feature shoe being worn by several of the participants. 

I asked Richard if he was a sneaker enthusiast.

Life and basketball may be in a constant state of change and evolution. 

Whether it be growing the popular swag of sneaker collecting in pop culture or enhancing the facets of NBA All-Star weekend, honoring and carrying forward the traditions is the key to slowing down the moment and providing balance.

ruffles sneaker
Ruffles Sneaker gifted to Richard Jefferson
Sony Michel

Sony Michel shakes up a billion-dollar market with PWRFWD

PWRFWD and Sony Michel have made it to the Solana blockchain…

To commemorate his first year in LA, Sony has once again chosen to team up with PWRFWD, the athlete-to-consumer marketplace, to release top-shelf physical and digital products that let fans engage with Sony and the broader PWRFWD community.

This is the NFL star’s first NFT project.

sony michel nft
Pictured Sony Michel

What’s an NFT again?

Advancement in technology increases at an incredible rate every day.  Cell phones, computers, and the resource that is online digital world is constantly evolving on a daily basis. 

There are more and more careers that can be done remotely and elements of life are becoming more and more efficient.  The most recent innovation the internet has blessed us with, are called NFT’s.  

nft definition

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token.  An NFT is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain.  A blockchain is a digital form of a ledger. 

An NFT exists on the internet and can be anything from a photo, audio, video, basically anything digital.  What makes it special is that when it is an NFT, it has what is essentially a certificate of authenticity. 

An example of this related back to the world in real life would be something like the Mona Lisa.  Although there are several photos, duplicates, etc, there is only one official, and authentic version.  

Bored Ape NFT

Currently, artists and musicians are taking advantage of this technology, but we have barely seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the utility it can provide.  Many artists are favoring selling their work as NFTs vs tangible products. 

In the past, for example, a painter would have to sell their work for a fraction of what the seller would end up flipping it for.  But when they sell as an NFT, because it is authenticated and recorded on the blockchain, they can receive a royalty every time it is resold.  


Not only is there a value in terms of collectibles or memorabilia, but it could also provide exclusive advantages.  For example, a business could release a limited amount of NFT’s that are essentially like a “VIP” card and say when in possession, the owner will receive a discount on all purchases.  Another unique form of NFT is called “ZED run”. 

On this platform, you can use Ethereum (a cryptocurrency) to purchase racehorses.  Each horse is an NFT that you can both sell, race, and breed.  When you win races, you are paid in Ethereum.  This is great because the value of Ethereum has gone from $775 on January 1st, 2001, to $3767 on December 31, 2001.  

ethereum price

Cryptocurrency isn’t the only thing that has been bullish the past few years.  It took the world a few years to recognize NFTs but the NFT market over the course of the past three years has been exploding.  In 2019 the trading volume was $8.6 million. 

Eleven days into 2022, the volume is over $2.3 billion dollars on OpenSea alone, which is an online marketplace for NFT’s.  

Celebrities have also been embracing the NFT world.  Jay-Z, Serena Williams, and Logan Paul have all purchased NFTs for upwards of $250,000 dollars. 

Sony Michel’s entry into the NFT world

Los Angeles Rams running back, Sony Michel, is not only patronizing NFT’s but he is also releasing his own.  To commemorate his first year in LA, he is launching a limited edition drop of NFTs. 

The platform he is using to release both his digital and physical products is called ‘PWRFWD’, an athlete-to-consumer marketplace. 

“I love what PWRFWD is about and I’m excited to drop my product in such an innovative way.”

-Sony Michel

In order to make this come together, Sony partnered with graphic designer and former Washington State football player Dallas Hobbs. 

The collaboration they were able to come up with produced an abstract representation of Michel sporting a set of horns in front of a royal blue cityscape.  

“We’ve got the buildings and palm trees in the background to pay homage to LA, but the centerpiece is Sony.”

– Dallas Hobbs

Where innovation meets sports


Ultimately, the collection is a nod to the Rams running back’s reputation for physicality on the football field. “When I look at the concept,” said Michel, “it reminds me of my running style. That’s me, always focusing on yards after contact.” 

NFTs will be minted on the environmentally friendly, low-fee Solana blockchain to make it easier for fans to participate. The drop, which goes live on Friday, January 14 at 9:00 a.m. EST, will consist of three tiers: 

Unique: Auction winner will receive a heavy-cotton tee and accompanying signed NFT that unlocks access to attend athlete-led creative sessions, win tickets to games, receive VIP passes to PWRFWD events, and more.

The winner will also be invited to participate in a future Sony Michel PWRFWD creative kick-off session, receive a curated package of TWO_SIX gear, a personal message directly from Sony Michel, and autographed memorabilia.

There will be one available (auction ends January 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST). 

Rare: Holders receive a heavy-cotton tee and accompanying NFT that unlocks access to PWRFWD’s private Discord community, early access to all future PWRFWD NFT drops, and entry into a lottery to win Sony Michel autographed memorabilia. There will be 50 available. 

Limited: Holders receive an archival print and accompanying NFT that unlocks access to PWRFWD’s private Discord community. There will be 100 available. 

Through PWRFWD’s partnership with Encore, the rewards platform for fans built on the blockchain, fans will be able to earn rewards by completing athlete-specific challenges.

Top scorers on Sony Michel’s challenge will win free products. Terance Mann of the Los Angeles Clippers and Zia Cooke, a star basketball player at the University of South Carolina, both have PWRFWD drops scheduled this January as well. 

To learn more click here.

Yao, HyunJung Lee, Jeremy Lin

From Yao to Linsanity: HyunJung Lee could be the next great Asian NBA player

Over the past two decades, basketball has exploded in popularity throughout all parts of Asia. While Yao Ming graced us with 8 NBA All-Star game appearances during his career, he had over 200 million Chinese viewers tuning into every Rockets game to see him play. 

This was one of the first, and certainly the biggest moment that opened the door for the increase in popularity. 

2021 also marked the first time two Filipino-American players squared off when Jordan Clarkson and the Jazz faced rookie sensation Jalen Green and the Rockets in Houston.

However, despite the presence of basketball growing in Asia, there still seems to be a disconnect with the growth of Asian presence in the NBA.  

Following Yao’s retirement, Linsanity was the next big headline for Asian fanbases. During the NBA combine, scouts graded Jeremy Lin very close to the highly touted John Wall out of Kentucky, but the Harvard hooper of course went undrafted.

After some time in the G-League, he found himself living on a couch with a 10-day contract and managed to get some playing time for the Knicks.  He ended up mesmerizing the entire city by leading them on a 7-game winning streak with wins over Dirk’s Mavericks and Kobe’s Lakers.

Unfortunately, this moment was short-lived. Once New York let J Lin go, he found himself once again being overlooked. 

However, Jeremy Lin is still a legend and trailblazer who helped change the public perception of Asian hoopers and inspired the next generation to go after their dreams.

One of those kids he motivated was surely the 6’7 HyunJung Lee from Seongnam-si, South Korea. Now as a junior at Davidson, he’s solidifying his status as one of the top players in the nation. He now looks to become only the second Korean-born player to make it to the NBA.

Lee grew up with the game, as both of his parents played basketball at a high level.  His mother won a Silver medal playing for the Korean team in the ’84 Olympics and his father is a coach that played semi-pro.  

He played for the U16, U17, and U18 Korean national teams, and in 2018 was the leading scorer averaging 26 ppg in the Asia Basketball Championships.  

Lee was recruited by several D1 programs but ultimately ended up choosing Davidson, as Coach Bob McKillop promised him a minimum of 20 minutes per game. He felt that it was crucial to his growth if he was able to be on the floor immediately as a freshman. 

After he committed to Davidson Lee also decided to attend the NBA Global Academy in Australia.  It is the NBA’s hub for top male and female prospects from outside the US.  Up to 16 athletes are able to attend each year, where they receive mentorship from NBA-hired coaches.  

It would appear that the mentorship from the academy paid off.  In 2020 as a Sophomore he became the 11th NCAA men’s basketball player to complete a season averaging 50/40/90.  He shot .508 from the field, .442 from deep, and .900 from the free-throw line.  

Davidson Alumni and future NBA Hall of Fame point guard Stephen Curry was not even able to achieve this feat during his time as a Wildcat! Just recently on the 22nd of December, Davidson put the NCAA basketball world on notice as they were able to upset 10th ranked Alabama.

So far through his Junior campaign, he is picking up right where he left off.  The Wildcats are on an 8 game winning streak and Lee is leading the way.  He leads the team in both points and rebounds as he is averaging 51.1% FG, 41.3% 3PT, and 85.3% FT.  

Lee’s head is in the right place as well.  When asked about individual stats by A10 Media reporter Adam Finklestein, Lee responded by saying, 

“Basketball is a team sport, all I care about is how to get the team to win, even if I score 0 or 10 all I have to figure out is how to get the team a win.” 

Currently, Lee is projected as a late 2nd round draft pick, but if they can make it to the dance and win a couple of games, his draft stock will certainly rise.  Being overlooked won’t be a possibility if he can shoot his way into the Sweet 16.

Lee strives to be the next Klay Thompson. If he is able to achieve anywhere close to the type of career that Klay is having, it will have a major impact on both Korean athletes and the entire Asian basketball community. 

This can be a catalyst for more exposure, scouting, scholarships, and professional opportunities for more South Korean players to come. 

It is a very exciting time for Korean athletics as well as the fans of Davidson basketball because they have the HyunJung Lee-led Wildcats competing for a shot at the NCAA championship!  

Rick Ross to invest in Miami Heat? A need for more Black equity in sports

An avid supporter of the Miami Heat, Miami legend, and rapper Rick Ross was a featured guest on a recent episode of Uninterrupted’s Certified Buckets podcast when he brought up an old topic of conversation.

In 2014, Diddy and Rick Ross attempted to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers when it went up for sale after the Donald Sterling controversy.  They ended up getting outbid by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who was able to seal the deal with a $2 billion offer

Seven years later, however, and Rick Ross has more aspiration to be a sports franchise owner than ever. On the podcast episode he says:

 “I’m still interested in getting a small percentage of an NFL or NBA team…my money is in a different place now. I’d just invest in the Heat because we got some beautiful additions. And like I say I’m one of those people that can look three seasons ahead…I’m confident. We’ll bring them big trophies back.” 

Being born and raised in Dade County, Rick Ross has been a lifelong Miami Heat fan since day one. He went from watching games from the nosebleed section to becoming a rap superstar and creating a connection with many of the players, Pat Riley, and the entire Heat organization.

This would come as no surprise as Rick Ross is known for his entrepreneurial endeavors outside of his music career, including franchising Wingstop stores.

How Rick Ross created a cash empire by franchising Wingstop

He has the connections, the capital, and the people of his city behind him.

These aspirations are not only an interesting element to Rick Ross but significant to another dynamic.  There are only six people of color with ownership in all three major US sports (MLB, NBA, NFL.) 

The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports did a report that showed 83% of the NBA players, 69% of the NFL players, and 38% of the MLB players, are people of color so there is a staggering reflection of this when it comes to ownership

If Rick Ross can successfully become an owner of the Miami Heat, he would make it seven. 

Listen to the full episode of last week’s Certified Buckets podcast to hear more from the boss on his new album and the NBA season so far.

What the hell is an Unlockzie? Modelo drops a new beer cooler to inspire

So you’re probably wondering…What the hell is an Unlockzie?

Modelo Especial is a Mexican beer that has been around for almost 100 years.  In 2013, it began to make more of a blip on the radar as Constellation Brands acquired the rights to import and market. 

In 2018, Modelo began to make some power moves.  During this year, it replaced Bud Light as the official beer of the UFC and established itself as the best-selling import in America.  Their ascent continues to see a bullish trend as they recently became the official beer sponsor of the College Football Playoffs.  

Modelo is a pilsner-style lager that has low-key been a quality tasting beer for years, but since they really started to push marketing with their “fighting spirit” campaign, they have experienced rapid growth and is now the second most sold beer.

Modelo has already partnered with the New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago White Sox, Golden State Warriors, and the LA Galaxy.  With their most recent deal replacing Dos Equis as the official sponsor of the College Football Playoffs, they are expanding their reach into the college crowd.  

The growth has been going so well with reaching new consumers that Modelo tripled the size of their investment in advertising from $300,000 last year to $925,000 this year. 

The “Fighting Spirit” campaign has been effective to say the least, and quickly accelerated them right past up-and-coming, and elevated them to a top dog. Greg Gallagher, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Modelo, had this to say:

“Championing the Fighting Spirit is at the center of everything we do at Modelo. Sports, in particular, is a space where this mantra comes to life given the presence of the Fighting Spirit on the field, among teams, players and the passion of college football fans. Joining the roster as Official Beer Sponsor of the College Football Playoff, Modelo is capitalizing on the opportunity to build our football fanbase and create a lasting connection with drinkers who bring their own unique Fighting Spirit to each and every game day on a national level.”

They are killing the game right now and they launched the first College Football activation Unlockzie, which is a play on a beer koozie.  This is what Greg Gallagher had to say about their new integration.

As Modelo worked on developing the technology behind the Unlockzie, it was a natural fit to introduce the promotion at the same time we announced our partnership with the College Football Playoffs. The idea was to take something ordinary that football fans already use, like a cooler to keep their beer cold, and add technology to create a unique experience that will last all season long. For us, the Unlockzie is a way to tap into the excitement of fans this season.”

The Modelo Unlockzie is here

When Modelo drinkers use their mobile device to scan their beverage inside of the Unlockzie beer can cooler, it enables their eligibility to win prizes – one of which includes a trip to the national championship game. 

The fighting spirit has propelled a low-key, under-the-radar beer to a high-key powerhouse.  

Step-by-step on how the Unlockzie beer can cooler works:

  • Simply slide a 12 oz. can of Modelo Especial into the Unlockzie and line up the Modelo seal on the can with the opening. 
  • Visit and scan the completed Unlockzie image.  
  •  The Unlockzie can be scanned with a Modelo can every week during the college football regular season for a chance to win. 

Click here to get yours today. Drink responsibly.