Your values are what drive you towards the life you want for yourself, the success you want to be able to attain. This is why identifying your values as early on as possible is an important first step in your career and in your life—so that later on, you don’t end up straying. Josh Martin is joined by Dave Meltzer, the Co-Founder of Sports 1 Marketing and a dedicated eSports Investor. Dave tells his story of being blinded by the glitz that is inherent in the sports industry, and how he was able to keep himself on track while immersed in all the glamour of being surrounded by some of the most extravagant people in the industry and in the world.
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Co-Founder Of Sports 1 Marketing & ESports Investor David Meltzer
We have the great pleasure to speak to David Meltzer, the Cofounder of Sports 1 Marketing. We dive into how he identifies his values, how he plans to impact over one billion people and why he chooses to operate in the sports industry?
I am with Dave Meltzer, the Cofounder of Sports 1 Marketing. Dave, how have you been? How are you doing? I’m happy to have you here.
What a treat. We got to be on the same panel together. I love when I don’t know someone because you do your due diligence, you look online and you get a picture of somebody in your head. You are far beyond the picture that was in my head, the depth of knowledge and wisdom for such a young man. You’ve got some serious soul to you.
One thing I appreciate and have taken away from that conversation at The 40/40 Club is how you spoke about the impact that you’re looking to have on society. Going back to your mission statement, “Making over one billion people happy.” Where do you start? Happiness is different for everyone. How do you begin to break that down to make it not tactical, but how do you realize that goal?
It’s interesting because my goal was never that originally. It was all about money. I was blessed to work around some serious entrepreneurs and Steve Jobs was one of them. He always preached about in order to see something, not only do you have to envision it, but you have to connect the dots backwards in some sense. Knowing that the dots won’t always be that way, but you can see what you want and connect some connection to it, you’re going to statistically have a better chance. Mine was always money-driven because I had this philosophy of if I make a lot of money, I can help a lot of people and have a lot of fun. Just as Bezos gave $10 billion to our environment, that’s a significant impact.
I could never figure out the math or the dots for money and my whole life was driven by trying to make that money. When I started allowing things to happen, I started making more money, helping more people and then I realized one problem that existed that would change everything even more than the $10 billion that Bezos gave. That’s the happiness problem. I started seeing research about the number of suicides that are occurring in all age groups, all sexes, all races and all religions. The fastest-growing cause of death is suicide. That’s terrifying to me. I started seeing college kids who I worked so closely with. Years ago, 10% of them were depressed, anxious, frustrated and suicidal.
Now, 90% of the graduates report being anxious, depressed or even suicidal. I went on the quest to connect the dots backwards and at the same time, I was building my brand as you are and you are doing a wonderful job. I realized this exponential growth thing. I said, “In working here with Vayner, both of us get to do that.” I told Gary, “In my first year if I could get two people to be ambassadors of Dave Meltzer that will tell two people every year, ‘You’ve got to listen to Dave. He has good advice. You’ve got to watch Dave.’” I said, “When I’m 70 years old, I’ll be one of the most popular people in America,” and he got it because Gary thinks long.
He’s sure to tell someone like Fertitta to buy six-year-old Rockets jerseys. Forget marketing dollars, just buy every six-year-old Rockets jersey and you’ll be the most popular team ever. I saw that math going, “There’ll be over two million.” I started using that and said, “How can I make people happy?” I knew the values to help people be happy. Gratitude, empathy or forgiveness, accountability and teaching them that they’re already inspired how to clear that connection, ego-based consciousness versus the truth consciousness. How do I do that? I did the math in my head and I said, “What can I do?” I have the power to inspire people and educate them to do two levels down. One person could teach one person to teach one person.
I said, “I’ve got about 50 years to do this in my life. What if I get 1,000 people that have the capability through your podcast, through the platform that you have?” I know that you could be one of my 1,000 to impact 1,000 people. 1,000 times 1,000 is one million. One million times 1,000 is one billion. It was the easiest mission to mathematically prove because in my head, it was so realistic. If you remember at 40/40, I even asked people to raise their hands because it’s so reassuring to me. I said, “Who here believes that me, the unknown comic, Dave Meltzer, years ago was always Leigh Steinberg’s guy or Warren Moon’s business partner? No one even knew my whole name, but who here thinks that this kid that grew up with nothing from Akron, Ohio could impact over a billion people by doing that?” Almost everybody always raises their hand. It’s believable and I’m hoping that’s believable for me to do it as it is for you.In order to see something, you not only have to envision it, but you have to connect the dots backward. Click To Tweet
I want to dive a little deeper. How did you flip the switch? What was that turning point? I remember you mentioned at The 40/40 Club that you made a lot of money, you lost a lot of money and you weren’t necessarily in the best place. When did the switch flip?
I call it a quantum shift or complete shift in paradigm. I tell this story and it chokes me up, but I was surrounding myself with the wrong people and the wrong ideas. I was running the most notable sports agency in the world. I had made a fortune in technology, unbelievable assets and three things folded together. One, and this is critical, was my father who I was estranged from at five. He left six kids and a single mom taught me my character, my drive and my integrity. He was my hero from 5 to 10. Even though he wasn’t paying child support, but he was rich and successful. Back then, he was my dad. He forgot my birthday and I was crushed. Not because he forgot my birthday but because he lied to me when I asked him, “How could you do this?” He said, “I didn’t forget your birthday. I don’t believe in birthdays.”
At that moment, I remember at ten, not only did I lose all faith in my father knowing that he’s a liar, cheater, manipulator, overseller. My mom never ever said anything negative about him, including when I was like, “Dad’s my hero. Why can’t you be more like dad?” We’re starving because dad’s not supporting us. My mom’s an angel. She unloaded a little bit when I was ten to protect me saying, “Maybe we should look at a different way for what you need.” At 30 though, my dad gave me my first birthday present in twenty years. He gave me a jacket. It was a sport coat. It fits perfectly and I started to cry.
My wife asked away, “Why are you crying?” I said, “My dad hasn’t given me a birthday present in twenty years.” I told her the story. I said, “It fits me. That means he either called you or he called my mom to figure out what size I wore.” There’s thoughtfulness in this. I opened the jacket to see if it’s specially made or a birthday jacket. He had torn all the pockets out of my jacket. I started crying again. I’m pissed now. “He’s trying to punish me. He’s trying to teach me. He thinks he’s better than me,” and all these ego-based things. I called him and I said, “What the heck? I got your jacket. Why did you tear out the insides? “He said, “It’s not for you to wear. It’s for you to hang in your closet to remind you that you’re like me.”
I flipped out. I’m like, “I’m nothing like you. You are a liar, cheater, manipulator and overseller.” He said, “You’re like me and I’m worried about you. You’re driven by money, just like I am. You’re going to ruin your life trying to be the richest man in the cemetery. That jacket that hangs in your closet is to remind you that you can’t take anything with you when you’re gone.” I hung up pissed. I was 30 years old. Later on in life, I ended up partying when I’m the CEO with Lil Jon, the rapper. It’s the Grammy Awards. I lied to my wife, I told her I was going to a business meeting. I changed clothes in the car. I came home intoxicated and high at 5:30 in the morning. My wife let me have it for the first time. We had everything, anything you wanted to buy. Forget playing football, you only talk about being rich playing football. I was wealthy.
Football is a small money.
I was a starting guard on an NBA team rich. I wasn’t NFL-rich, I was an NBA-rich.
There’s a difference.
I’m looking at her and she tells me she’s unhappy. She’s going to leave me unless I take stock in who I was. I was so mad that I went to bed. I didn’t want to talk to her. I woke up in the morning and I only could think about getting a lawyer to get a divorce and keep everything that I had. This was where my ego was so out of control. Here’s the universe. I’m about to call to get that lawyer and I look over and what do I see? That jacket in the closet. I would ring it out of me, “Just like your father. Look at you, you are so blessed to have this family, to have this wife, to have all these things and all you can think about is you. It’s like your dad said, ‘This is what’s going to happen.’” That changed my life.
I sat there the whole day working through my values. I’d lost my gratitude. I had everything but I was living back in Akron, Ohio in a world of not enough. I wasn’t forgiving of anyone, especially myself. I was lying, cheating, manipulating and I could not forgive myself. I wasn’t accountable for anything. It was everybody else’s fault. I was offended, resentful, angry, separate, inferior and superior all at the same time. I was uninspired. I woke up and I built that in Santa Fe and San Diego. I remember lying in bed and the first two words weren’t, “God bless or thank you.” It was, “Crap.” I was empty. That is where my journey has started about making room for everything I want by elevating others to elevate myself.
You have that personal experience. How do you communicate that in a way that gets other people to act and behave differently?
That’s why I take time as a variable over 50 years because most people will say, “Come on, Dave. You could impact 1,000 people.” I can but not to impact 1,000 people to impact 1,000 people. What my strategy is to plant seeds into water seats. I plan on planting a bunch of seeds for trees I’ll never sit under, but I know within the context of the 50 years of every day in person, on the phone, via email and media, radio, print TV and social media trying to impact others to impact others. To truly plant seeds, water seeds, help other people grow that every year, I’ll get at least a portion of that thousand that can impact and carry out. Understanding how do you live with these personal values, experiential values, giving and receiving values of gratitude, forgiveness, accountability and inspiration. Inspiration is the key one because most people are so confused about being inspired. You can teach people to be gracious and forgiving. Even accountable, it takes a little longer, but the inspiration side to be able to find the light, love and lessons and everything that other people may see as challenging.
There’s a heightened awareness. I know Gary speaks about awareness a lot. Being able to look within to find that inspiration or to reconfigure your view of the world to find that inspiration is excellent. That takes a lot of work.
To trust. We were talking about the blend. I know Gary has a different way of explaining it, but for me, I believe money is the currency of this vibration. I believe it’s an object of energy that you put into the flow to get what you want. Money bought love and happiness for me. Money is equally as important, although it doesn’t buy money or happiness. What it does is money allows me to shop. If I shop for the right things, I’ll be happy. If I shop for the wrong things, it’ll make me unhappy. I have to blend that pragmatic vibration with faith. Faith doesn’t have to be religious in any context, although a lot of people utilize religion in order to understand and be aware of faith.
Faith, to me, is the aggregate of what you think, say, do and believe and also your own DNA, your own personality traits, characteristics, obsessions and addictions. Here’s what happens. When we’re making decisions to be happy, a lot of people only make that pragmatic decision. There’s no awareness of faith because they can’t understand or have confidence in the universe. They say, “My confidence lays in the pragmatic world and money is the object and I utilize it.” For me, I blend my faith with the pragmatic world. When I say blended, I wish I had enough courage to always make a faithful decision. At some times in my life, I extract time successfully, meaning I take out of my decision-making process time. I trust the fact that I am a spiritual being in human existence, I make a faithful decision and it always turns out great.
I want to touch on these decisions because we have right and wrong. What is right and wrong to you in terms of the decisions that you’re making to buy happiness? You’ll make the right or wrong purchases. I would imagine that a Lamborghini might be a happy purchase to some, but I’m thinking that that’s not what you’re talking about.
I’ve made those purchases and the purchase itself does not generate the right or the wrong or happiness. It’s the lessons of how to do it. If you purchase a Ferrari because we give meanings to everything you see. I bought a Ferrari and here’s why I bought it. One, I wanted everyone to know I was successful. I wanted my mom to know I was successful especially. I wanted to drive up and instantly, everybody thinks I’m amazing. I wanted to buy credibility. Buying credibility does not buy happiness because the truth is there’s the subtlety of counter-intuitiveness. What the Ferrari brought to me was most people thought I was an A-hole when they saw me driving it. It was expensive to fix and if you drive it too little, it needs to be fixed. If you drive it too much, it needs to be fixed. I was worried about the car more than my health.
I didn’t realize cars can be temperamental like that.Money is an object of energy that you put into the flow to get what you want. Click To Tweet
Most importantly, I thought women would love me for my car. It’s not to be too illuminating, exposed my true anatomy of what I’m truly built like when I drove that car. In other words, I bought the wrong thing because it was the wrong reason. If I buy a Ferrari, which I have, if I buy it because I want to make money and I see the economy’s down and luxury items get oversold like they get the overbought meaning that if you buy low and sell high, we can make money. With that money, I’m going to send my kids to college or build a school in Africa. I’m buying the same thing for the right reasons. That’s what makes it spending your money in the right way. When I was 50 years old, the greatest things I’ve ever bought, I raised money to build two community centers in Africa. I always tell my wife that was the greatest thing I’ve ever purchased.
What do you tell to people who don’t have millions of dollars buying on Ferrari or huge homes? A lot of people say time is money or effort is time is money. How do you translate that to someone who doesn’t have the means to buy everything that they want?
First of all, no matter what you have or the amount of money you have and what you want, you have to make them aligned with your own system of values. What happens is sometimes we have an unrealistic system of values that says I don’t have enough. I know people that have very little that live in a world with more than enough and I know people that have $40 million homes like I did that live in a world of not enough. It’s all the mindset of what we wanted to do. I’m always changing people’s mindset and saying, “Here’s all you have to worry about. Time is money and the respect that it’s productivity, accessibility and gratitude that brings you what you want.”
I graduated from law school, no relationships and a legal education that was not applicable to what I was going to do. I was selling legal research online. I had no connections in $100,000 in loans. What I did though was have an opportunity with a comp plan to make $250,000. What I did is what everyone that doesn’t have what they want economically should do is I reversed engineered time. What does that mean? Most people are productive if they’re lucky eight hours a day. I said to myself, “I’m going to get laser-focused.” I’m not going to lie to myself, toughness. I’m going to say I want to be sixteen hours productive a day.
I’m going to study my calendar, figure out exactly how I can stay focused enough to be productive sixteen hours a day. Go on more meetings, knock on more doors and make more telephone calls and faxes. There’s no email back then. I said, “With that sixteen hours of productivity, I’m now going to be twice as efficient.” I’m going to be a student of what I’m doing. As an athlete, there’s a reason you keep iterating and practicing. My sixteen hours of productivity became 32 hours of productivity. I said, “I’m going to practice so much that I’m going to be statistically successful twice as much.”
My 32 hours of productivity became 64 hours of productivity a day and then I decided I don’t like the word, work. I said, “From now on, there’s only going to be an activity I get paid for or activity I don’t get paid for. I’m going to learn to love what I do. I’m going to find the light, love and lessons and everything I do that I’m already connected and inspired. Anything that gets in my way of that inspiration that I’m already connected to.” I have so much power. I have kilowatts in this finger enough to light up all of Hudson Yards. It’s proven medically. That’s so much energy you have. I must be connected to something unbelievable. Why aren’t I getting that energy? It’s because I’m blocking it with my ego.
I’m blocking it with interference and corrosion. My 64-hour productivity a day is equal to what most people can produce in eight days. I was going to do it for seven days because I don’t believe in work. It’s an activity that I get paid for that I love to do or learn lessons from. Fifty-six days of productivity in one week, that’s what I was getting. When I am in nine months, I made $1 million. Everybody was saying, “You blew out the comp plan. You’re an incredible salesman.” I was in my head going, “I suck at sales because I worked for ten years.” I figured out how to do it in nine months and that’s what most people aren’t willing to do.
In fact, I always say the two distinguishing factors in my early career that can set young entrepreneurs and business people apart. Number one, that mental toughness, mindfulness toughness of being productive, accessible and gracious in what you do. I don’t see it in a lot of kids. They’re not tough. They are, “Why me?” not a, “Try me.” The one thing I love about the NFL is you don’t get to the NFL with a “Why me?” attitude. Every single person is like the Olympics. Everybody has a “Try me” attitude. There is some extraordinary story. No matter how much talent you were born with, you’re not making the NFL. I don’t care how much talent you have.
I’ll say from personal experience, I wasn’t the first, second or third most talented person on my high school football team.
You look at John Randle and Warren Moon and all my heroes. They’ll tell you the exact same thing. We need to work on our toughness. I do think a lost art of the telephone. People think that telephones utilized for Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and texting. Telephones are made for speaking to people. Nothing moves people like the vibration of the voice and you get to do it for free around the world. People aren’t using the telephone. If you want to be productive, efficient, effective and statistically successful, if you wanted to tell somebody with no money that you could have what you want, I’m telling you, beat people with math. Beat them with straight out toughness and telephone. Go ahead and beat them and look and say to yourself, “I’m going to spend my time learning to love what I do and being inspired and being productive 64 hours a day, 56 days a week.” I’m going to beat people with math. You give me any project, I’ll beat you with math. I don’t have to be as talented just like you weren’t in football. You beat them with math. You outdid them.
The hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. That’s how it works. I want to rewind, go back to that moment for the light bulb to go off. You’re 35 years old, saw the jacket, then went to establish your values. What does that process look like? I went through a similar process of sorts. I’ve been on IR. Being away from the game, being away from something that I love to do, an activity that I’m paid for that I love to do was tough on me. I’m trying to recognize that, “Josh, you’re getting older. My eighth-year in the NFL is coming up. I’m an undrafted free agent. I’m blessed. You probably should start to understand what makes you tick and why you enjoy football and being able to find that in other things.” I know what that process looked like for me. I’m curious to hear what that looked like for you when you began to establish your values, which I sure inform your brand.
For me, it still goes on. I’ve carried through and its exact same process. I divided it up into four areas. My personal values, integrity, character, love and family. My experiential values, what do I want to experience? It’s part of this journey, enjoying the persistent pursuit then my giving values. What legacy do I want to leave? Impact over a billion people to be happy, that’s a good legacy. Receiving values that I had the biggest problem with. I would say most of the guys that I coach from the NFL and other leagues, receiving’s their biggest problem. I’m not talking about players who catch the ball, I’m talking about receiving stuff from people asking for help. It’s the radical humility. Here’s the first thing that set me off. I believe, number one, that you need to do a value assessment every day of your life because you’re not guaranteed another day. For me, I’m okay changing my values and they don’t have to be balanced. A kid your age in the NFL should not have the same values as a 52-year-old guy my age. We should have different values. You should experience why that have different ones.
Even from months ago, I can say my values are different.
People are afraid to think and tell people because they’re afraid they’re a hypocrite that they’ve evolved. My biggest challenge with media is people can go back 30 years as much as I don’t want to be judged for what my parents have said which some poor people will like, “Your dad believed the Holocaust didn’t exist.” I’m like, “I hope nobody ever goes and looks to see what my dad believes.” I don’t want to be judged for that. Even worse, I don’t want to be judged for what I did 30 years ago because there’s a whole different scene.Telephones are made for actually speaking to people. Click To Tweet
I went through and said, “If I was going to bankrupt one of my values, if I didn’t believe my values were balanced, I want to know what the most important of my values were. When I bankrupt my personal values, my integrity, my character, my love, my family, would I bankrupt that ever in my life?” No. “Would I bankrupt my experiences? Would I bankrupt all the things I’ve learned, the lessons? Not a chance. Would I bankrupt my legacy? Not a chance. Would I bankrupt my finances, my receivables? Absolutely. It’s a renewable resource.” Ironically, it was two years before I had to bankrupt everything. It was so clear to me that I’d spend 99% of my entire life on a value system that I didn’t believe in. It didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t spending time with my family. I wasn’t spending time on my health. I wasn’t spending time in integrity. It was amazing.
Every day, I started to do a value assessment and then it made my life easy. That’s why I wrote that book, Game Time Decision Making because it made my life easy. If you were a person that wasn’t aligned with my values then I wouldn’t do business with you. I won’t be your friend where before, I wanted to be loved by everybody. I wanted to please everybody and I wasn’t living by my values. Once I got those set and I learned gratitude, forgiveness, accountability and inspiration within the context of my values. I woke up saying, “I’m doing all this stuff. I have a lot on the experiential value side, a lot on the giving side, not a lot on the receiving side which is fine.” Personally, I worked out more than an hour so I had a lot on that for me, what I call my personal values. I’ve talked to my wife a minimum of 30 minutes, my son and all of the things that are personal to me and I prioritize them accordingly every single day. I’m not afraid to change them tomorrow when a new day begins. That’s what’s driven me over these thirteen years to create two things, acceleration and exponential growth in my life. That’s what I truly achieve is acceleration and growth.
What I’m hearing to translate for the audience in concise terms is essentially you’re allowed to evolve. You’re allowed to change over time and even more so, you should evolve and change over time. Stagnation doesn’t create growth.
False stagnation as well. Everybody’s always evolving. We’re too afraid to say we’re evolving. How do you go ahead and accept that? First of all, gratitude because that makes your past good, your present better and your future brighter. If you’re grateful for everything, you’re not afraid to say I’ve changed to that forgiveness because that allows you to say, “I forgive myself. I was a moron. I’m better now than I was yesterday.” That’s where forgiveness allows us then accountability that says, “What did I do to attract this to myself and what am I supposed to learn from it?” It is different than liability and responsibility. That’s pragmatic, it’s at that money level. You can blame responsibility under the laws of New York on somebody. You can still collect a judgment but you need to look and say, “What did I do?”
What was my role in this and how can I prevent this from happening again or improve the situation moving forward?
Everything to me is along that lines of inspiration, “How do I feel?” There’s so much energy coming through me. Gary’s one of these guys and you can’t explain it. When he walks into the room. I tried to emulate this part of Gary more than any other part. I’ll match him experienced to experience in business savvy. We have different ways of inspiring people, but he’s carrying a light. He is a beacon. I’m working on that. I love the fact that I’m a mini beacon, but he is a true beacon and he’s attracting millions and millions. That’s a hold of his inspiration. He has cleared the connection. He knows who he is. He’d rather be hated for who he is, than love for who he’s not. He is authentic and he’s full of inspiration. He has cleared that connection.
I want to point this out. You’re a very successful person by most measures, if not all measures. At that moment, you had the humility to say, “I’m still working on this.” There was always something that you could constantly be improving. For the audience, that’s what it’s all about. We talk about gratitude and forgiveness. You forgive your past and you have the gratitude that you had the opportunity to learn and correct your mistakes or decisions that you’ve made to make better decisions. It’s a constant process.
You have the wisdom, which attracts me to you to understand everybody has their own DNA, their own personality trait. I call it a quantum memory that everyone has. For example, I was born with physical capabilities at a quantum level and you were too. I would venture to say, no matter how hard I worked in practice if you work equal to me that you would still be better at football than I would be. This is quantum in our nature. For example, there are other things that my quantum nature may have that no matter how much you practice, if we practice the exact same, I may be able to sell better than you or to sit on a plane better than you. When you’re going through this journey of expansion of being your best self, your higher self, some people call that Christ. Your higher self, your potential go through and look generationally of what your quantum memory is. That doesn’t go for the positive things. It goes for, “Have you inherited certain obsessions and addictions?”
Generational trauma is real.
You can break that though by creating a new frequency for yourself by being aware of it. It doesn’t mean that it may not take more than one lifetime if you believe in that or you may only be able to reach your potential during this lifetime. I’ll give you that same example, people ask me, “Dave, where’s the closest you’ve come to your potential?” You know what it was and I believe this. I’m an average Division-III football player. I was an average, but my quantum capability of physical ability. That was a huge achievement for me. It was close to my potential. I could have gotten to be a little bit better, but since I was five years old, almost every day of my life, I’m one of those kids that either carried a Nerf football or a regular football all the time. That was my being but there’s only so far, my potential would allow me to go. That’s even greater joy in my life and taught me more than anything else because you said, “Dave, I like the fact that you’re radically humble enough to say you’re still searching.” I know there are so many things I do well that I can do so much better if I get back into that mode and learn to love teaching people as much as I love carrying a football. That’s where people need to live.
Potential is a fun word because your potential is constantly changing and hopefully for the better. Does it get to a point where have I reached my potential? You never reach your potential in my opinion. In constantly working towards my potential and am I content with where I’m at on whatever journey in whatever aspect I’m looking to reach my potential. That’s what it boils down to. In your case of being a division three football player, “I’m good with this. This is where I’m at. I feel confident, comfortable that I was close to my potential or reached my potential in this particular area. I’m happy with it. It has a lot to do with the individual and being able to say and appreciate where you’re at in life and take account of what allowed you to reach that point in terms of the work and effort and support that you might have had from your community. Whether it’s your parents dropping you off at practice or your teammates staying with you to run extra laps or sprints or whatever it may be.
It’s interesting too because one of the difficulties all people have, no matter what generation they come from, is they allow other people to define us. It’s fun because being an average Division III football player and running Leigh Steinberg and working with Warren Moon, I’ve been around the greatest athletes in the world, but they all have the same difficulty because they feel as if, one, they’re not to their potential yet. Two, at some level, we’re all defined by what other people think, judgments and conditions. The ESPN effect as much as you don’t want to listen to Tannenbaum talking about you. When he does, it hurts. I work very hard to stay in the truth consciousness and not allow other people to define me. It’s funny because somebody will say something some time about me and it takes me a while to process it because it hurt my feelings.
There’s only so much you can do. Your subconscious is real. Everything that you consume, whether it’s physically, audibly or whatever it maybe affects you on some level.
It’s how quickly I can get back to that piece. You said you feel good about that and allowing the snickers, the judgments, conditions and people laughing at you. Even with my brand, they laughed at me. They snickered, they made fun of me. Now, they applaud me.
What were they doing?
They made themselves people who define you like that, they haven’t defined me. I call it voting. I think I stole it from James Clear’s Atomic Habits. He talks about vote for what you want. I was voting all the time for what other people wanted for me and then I was pissed off when they got elected into my life.
I can speak when I was in school. I had a tough time at Columbia because I felt like I was doing what everyone else thought I should be doing. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was living in that pragmatic space instead of looking within and finding what my purpose was as I saw it. When I was able to recognize that, my life has taken a turn for the better within. Externally, people can say you’re in NFL for seven years, you got this nice apartment and I got a puppy. I’m excited about that.
What’s your puppy’s name?Empower and elevate athletes so you can make more money together. Click To Tweet
Major Rafiki Martin, Rafi for short. Rafiki is friend in Swahili. He’s a Labrador Retriever with chocolate leg, cute pup. He has a fan club in the building now.
I love dogs. I’m a miniature Dachshund guy. They’re built like me, long body, tiny legs and big nose. A perfect dog. Mine’s name is Coco. The other one was Bob Marley named after Bob Marley.
I want to dive into why sports? Game-Time Decision Making, the book bestseller. What draws you to athletes in that mindset? You’ve hinted at it throughout the conversation.
I wanted to be a professional athlete originally. It was an obsession of mine. It’s something that I always enjoyed. I wanted to make money more than I wanted to be a professional athlete which was good because I ended up getting into technology. I always surrounded myself with sports and as a student of sports. I like the emotional side of sports that people bound on emotion for logical reasons. I always say there are two things that I realize people in the unification of the world are equally emotional about. One is your children. If you can’t sell somebody something for their child, then you don’t even know how to sell. The second one was sports. It’s called the irrationality of middle-aged men. If you can sell a guy his favorite Jersey signed by his favorite player, then you don’t know how to sell. If you can’t sell parents, piano lessons or kicking lessons. I have seen parents. I used to run Clarkson Dream Makers, high-end quarterback training. I’ve seen moms go without food themselves so they can pay for quarterback training. That’s how much it’s emotionally. Understanding the emotional aspect, even for me of what sports meant to me, of what I would sacrifice for it. I wanted to learn how to inspire people with sports. Originally, I wanted to learn how to make money, help people and have fun and sports seem to be the easiest way to do that.
In fact, when I lucked out and met Leigh Steinberg and he hired me 48 hours later to be the COO and then six months later to CEO of the most notable sports agency, it was this conversation that attracted him to me. My business acumen was I’m not interested in representing or using or manipulating athletes. I want to empower and elevate them so that we all can make more money together. Believe it or not, over the last several years since I started with Sports 1 Marketing, that the brands, the individual brand and athlete have far exceeded what most people could even imagine. They drive leagues, organizations and media. They are their own investment banks. They are their own networks and it’s only going to get greater.
Why sports to me is I couldn’t figure out a better way to make a lot of money to help a lot of people and have a lot of fun. Warren Moon and I, when we spun off from Leigh Steinberg, we built this whole business off of, “Let’s pay the athletes to come to meet their biggest fans that have a lot of money and then use those athletes that were paying to convince the people with lots of money to invest their money into things that we believe will help a lot of people. Let’s do it around the things that we like to do like Super bowl, Pro bowl, Masters, Kentucky Derby. I have the utmost respect for Warren Moon.
My favorite thing about Warren Moon is he’s one of the biggest sports fans ever. Some of my greatest moments were watching the World Cup in Brazil with Warren Moon. Sitting him and I watching the World Series together and talking sports and having him say things like, “I was a better baseball player than I was a football player.” I’m like, “Don’t ever believe anybody that tells you that when they’re a Hall of Fame. I was better at this. That’s BS. That’s not happening.” He was a way better football player. Those are the things that I love because I wanted to live my life with activity. You said it best. The biggest frustration right now is there’s an activity that you get paid for that you would do for free.
In fact, one of your Columbia buddies, he had the best line when I asked him, Marcellus Wiley. I said, “My brand is growing.” I went to the gym and immediately the guy’s like, “You’re Dave Meltzer.” I’d never thought that would happen, but I asked him, “Doesn’t it get annoying? You’re giving up your personal life and you have to stay.” He goes, “Dave, it’s simple for me. I never got paid anything to play football. I took and said all that money they’re paying me is for everything else. All this stuff I don’t like to do.” That’s what he was paid for. Dividing out and understanding to love what you do, to have an activity you get paid for. That’s why I love speaking. I went to Paris with my wife, fully paid for the Global Sports Week, and it was an activity I got paid for it. Meanwhile, I would have paid a ton of money to do what I’ve got to do. It was awesome.
Dave, thank you so much for joining us on the show. This was a cool conversation. I’m happy I got to learn a little bit about you and share this with the audience. Everyone out there, Dave Meltzer, Cofounder of Sports 1 Marketing. Dave, any last words? Where can people find you?
I’m doing a new thing. If you can text me what the most impactful thing that you’ve learned from Josh and me, I take that in and it helps me a lot, help other people. Text me at (949) 298-2905. Text me what’s the most impactful thing that you learned on this podcast. Otherwise, find me at David Meltzer. You can find me easy by that name, but I’d prefer it if you texted me what is impacting your life from this conversation.
Thank you for reading.
Once again, that was David Meltzer, Cofounder of Sports 1 Marketing. Feel free to follow, like and subscribe to @JoshMartin95 on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Feel free to leave a comment. Let us know your thoughts. Until next time.
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About David Meltzer
CEO of Sports 1 Marketing and host of the Entrepreneur podcast, “The Playbook”, is a Top 100 Business Coach, public speaker and three-time bestselling author who has been honored by Variety as “Sports Humanitarian of the Year” and is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.