Pro Athlete-turned-Investor Educates Young People About Sports, Real Estate and Life

The odds of getting into the NBA or any professional sport are incredibly high. In the United States and many European countries, a disproportionate number of young people aspire to play professional sports, but unfortunately the odds are not favorable. According to Dunk Or Three, anyone looking for a career in basketball has about a 1 in 3333 (0.03%) chance of making it to the NBA.

The options for playing professional sports aren’t limited to the NBA alone, but the path is notoriously difficult for anyone who wants to follow it. However, former professional athlete Art Morrison III thinks pursuing a passion is more important than achieving the vision itself.

Art Morrison III is a former professional athlete, author and real estate investor who overcame the odds to play professional basketball in Europe. Morrison’s journey has been marked by losses, injury setbacks and overcoming obstacles against many odds. He has put all of his experience into mentoring young people in the art of pursuing their dreams, from sports to real estate to life lessons. Morrison has mentored hundreds of young kids aspiring to play professionally through his youth basketball organization, AboveMax Basketball. He has also mentored over 400 students in the art of real estate.

This reporter chatted with Art Morrison, who shared a bit of his work and how he uses his story to educate the next generation on how to overcome setbacks and achieve success.

Rod Berger: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who is Art Morrison III? And what aspects of your background have helped shape your current endeavors?

Art Morrison III: I am a former professional basketball player. I played in Proliga in Portugal and was the top scorer while playing in the league. I graduated from Caldwell University and also played on the men’s basketball team there. I’m a licensed basketball coach and the founder of AboveMax Basketball, a youth basketball organization that trains kids ages seven to nineteen.

I specialize in mindset and skill development and personal training. I use the many lessons I have learned from overcoming enormous difficulties in my life to train children to be resilient in pursuit of their dreams. Whether they end up playing professional ball or not, these lessons guide them through life.

I’m also a real estate investor and the CEO of United Home Relief LLC, a company I started in 2019 that has had explosive success. We quickly grew into a seven-figure business and surpassed $1 million in revenue in our first full year of operation. So that’s pretty much me in a nutshell.

Shepherd: As a professional coach and former professional basketball player, you should be aware of the high odds that many aspiring young athletes are trying to win. Has your journey been easy or has it been difficult to play professionally?

Morrison: It was anything but easy. When I mentor young people today, I try to paint this picture as clearly as possible. Reaching the top in any profession is tough, let alone professional basketball. My personal journey has been filled with repeated setbacks, having attended five different high schools, suffered multiple injuries including a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and ultimately had to impersonate my own agent and fight for a deal.

Shepherd: It’s a tough road for the pros. You mentioned impersonating your own agent, which is rare for anyone playing professionally. Can you tell us a bit more about this process?

Morrison: After tearing my ACL in my senior year of college, I had a lengthy injury layoff, which meant I had almost no playing time in my senior year at college. university. For most people, when that happens, the game is over. No agent or team wants to deal with you. However, I loved the game and believed I could play professionally.

So, I posed as my own agent and started reaching out to teams. I contacted over 3,000 organizations before I got my first opportunity and eventually my first professional contract. This is how my journey into professional basketball began.

Playing professionally required self-confidence and self-encouragement to overcome many rejections and beat huge odds. I learned so much from the pursuit that I still would have succeeded in something else even if I hadn’t reached the professional stage. In fact, these lessons are largely responsible for my success in real estate today. I teach young children this knowledge: to believe in themselves and to know that not all doors will close in front of them. For every door that closes, another opens.

Shepherd: I can only imagine how humbling it was to reach over 3,000 teams. It’s impressive. But let’s focus on how this transition happened for you, from professional gaming to real estate. It’s not an uncommon route for many athletes to get into real estate, so was it a similar story for you?

Morisson: Well, not at all. Many athletes-turned-real estate investors have played in the NBA with plenty of cash. But my situation was slightly different. I’ve always wanted to invest in real estate, but I knew I didn’t want to be a broker or a middleman, which are the only two options available when you’re broke and have bad credit, which unfortunately was my situation.

At the time, I had already started AboveMax Basketball and was coaching some phenomenal kids. I started United Home Relief leveraging AboveMax to find financial partners and private lenders to fund my real estate transactions.

I partnered with the parents of some of the kids I coached to raise capital to buy our first five homes in our first year of business. These parents believed in me and invested in my new business, and we haven’t looked back since. We made over $1 million in revenue in the first year, even during the pandemic.

Shepherd: It’s a savvy way to enter the industry [laugh]. It seems like you spend a lot of time mentoring young people in sports and real estate. Why is mentoring children so vital to you and what lessons do you frequently teach?

Morrison: Well, my life has been a big rollercoaster. I accomplished almost everything the hard way, and I told myself that if I could succeed, anyone could too. In 2015, I lost my father to a sudden heart attack a month after starting the youth basketball organization. As I could no longer include him in my entrepreneurial journey, I dedicated the growth of my business to him and decided to bring as many people as possible with me.

In 2018, I published my first book, Overcome: The Key to Unlocking Your Superhuman. His principle of motivation has been a powerful mentoring tool for many young people.

The testimonials have been incredible. I basically teach young people to see themselves as the main character in a film and to understand that for the story to be good, there must be trials and difficulties to overcome.

So, for example, when I advise people who are trying to get into real estate, I advise them never to use the phrase, “I can’t do this because…” Instead, they should say: “How can I achieve this, despite…” The first phrasing stops their creativity and their tenacity to continue, but the second releases their curiosity and their ability to innovate and continue.

I want young people to know that there is gold in the pursuit and not just in the destination. If for some reason you don’t make it to your favorite destination, you will have learned so much that it will catapult you to the top when the next door opens.

Art Morrison III is an example of an individual who wants to improve the lives of the younger generation in a relevant education platform that builds self-confidence and business acumen. He shares his time coaching the youth basketball organization and mentoring over 400 young entrepreneurs interested in real estate. As a result, many young proteges have launched highly successful real estate businesses with a sense of knowledge, purpose, and confidence rolled into one.

The increased focus inside schools to develop stronger teaching and leadership practices that trickle down to students continues to grab headlines. While many efforts are underway within the education ecosystem, it often takes outside action from individuals willing to devote their time and energy to raising the bar of opportunity.

Morrison recognizes a critical opportunity within the black community in the United States and elsewhere to merge real-life skills mentoring with athletic interests. By bringing them together, he elevates the passion, potential, and possibilities for young people to be the best main characters in the lives they create.

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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