It’s no surprise that Vernon Davis, the superstar Washington Redskins All-Pro tight end, continues to excel on the football field on any given Sunday. But the rest of the week Davis enjoys enormous success in the worlds of business, real estate, philanthropy and entertainment.
Davis, the first professional athlete to be publicly traded on Wall Street, reveals to Michael Reel of Reel Urban News some of the secrets of his success. Davis discussed his partnership with smoothie giant Jamba Juice and how NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson changed his life.
“Football taught me the importance and value of my athletic ability,” says Davis. “But meeting with Magic taught me the value of my name.”
It has not been a completely magical journey for Davis, who has spent 12 years toiling in the NFL. “I had to go through so much to get where I am. It goes back to my younger days when I was in high school. When it comes to the game of football, I looked at myself like I was in college. When I was in college I looked at myself as a professional athlete.”
Born and raised in Washington D.C., Davis was drafted in 2006 by the San Francisco 49ers. His move to Northern California was fortuitous; that’s where a stop at a smoothie bar changed his life. “I walked into Jamba Juice back in 2006 and I saw Venus Williams on a poster. I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do. This is actually in my realm.’”
Davis approached the smoothie restaurant, he says, because the brand represented healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. “I reached out to Jamba Juice, cultivated that relationship. The next thing you know I was opening up one store, then I opened up another and another after that. All of a sudden I became a business owner. And now I’m starting to create that brand awareness.”
That affiliation has made Davis aware of the value of his own brand. “It’s Jamba Juice but there is also a brand that I have as well. We have a partnership. I feel like the brand is everything. It’s about creating that brand development over time.”
Brand development, says Davis, is not as easy as it looks. “Whether it’s your personal brand or it is something you created like the Jamba Juice and the KRAVE Jerkys of the world, it takes a lot of work.”
Davis is no stranger to partnerships that have resulted in success. Since entering the NFL in 2006, the offensive star has played for three NFL teams: the 49ers, the Denver Broncos, which he helped win Super Bowl 50, and now the Redskins.
Davis brings the same passion that makes him a star on the gridiron to the rough and tumble business world. “Once I learned business I said, OK, now I can go do other things because I have that understanding. With that understanding you’re able to move mountains.”
It was hoops legend Magic Johnson whom Davis credits for igniting his passion and drive for success in business. “I went to him because he’s one of those guys that’s been there and done that. I felt that I could learn from him, really get some information that would propel me into a whole ‘nother world of success.”
Johnson, of course, is the master entrepreneur whose name is emblazoned across everything from movie theaters to Starbucks cafes.
“Everywhere you go you always see Magic Johnson, Magic Johnson Enterprises,” says Davis. “His name is always behind it. It really resonated with me.
“That’s why I was able to go into Jamba Juice and I stress the importance of having my name on the storefront. Because I learned that from Magic Johnson.”
The Davis brand became so valuable that in April of 2014 he became the first professional athlete to have his image and personal brand publicly traded on Wall Street.
Fantex, an athletic stock exchange, invested $4 million in Davis for a 10 percent stake in his future endeavors.
“My partnership with Fantex is all about building a brand, helping to move things and to propel me to the next level. They’re a brand-building entity to which I sold 10 percent of my football income as well as future brand income.”
That future appears bright as Davis continues to tear up the NFL while scoring touchdowns in the competitive business world.