You might say that Trevor Booker moonlights as a power forward for the Brooklyn Nets.
But during the daylight hours and the offseason, when he’s not playing professional basketball, Booker’s work interests extend far beyond the hard court. He’s invested in real estate and owns 18 companies that include sports academies, a private high school, a record label, and a VC firm.
“To say that I’m an entrepreneur is an understatement,” Booker told Business Insider.
It was with this in mind that Booker visited San Francisco and Silicon Valley this week with 13 other players on a tour organised by the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). As part of the tour the players met with representatives of tech firms IBM, Intel and STRIVR.
For Booker, STRIVR was the highlight. The company is working on ways to train people using virtual reality headsets. It’s focused particularly on training college and professional athletes, giving them a chance to experience scenarios that might come up in games without having to break a sweat.
“I could definitely see myself using it as an athlete,” Booker said of STRIVR’s virtual reality training device. “They can help you shoot a game in real time and shoot it from your point of view.”
The NBPA organizes regular seminars that focus on different industries. Its tour of Silicon Valley is an annual offseason tradition. The effort is all part of the union’s greater initiative to prepare professional athletes for life beyond the court. Last year, its tour took players to Google and Facebook.
Booker said he joined the trip just to see what he could learn. He’s participated in other seminars before and met a lot of valuable people through them.
At Intel, that happened to be the staff, which Brooker said stood out as particularly diverse.
“That’s something I love to see,” he said. “I don’t think you see enough minorities or women in the tech field.”
The players also met IBM’s Jeopardy-winning artificial intelligence system, Watson — “Not he. It.” But perhaps the most meaningful meet-and-greets happened among the players themselves.
“One of the things that we brought up is that we don’t know what each other has going on,” Booker said about his fellow basketball players. “We wish that more [players] would take advantage of their resources to start business ventures and do something different.
“We can really help each other’s businesses, so that’s something we vowed to do.”