ESPN Music: Roger Mason Jr.
February, 8, 2013
By Jared Zwerling | ESPN.com
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesRoger Mason Jr. is the first NBA player to sign a joint-venture deal with a major music label.When New Orleans Hornets guard Roger Mason Jr. first got into the music business in 2009 and started scheduling meetings to sign his first act, urban pop singer Segarra, he didn't want anyone to know he was an NBA player. He took his passion sincerely and was afraid music executives would take him lightly and not give him a fair deal.
"There have been so many times that athletes aren't taken seriously," said Mason, who was a classically trained pianist at 7 years old.
That approach worked through the first few years as he built up his company, Weight Records, and became the first NBA player to sign a joint-venture deal with a major label, Universal Music Group. Now Mason, along with his longtime friend and business partner Omari Ware, has made Weight a successfully independent venture with offices in Miami and Los Angeles, featuring a full-time staff of two reps and two producers. While Ware handles the day-to-day operations, Mason is involved mostly via email during the season and intensifies his involvement during the summer.
So far this year, Mason and Ware have been focused on marketing Segarra's first single, "All the Boyz," off her upcoming EP and preparing its release in June.
Mason is also taking steps to erase the stigma attached to pro athletes who want to break into music. As a player representative for the National Basketball Players Association, he is in the process of working alongside the union to establish a music outreach program for NBA ballers with New York University as well as legendary record producer and J Records founder Clive Davis.
Speaking with ESPN Playbook this week, Mason discussed the development of Weight Records, the life-changing music experiences he had in New York as a member of the Knicks and his initiatives to open doors for players and kids in the industry.