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Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: October 9, 12:11 PM ET
Larry Ellison's biggest fan

By As told to Sam Alipour
ESPN The Magazine

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Oct. 14 Bay Area Issue. Subscribe today!

I thought the Bay Area would be a great spot for me.There are just so many opportunities out here. I've got my mind on tech funds and venture capital funds. That's what I want to get acquainted with. In fact, my financial team has already started laying some of that groundwork.

My boss Joe Lacob is a living example. He told me, "That's how I bought the team, through venture capital." I want to follow in his footsteps.

But not yet. In the offseason, I attended a seminar in which a bunch of GMs and presidents came in and talked to players about running a team. My long-range goal is to become a GM or team president. I can't own a sports franchise while I'm playing, but I do have aspirations to own an NBA team, and a WNBA team too.

That's why I'm thinking ahead. The salary you give up by signing in a state with income tax, or in a city that offered you less money, can be recouped later on if you connect with the right people, put in the hours and invest in the right way. There's a billion-dollar company being built every couple of weeks out here.

Love, love, love the neighborhood. Twitter is just down the street. I rolled past Facebook the other day, near Palo Alto. I'm like, That's crazy -- they're right here?! Joe Lacob told me that Silicon Valley execs are always in our locker room.

Athletes like tech guys, just like they like us. They just don't know that I want to do what they do -- at least not yet. Guys like Larry Ellison sit courtside at all our games. Dude, Larry Ellison! I'm his biggest fan.

I look up to Jamal Mashburn too. He first did the franchising thing, which I'm not really into, but then he started a venture capital group. Again, that's one of the reasons I wanted to come to the Bay Area -- people here are doing this kind of thing every day.

Andre Iguodala
Ballin' by the bay with guys like Steph Curry and David Lee isn't all that's on the mind of Andre Iguodala.
I'm putting in the work. During the lockout two years ago, I interned with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I got to follow a venture capitalist, who took me to three meetings, including one with the NFLPA; they had an app they were testing out. I was amazed -- the guy could listen to a pitch and then break down what worked or what was wrong in a matter of minutes.

And I'm always learning. My home page? WSJ.com. I pick up Forbes when I travel, and just the other day I read about how all the NFL owners got their wealth. The Jags owner is a beast: worked at an auto-parts company, figured out how to make bumpers efficiently, then made bumpers for Ford and Toyota. I tweeted it.

I'm seeing that bird everywhere. A few weeks ago, First Round Capital set up a dinner for me and some execs from Twitter, Facebook, Wanelo, Path and two venture capital groups. They talked about how I can improve with social media and connect more with fans. Athletes are a different product than entertainers. We're monitored more.

Andre Iguodala
During the lockout, Iguodala interned with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
A lot more. I was on Twitter early, but I had to get off because it's hard tweeting and playing in Philly. I have a brand consultant who said we should change my handle from @MindofAI9. I don't know what my business manager did to get it, but he gave me @Andre as a gift last Christmas.

Yeah, I'm a techie. I have two phones and I'm really into service apps. I was on Uber a long time ago. I was telling my business manager: Yo, you gotta get into this! It's the perfect thing for athletes because we travel so much.

My favorite stocks? My business manager lets me play with money in an E-Trade account. We killed it one day with Groupon, killed it with LinkedIn, made some money when Nike split, made some money with a Nike competitor. Netflix! They were ahead of the curve when it came to streaming, and the stock just shot up.

My elevator pitch to a Silicon Valley type? I would say: I'm at your level, but I just chose a different arena. I have the work ethic, drive, mental toughness and passion to be successful, even if it's just an ice cream stand on the corner. Now I just have to pick up your lingo.

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