Metta World Peace Talks Entrepreneurship, NBA Expansion, & Building An Empire

Metta World Peace recently sat down to talk about his new contest "The Pitch," as well as his foray into the business world.

BYAlexander Cole
Elton John AIDS Foundation's 30th Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party - Arrivals

Metta World Peace had himself an eventful yet incredible NBA career. He got to play with a ton of great teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers. While playing with Kobe Bryant, Metta was able to win an NBA title in 2010. He finished his career with an All-Star Game appearance in 2004, which is the same year he won Defensive Player Of The Year. Needless to say, Metta is an accomplished former NBA star.

These days, Metta is more focused on the business side of things. He has always been someone who commits himself to whatever he's doing, and that is especially true of his company. Ever since 2014, Metta World Peace has been working on his empire, and every single year, he finds new avenues to expand his business.

In fact, Metta's entrepreneurial spirit has led him to a new partnership with Orbiiit Technology. The two have joined forces on a brand new contest called The Pitch, and one lucky start-up could walk away with $25,000. Additionally, the winner will get mentorship from Metta and his investment committee. Subsequently, the contest is coming to a close on November 28th, which means start-ups still have time to submit their pitches.

Luckily, we got to sit down with Metta who spoke to us about this new contest, and what he's looking for from the potential winner. The former NBA star made it crystal clear as to how you can walk away with $25K. However, the competition will be stiff. Furthermore, Metta spoke about his aspirations in the business world and his interest in NBA ownership. He even spoke about the future of sports representation.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Metta World Peace attends the 2022 ESPYs at Dolby Theatre on July 20, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

HNHH: So, how did you maybe just start off? How did you link up with Orbiiit Technology in the first place?

MWP: Orbiiit technology reached out to one of my partners in Vancouver. What happened was, they were telling me about this new product, which is RBW, we're thinking about investing in that, then, you know, the whole idea that it just happened to be a startup company, giving a contest, to startup companies. And I just thought that was really cool. It went from being a portfolio company to also me being involved with the company. It was like a creative position, which I really liked.

Metta World Peace x The Pitch

Maybe for those who are interested in applying for The Pitch, and being contestants, maybe explain the concept of what The Pitch is, and your involvement in it as a whole.

Yeah, so you go to and you enter your startup. And if you finish in the final 10, we're going to have a couple of people from my investment committee, and we'll pick the company that's gonna give the $25,000 investment with no equity, by the way, so we'll go through all the submissions, and then after we kind of narrow it down to 10, we're gonna do a voting process, and somebody will have an opportunity to win $25,000 towards the company with no equity being taken. So this is, uh, you know, kind of very, very in line with what everybody's doing today and social impact and just give an opportunity for people that would not have necessarily had.

Being able to give $25,000, that's important for any startup. What are you hoping the winner does with the $25,000? Because each company might have different needs, but what are you hoping to see from the eventual winner?

You know, each founder is different. Right? So founders' job is to push the company forward. And with the $25,000, the founder could always ask for advice, but should do whatever they think that it's that it needs, you know, to move the company forward in the right direction. And obviously, we'll give you advice on that. But, you know, everyone is different, every company is different.

Metta World Peace attends the 2022 Mercedes-Benz Academy Awards Viewing Party at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills on March 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz)

How Metta Would Spend $25K

For yourself, if you were starting a company today, and somebody just gave you $25,000, what would be your first move?

It depends on, let's say merchandise. Right? It was merchandise to maybe design the merch kind of design and marketing plan, do some numbers, and then see if there's a market do we have a good story? And then after we got that in place, you know, then go forward with website and merchandise, but definitely want to design out the strategy first. Nowadays, I would design out the full strategy and then move after.

There's going to be a large range of contestants. What are you really looking for from a small business? You'll have the final 10 and then the eventual winner. What you're really looking for, especially for a brand that might be watching this interview or going to be reading this interview later on? 

When I think we're looking for good ideas that are gonna come across on a pitch and come across in the founder, and how they pitch. There's good ideas, and we're coming into this open-minded, you know, we're not coming into this closed-minded, which is going to be great. So, you know, we're not trying to change anyone, we just have a platform that we want to give somebody an opportunity and see where it goes.

Metta World Peace and Maya Sandiford-Artest attend the "American Underdog" Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 15, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Lionsgate)

The Key To A Great Pitch

When you receive business pitches and people come to you about your investment portfolio, what really stands out to you in a business pitch that maybe the contestants should think about when they enter the contest?

Definitely the founder. Right, I guess ultimately, that's ultimately what you're going to believe in. And then the story, and how are you going to get there? What's your idea? How are you going to get there? Right? Are you resourceful? Relentless. What's possible to get to where you need to get, you know, and I think that's really exciting. And you're working with new companies that understand where they're trying to go. And somebody you just believe it.

Backing off of that just, aside from maybe the founder, what really makes the business successful, more than just three years down the line, but 5, 10, 20 years down the line?

I think the culture, everybody has a different stream. So you're identifying what you need. And I think culture is important as branding. You know, partnerships, I think that's also something that you can do, at some time to be a first-time founder, and you try to do partnerships. You're probably like, what does that mean, you know, partnerships, you could do all sorts of partnerships to help build your company, you know, sustain your company. So don't be opposed to collaborating, and, you know, other companies, you know, to push the agenda forward. Obviously, operations also try to stay as organized as possible. And also, like, try to see how it is going to look in the future.

LeBron James greets Metta World Peace (L) after the game during the BIG3 Championship at Staples Center on September 01, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/BIG3 via Getty Images)

Metta's Foray Into Business

You're somebody who has a large investment portfolio, what are some of the projects and companies that you're working with right now that you're super excited about?

Um, EZ Care Link is a company that we have an SAS platform that provides nurses to facilities. I'm really happy with that company. Exports. Exports are picking up. We also launched a tech fund. So I'm excited about the plan, and we'll be able to start investing in people's companies. So definitely look out for us. And that'll be announced soon. And we have other projects. Sometimes they're also vertical, that's important, like marketing, how is your company thinking about marketing your portfolio companies? And it's really interesting because we're building like a management company. And we're slowly piecing it together.

So it's been really fun. And it's exciting. It's going to be an easy transition when we go to sports representation. And we decided to come from this way. Versus started in sports because he wanted to learn more about business, personally. Great. So now when we start to get into sports management, we make a splash, you know. So that's kind of how we're built. That's kind of a roadmap to where we're trying to go.

Definitely, and you touched on sports. So that kind of leads into my next question, which was, coming from an NBA background, there's a huge business component to sports, not just the NBA, but the NFL, hockey, and soccer. Being around the NBA, you see a lot of guys that are traded or guys don't get resigned by the teams that drafted them, stuff like that. How did your time in the NBA really help you when it comes to the business world and how you approach business dealings moving forward?

Well, a lot of the things I do is based on basketball. You know, the type of influence basketball players have. I was on both sides. Now I'm on the other side, fully on the other side, right, and understanding how you can launch different products and set a foundation. You know, when you talk about SEO when you're talking about CRMs, we're talking about e-commerce, logistics, everything's ready to go. It's ready for an athlete to go and really launch a big brand. That's exciting. Because I've been in that space for a long time. Trying to break through it, I remember when I first started talking to all these digital marketing companies, and trying to figure out how we're going to actually make this work.

It's been a lot of work since about 2014 when we first started going down this journey. I'm looking at this from a different lens, you know, and then basketball, you can see experts export to the basketball company, but it is a company that captures data, and it is a tech company but as basketball. So as long as basketball was essential when I started, then, you know, it gives me enough energy to move forward. I really love to be around the game, you know? So that's kind of how I'm able to move forward with business and kind of make sure I'm comfortable and I'm happy with, you know, with, with where I'm going.

You were talking a lot about how athletes are able to move products forward. So when you enter a business partnership, or you invest in a new business, what is sort of your approach to being a member? Because now you're invested. You're part of that business. What kind of hands-on approach do you typically take you because you're a marketable face? You were in the NBA and everyone knows you. You're Metta World Peace, right? So do you try to be the face?

No, I don't want to be the face. I built my company with a staff. I'm the chairman. And then I have marketers, CMOs, I have influencers, managers, everything right. So when I'm working with a company, I'm looking at what influences I can put on that company, which staff members, and which department could I put on a company to help them. We have different services. So we have technology, legal, business management, marketing, and paid marketing, so we can do a lot.

A lot of people would like to have me [as the face], but I don't. The reason is because running this company is a lot of work. So I don't really have time to be the face, I don't really have time to like -- I can't do photoshoots, I can't travel to different cities and show up. The administration is a lot. I like it because I'm able to help my companies in ways that other people really can't see.

Metta World Peace #15 of the Killer 3s drives to the basket against Jason Maxiell #54 of 3's Company during week eight of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Infinite Energy Arena on August 10, 2018 in Duluth, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

NBA Ownership?

You spoke about still wanting to be part of the business of basketball, stuff like that. As somebody who's constantly investing, would you ever be interested in maybe someday down the line being part of an ownership group for an NBA franchise?

Yeah, absolutely. You know, it takes a lot of cash to own a percentage of these teams. The cool thing is that everybody's coming up with these different ways to get involved with the NBA. Everybody wants to get involved and it's a good time to have been a former player in NBA because at least I get some information. I get to figure some things out and learn about ownership. Definitely interested in the future.

There have been talks about maybe expansion, there have been talks about Seattle, and Las Vegas. Which city do you think the NBA should be expanding to? And if so, would that be something that you'd be into? Because I know LeBron has said that he'd be interested in being part of the group that owns the Vegas team

Yeah, no, I love LeBron is interested in being a part of the biggest group. I think he definitely deserves it because of the work he put in and, and he wants it, quite frankly, you know, so but it's great that it's opportunities like that you got Seattle, everybody's hoping for obviously, you have like, Gary Payton and those guys out there. But it's opportunities to get involved, which is exciting.

Metta World Peace #15 of Killer 3s looks on against Tri State during week seven of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at TD Garden on August 3, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/BIG3/Getty Images)

NBA Management?

I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask, you know, as somebody who was part of the Lakers organization, and now as somebody who does management work... What do you what would you if you were the GM of the Lakers right now, what would you be doing to fix that team?

Oh, I wouldn't want to be GM, because Rob Pelinka is GM. And I have a relationship with him. I can't come out and say 'Hey, I would do this' but what I can say is I support the Lakers. It was really hard to play LeBron AD and I liked how they split it up. Obviously, they're not as good as the other teams, for many reasons. But the guys that we see such impact on the game, so you got to pretty much take it. Just enjoy the ride. Just enjoy the ride because we don't know if they're going to be great. We don't know that. We don't know what's gonna happen with the Lakers. Again, just what you can do is just enjoy that these Hall of Famers [are playing together.]

[Russell Westbrook's] career is incredible. Yeah, four seasons, we have the triple-double. We never thought we will see somebody do it one time. Right? He did it four times and we forget about that. You know, I'm saying so it's like, you can have a good career to start but there are always new players coming in. Giannis has come in. He's the best right now. So it's like nothing you can do. You're playing against? If you don't have Stephen Curry or Giannis right now, you know, these guys are going back-to-back MVPs. Going to the finals. And that's what we're up against, so it is what it is.

Metta World Peace #15 of Killer 3s walks out to the court prior to the game against the Ghost Ballers during week two of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at United Center on June 29, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/BIG3/Getty Images)

It's been a while since you've been around the NBA in terms of just being in a locker room. But you know, you're in retirement, now you're able to work on businesses and do stuff aside from the game. What has really been your favorite part of retirement so far because you also got to be on Big Brother for a short period of time. So you know, maybe talk about your favorite things that you've done since walking away from the game?

Well, my favorite thing is, I'm still around a lot of basketball. I Coach Cal State LA and I coached division two women's basketball. So that's fun. We beat a division one team, a great team. I don't want to throw them under the bus but it was a big win for us. And also this building, and I'll build a business and I just working with people. That's been great. You know, I'm really excited. I chose to do something that I wanted to do since I was in school, which is something in math, something in mathematics, you know, and I'm happy that I'm able to put it together and do sports, and numbers. You know, I'm just really lucky.

I'm really happy that I chose to go back to school. I went back to UCLA for a couple of courses at Concordia Irvine. So I think that's been different, but it's been fun. And now I'm like over the fact that you know, people know me, whatever, but I'm in that world. So when I'm out I'm working I'm not really going as a former Defensive Player of the Year, whatever people might think. So it's been great. 

Future Goals

In the business world, there's always the next goal. You have a certain goal for a business and then you get there and then you say 'Okay, what's next?' So maybe touch on what your ultimate goal is in the business world. And what would bring you the most fulfillment?

Well, I'm being happy, it's the best thing. But in terms of business, you know, I think I'm building a management company, that's gonna be a little bit different. We're gonna be a little bit different flair, in terms of how we represent athletes. When you have a good team, you can launch an amazing product and you can have ongoing revenue. Especially if you've had SEO and paying attention to opportunities to create revenue. I do believe in using technology, having a seamless CRM, and different things like that. But ongoing, for life. You know, and just when you're with one company. It's your CRM, right, and you understand where there's opportunities to get revenue, Alibaba, Shopify, Amazon, Facebook ads, making all this happen, it's really easy, you just take time to put it together. That's what excites me.

That type of product is something that I think about, but it's also something that fuels, what I'm doing because I can always come back around to a type of product like that. Which is, you know, which is why I'm excited that I'm getting all this experience because it's never really truly been a technical agency. That's launching businesses built-in product, you know, just a massive, you know, for the athletes, and the athletes true that they have value. So something like this should exist. The athletes are just watching different things in their field.

Metta World Peace reacts in a St. John's Red Storm 82-70 loss to Arizona State Sun Devils during the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at Staples Center on December 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Sports Representation

When you started your agency, was there ever a moment where you realized that you and your teammates had big gaps in your past representation? Specifically in terms of revenue streams and opportunities.

I think it's a different era. Nobody was thinking like entrepreneurs. Build your own Google, right? But nobody was thinking like that. And now people are evolving. So you have to evolve. But I think this evolution started back when Magic Johnson buys Starbucks, and Jordan was the owner of a team. I think that sparked, you know, like, oh, wow, this is possible. Now you're getting people to try to be entrepreneurs, so launching their own businesses and learning how to run the business as well. Which is really cool. I look at everything as an opportunity, if you look at the NBA is growing at a rapid pace. So in my mind, I'm just saying, okay, but the NBA is growing at this rapid pace, there's a lot of opportunity to launch big businesses, and market the NBA look at all these amazing businesses.

That's putting a logo on these jerseys. So this means that the future's bright. It's obvious we're going through a recession. This is the time maybe not to spend money, but it's a time to think. To prepare for when things get better, because it's looking like it's going up, even though we might go through a dive. But that's how I look at it.

Metta World Peace and Maya Sandiford Artest attend the 2022 ESPYs at Dolby Theatre on July 20, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

I love technology and video games. My son's a gamer. You know, Jeron Artest went to UCI, which is one of the best gaming schools in California. He went there as a computer science major and then went to USC, also in the Cinematic Arts School. He also graduated high school at 15 years old and now he's launched his own venture studio. So you see kind of what we're doing. You know, we're launching the gaming fund together. He's actually prepping a game. So, you know, so now it's a little bit different. What we're trying to do, is a lot of work. I don't really promote it that much because it's so much work in the backend, and I'm bringing different people to push on the front end.

This is the problem with athletes. That side is not done, you're not really doing prep. That side costs a lot of money though.? So you have to get it done if you're trying to do these big ideas. Otherwise, who's gonna do it? Right? So, you know, when I do my salary, I could probably charge a lot of money working for somebody. I can for sure work for somebody, you know, which I don't have a problem with. But you know, administration's side, you know, CRM side, capturing the data, you know, paying attention to the revenue streams, and growth streams, the partnerships, and all that stuff. That's how it's gonna be done on the backside.

You build a strong foundation. Once you got the foundation, now you've taken off and people are like 'Hey Metta how are you and Butter Cloth, [Butter Cloth is one of my companies], on Shark Tank?' I'm like grinding and running. I'm trying to run and pay attention. Trying to do more doubling down. That's kinda like how we're trying to go.

Metta World Peace attends the 70th Anniversary of Israel celebration in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Israeli Consulate, Los Angeles)

Based on everything you've told me, it really feels like, one philosophy you have is to just bet on yourself and things will fall into their place. Could you touch on the concept of betting on yourself and how you relate that to other entrepreneurs?

Yeah, I agree, man, better yourself, as yourself. Also partner. Listen to other people and be around people smarter than you, you know, do what you got to do to push the company forward. Definitely trust the process, because there are so many things that can go wrong. We're all different human beings. We got some humans that think very narrowly, some think big some dream. Sometimes our dreams and ideation are not something that you can execute on at this point. So what's the dream versus what can actually have actions that are gonna drive a goal? So just being able to, you know, separate that is, like, super important. 

Metta World Peace #15 of Killer 3's speaks at a press conference after his team played against the Ball Hogs in a game during Big 3-Week Five at American Airlines Arena on July 20, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Big 3/Getty Images)

Metta World Peace's Final Thoughts

Just lastly, whether it be basketball business, just any sort of facet of life, what has really been the biggest thing you've learned over the course of your life?

I think I would say teamwork is important. I guess I'm like an intense guy. But I really love sports and I think teamwork is important. I'm really happy that I was able to go to the game and learn that. Everything you do when you're doing it together. Even if you're connecting with the Earth. If you have a vision of bringing clean water across the world to every river, especially in New York City. That would be great to see it clear. But you know, just collaboration partnership teamwork.

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time. It was really great to talk to you about The Pitch and your career.

Thank you, man. Appreciate it. Appreciate you.

  • Link Copied to Clipboard!
About The Author
Alexander Cole is the current Managing Editor of HotNewHipHop. He started at HotNewHipHop back in 2018 where he began as a Sports and Sneakers writer. During this time, he has shown an expertise in Air Jordans, Yeezys, and all things that have to do with Nike. His favorite kicks are the Air Jordan 1 High OG, the Air Jordan 4, the Air Jordan 6, and the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 in the "Beluga 2.0" colorway. Although his collection might not be the biggest, he is always looking to add new styles to it. When it comes to sports, Alex has a particular interest in the NBA and the NFL. His favorite teams are anywhere LeBron goes, and the Kansas City Chiefs. As a Montrealer, the Montreal Canadiens hold a special place in his heart, even if they haven't won the Stanley Cup in his lifetime. Alex also works for the Concordia Stingers, where he provides play-by-play and color commentary for the football, hockey, and basketball teams His favorite hip-hop artists are Kendrick Lamar, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, and Lil Uzi Vert.