Athletics has long been a major avenue of financial and political advancement for African Americans in the United States, particularly for male athletes.
However, this economic advancement, due to their black political status, has not always been as long-lived or fruitful as either the athlete or the public would initially imagine it to be.
However, Andre Iguodala of the NBA's Golden State Warriors franchise has been in overdrive to overcome this all too prevalent narrative of "riches-to-rags" for black athletes.
From Primetime Entertainers to Silicon Valley Tech Investors
Andre Iguodala has been playing in the NBA of the last 12 years, enjoying notoriety with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets before moving to the Golden State Warriors, where he has cemented his legacy with an NBA Title in 2015.
However, this last franchise move have given the business-minded Iguodala access to the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem of founders and investors.
Andre Iguodala speaks with Bloomberg Television about Tech and its Role in Professional Sports
With the average duration of NBA players being only 3-4 years, Andre Iguodala is working with the NBA and its Players Union to increase the collective financial literacy and legal know-how of its athletes. They are providing players with specialized counseling and mentorship.
Personally, Iguodala has invested in startup companies such as Twice (an ecommerce platform for tall and skinny men- acquired by Ebay). He was also an investor in the $24 million series B round for Bevel, a men's shaving company, engineered by Tristan Walker's Walker & Co company.
His activity has been part of a high level of startup-involvement by Golden State Warriors' players such as Stephen Curry who has invested in Slyce, Andrew Bogut who's invested in One Management Group & Consulting, David Lee in Omni and Harrison Barnes in Bevel.
These Golden-State players receive an above-average level of access to big name investors, founders and executives due to their geographic location, social profile and earnings.
However, Iguodala is working to ensure that all of the NBA's players have more access to financial information and know-how.
Breaking the Narrative of Lost Wealth and Opportunity
Roughly 3 in every 4 NBA players are African American. And of that 75%, 34% of those African American NBA players grew up 150 times below the poverty level, as reported by Bleacher Report.
And thus, the narrative of NBA players losing their wealth becomes a long and tired one.
Antoine Walker went from being worth $108 million to filing bankruptcy. Allen Iverson went from earnings of $154 million to not being able to buy a "cheeseburger" in 2012. Letrell Sprewell went from earning $96 million during his career to losing both his house and yacht due to unpaid debts.
However, the hope of Andre and others is that a shift in mindset will occur, from one of mere spending to one of ownership and investment. This shift would ideally trickle down to their fans and social media followers.
Setting An Example for the NBA and Us All
What's particularly cool is that Andre Iguodala is using his cultural and economic capital to improve an entire ecosystem. He's resisting and rebelling against a status quo of blind consumerism which rooted in legacies of systemic poverty and systematic inequality.
He is leveraging his new relationships with investment titans such as Mark Andreessen, Ben Horowitz and Warren Buffet to open doors for NBA players and every day Americans. His actions will specifically create opportunity for the structurally underprivileged and disempowered.
Iguodala's efforts to create substantive and collective change is not a one-man-show either. With non-profits like Money Think ,who provides teens and young adults with financial education to historically undeserved communities, a new class of producers and creatives can be formed, as well as job creating opportunities.
Andre shows us all the power of one individual's desire to create and "spread" the wealth.
WATCH: Andre Iguodala also had a chance to catch up with the popular "Breakfast Club Radio Show" in which he discusses black wealth creation amongst African Americans.
Medvis Jackson is a web designer at Hindsite, curator at Kulchah and avid cricket fan. You can follow him @medvisjackson for his random thoughts. He primarily covers startup, tech and small business ecosystems and resources.