Al Harrington had a respectable NBA career that lasted 16 seasons. Since he skipped college and was drafted straight out of high school, a fun fact about him is that he was the first player born in the 1980s to join the NBA. A much more interesting fact is that he became a successful businessman after his playing days were over.
From the court to the C-suite
Al was recently a guest on an episode of the “Iman Amongst Men” podcast hosted by Iman Shumpert and his brother Ahrii. Harrington shared many personal stories and a remarkable business idea that should catch a lot of attention among NBA players.
“Whenever guys really realize the power that they have working together compared to apart, everything will change,” Al pointed out. “You know what I’m saying? When you just think about the NBA, just with the players, right? The players get $5 billion collectively a year in total. What if one year we decided to take 25% of our salary and all dedicated to this new fun bank thing, whatever you want it to be. Yeah, you got a billion dollar entity out the gate! Who doesn’t want to do business with the [NBA] players? You understand what I’m saying?”
“Baby Al” brings up a great point here, and what makes it even more valid is that he used the NBA brotherhood to grow his successful business. It all started with the Viola Brands company (named in honor of his grandmother) that produced cannabis extracts. The next step was the foundation of Harrington Wellness, a company producing non-psychoactive cannabinoid products.
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What followed was an investment in Butter Baby, a cannabis edibles manufacturing company. Today, the three companies are all part of The Harrington Group. The above-mentioned growth through brotherhood started happening after a deal was made with none other than Allen Iverson. Naturally, there is a great story about that as well.
“He said to me ‘If you make weed tastes like Dom Perignon I’ll smoke it’ so that’s what we took and I ran with it. I was serious about it and what we did was we were able to find the genetic you know with a company that we’re working with that is a great stomp across with secret cushmits that literally when you first light it up it tastes like you’re sipping champagne,” said Al via No Chill with Gilbert Arenas.
Smart business moves and gradual marijuana liberalization in the United States took the brotherhood aspect to an even higher level. In 2022, Harrington struck a partnership deal with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) to promote his Re+Play line of CBD products.
Roots in the game
In a basketball-related story, Al might have uncovered who could have inspired him way back when he was still a teenager in the NBA. It was Reggie Miller.
“The biggest thing that I learned was just like being around a guy like Reggie Miller, you know what I’m saying? Like one, I hated Reggie Miller because I was a Knick fan,” Al jokingly admitted. “My first year I had problems, but I was able to watch his preparation…He was always the very first person in the gym and always the last one to leave every day, bro. He was the best player on the team…He got his shots up. He had a routine the same routine year after year. I could tell y’all Reggie routine right now.”
So it seems that despite some initial antagonism, “The Knick Killer” served as a mentor and a role model that led to significant business and could even result in some really major plans that Harrington has for all NBA players.