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Former pro basketball star Jamal Mashburn is ready for a new game. The New York native who played basketball as a forward with the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat is going to try his skills in the advertising world.

It’s not the ex-baller’s first brush with business. After retiring from the NBA in 2004, he opened various business.

“Today, Mashburn is the owner of 40 Papa John’s Pizza restaurants, 38 Outback Steakhouse restaurants and several car dealerships,” reports Target Market News. And Mashburn is a partner with his former University of Kentucky basketball coach Rick Pitino and Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris T. Sullivan in Ol Memorial Stable, the owner of Kentucky Derby hopeful Buffalo Man. On top of all of this, Mashburn launched a venture capital firm called Mashburn Justice Capital Partners just last year.

Now comes the advertising agency.

His partner in the latest venture is Jonathan Sackett and the name of the company is Mashburn Sackett agency in Chicago. Mashburn is chairman and Sackett, who most recently was a senior partner at ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, is President/CEO. Ten people are on staff.

The agency is much-needed as there are 0nly a handful of black-owned ad firms in existence. But for Mashburn the transition from sports to business isn’t that odd.

“A lot of people don’t realize that when you are a youth playing a sport you are already involved in marketing because you are marketing yourself,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

“Trying to understand the advertising component in the car business was the biggest challenge,” he said. “The car business is very much all about ‘we are going to do it the same old way.’ It’s a lot of ‘we are going to spend X amount of dollars on radio and print and try and figure out this Internet thing.’ So I began asking my general managers ‘Can anybody give me a number on what my return is for what we spend on advertising?’  But no one could give me an answer. That got my attention and I got really involved.”

As far as his role, he will handle the business side and not the creative aspects.

“I will not be the guy pitching the creative concept,” said Mashburn. “I am more of an operations person. My role will be oversight of the agency, administrative and building relationships. I have relationships and access to companies and people in the technology space, the food industry and car business.”

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