The NBA champion, G League head coach, and Head of Performance at virtual fitness brand FlexIt joins Boardroom for a conversation about his evolution as both a mentor and a businessman.
Jason Terry has an NBA championship. In the whole, wide history of the league, he’s made more 3-pointers than all but six players. In so many ways, the Jet’s contributions on the court (and his trademark spread-winged celebration) are fully encoded in the collective NBA memory.
But the story didn’t end when Terry retired from the league following the 2018 season.
These days, the Jet is the head coach of the Denver Nuggets’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, in addition to recently being named Head of Performance at fitness tech brand FlexIt. As he continues to take flight as a mentor and a businessman following his years of success on the court, Boardroom caught up with Terry for a conversation about this next phase of his professional journey, as well as the best advice he can offer to young athletes hoping for the best possible life after basketball.
BOARDROOM: What’s the difference between Jet the Basketball Player and Jet the Businessman?
JASON TERRY: There’s really no difference between Jet the Businessman, Jet the Basketball Player, and Jet the Coach. I’m just as passionate about each one of my endeavors. I’m super competitive and I play for the win. So there really is no difference.
B: Do you remember a specific moment on the court when you really started thinking about business moves?
JT: When I was traded to the Dallas Mavericks — and my mentor, my owner, my friend was Mark Cuban. He was always a bright businessman and anytime I ever send him an email on a business proposal or an endeavor I was encountering, he was always knowledgeable and he always gave me his best business advice.
B: You’ve recently been named the head of athletic performance at FlexIt. What sold you on the opportunity? What sets them apart?
JT: It was just how passionate the owner and CEO Austin Cohen was about FlexIt, its platform, its mission, and its purpose. His core values and the company’s core values align with mine, and that’s just caring about people, physical health and wellness, being the best version of yourself. So when those three things aligned for me, it was a no-brainer.
B: When and how did you get drawn into the world of fitness technology?
JT: I did know throughout my 19-year career [that] having a personal trainer, somebody that was there to give me motivation and encouragement in time of need when I’m performing my physical fitness task and getting ready and preparing for a rigorous season, I knew that was very valuable. I also knew it was a luxury, because not many people can afford it. To have someone that they connect with that have their best interests at heart.
FlexIt gives me that same type of feel. Now that I’m not a professional athlete anymore, I don’t have the guy that is waiting for me hand-and-foot to work me out, train me, and motivate me — but I do have the FlexIt platform where I can get that same type of personal, intimate relationship, someone that I can speak to that understands my needs, that understands my time is valuable and that understands wherever, whenever I can get my physical fitness in by using the platform.
B: How do you approach your team’s fitness and wellness as a coach, and how does that differ from how you approached it as a player?
JT: My approach with my team on physical fitness — and this is very similar to my approach when I played — [is that] to be in shape, you have to be dedicated, you have to be committed, and you have to hold yourself and others accountable. For my guys, for us to perform at the optimal level, we have to be in our best physical condition.
That’s how I played my career for 19 years, I always prided myself on being in the best physical shape I could because I knew when the game was on the line and when I needed to dig deep, had I trained properly and did everything I could to be in the best shape I could. Um, then the result would take care of itself.
B: In what ways have you seen fitness performance and wellness evolve since you were a player?
JT: Physical fitness and wellness has definitely evolved since my time in the league, which was almost 20 years ago. There’s so many more platforms. There’s so much more accessibility. There’s so much more awareness to fitness that people nowadays are more privy to.
When I was coming up, it was, ‘Hey, get to the track, lift these big hundred, thousand-pound dumbbells, and then you get strong.’ But now there’s just so more, many more intricacies of physical fitness, but it still goes back to being self-motivated and having a support system around you that can motivate you to obtain a goal in physical fitness for yourself.
B: Part of your role with FlexIt involves being an outreach coordinator. Can you speak about that part of your effort? What sorts of programs are you most excited to create?
JT: I’ll be directly getting involved in certain communities, getting young people to join up into this health and fitness and wellness movement. Getting them involved at an early age is very important. As they grow older, you start to build habits, and if they can build a habit of working out, being physically fit, it’s just gonna pay off for them as they grow older.
B: You’ve been a player, and now you’re coaching and simultaneously creating business opportunities for yourself. What’s been the biggest learning curve for you outside of basketball?
JT: Outside of basketball and in business, for me, the biggest learning curve was just being extremely knowledgeable about whatever you are about to partake in. So for instance, in business, if it’s something you’re passionate about, you have to really understand it, read up on it, and really be involved hands-on. That’s the best way for me to invest.
I’ve been involved in certain things where I’ve just blended my finances or lended my name to a certain cause or certain endeavor and I really didn’t get much joy out of it. But when you’re involved in something like FlexIt when it’s not just financial, I call it sweat equity. You’re really immersed into it and you really understand what it’s about and you really take the time to learn about what it is you’re invested in. I think you get the biggest joy, as well as the return.
B: What advice do you give young athletes who want to prepare as intelligently as possible for life after basketball?
JT: The best advice I can give to guys or girls for life after basketball is [that] it’s never too early to start thinking about it. Never too early. And then whatever it is, [that] you are truly passionate about it and seek out those that are in that field and learn right from their experiences. Seek out that information and have a mentor in that space.