Name: Jah Rawlings
Job: Founder and CEO
Company: Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League
LinkedIn: Jah Rawlings
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
A disruptor! A former athlete who went beyond the game to connect the community and culture to corporate. A visionary who got here through consistency, hard work and networking.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I really love what the NBA is doing to expand the game and give fans more of a connection to players, the game and entertainment and the focus on creating a platform for the youth and educating them beyond the game of basketball.
How do you define engagement?
I would say how you engage and interact with your consumer audience to develop a true connection and brand trust.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
Our Annual SneakerBall Atlanta Gala. We were able to bring together some of the most powerful and impactful leaders and influencers of Atlanta to impact the lives of local at-risk Atlanta youth through an amazing fundraiser event around cool sneakers. We have truly dedicated ourselves to making Philanthropy URBAN.
- We raised $22,000 to support our local youth programs and initiatives
- Took 150 at-risk youth to participate in the ESPN Celebration Bowl
- We were able to solidify some amazing partnerships: Ciroc, Lyft, Atlanta United, Mountain Dew, Coors
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
Right now I’m working extremely hard on Year 7 of AEBL Summer Pro-Am League. We’ve grown so much over the past three years—it’s amazing. I am now working to better scale and develop what the business model will be for the next 3 to 5 years. Yes, we’re always looking and thinking ahead. We’re launching our High School Division this summer, which I’m extremely excited about. It’s been in the incubator for two years now, and we finally feel it’s time especially with all these NCAA and AAU rule changes. We want to continue to drive and give exposure to the next generation.
As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
These days are few and far between. I’ve been extremely busy with new projects so I have only been able to skim a lot of new content platforms, but I love what LeBron and his Spring Hill Entertainment company are doing with “The Shop.” It’s real discussion and truthful content being created with amazing athletes on and off the playing fields.
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What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
The biggest high has been creating my own platform with AEBL and being able to successfully disrupt some norms in the sports arena, and [the thinking] that there’s only one way to make it and be successful which is by working for a pro team or agency.
The low would probably be the ongoing fight of playing the politics and the good ‘ole boy network and system not adapting to the current state of the sports business. And continuously seeing talented and valuable people not given a real chance in the business.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
More executive roles and opportunities being filled by minorities. And more ownership.
What’s an example of one way in which MiS has positively impacted your career?
It’s given me great access to connect and collaborate with other sports and entertainment professionals throughout the country.
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Hear more from leaders and creators across the sports industry this June at Hashtag Sports, an annual conference designed for media and marketing professionals.