Q&A: A Conversation with NBA Hall of Famer and M3Linked Partner James Worthy
M3Linked is on a mission to guide entrepreneurs and executives to their professional goals through meaningful business collaboration. Few people know what it takes to reach the mountaintop of their field more than basketball Hall of Famer James Worthy, whose partnership with M3Linked was recently announced.
Following his career as a collegiate champion at the University of North Carolina and as a champion and All-Star in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, Worthy has achieved success in a variety of fields, including broadcasting and other business ventures. In addition to those accomplishments, he is now a partner of the M3Linked community in Los Angeles and a spokesman for the nationwide franchise.
We sat down with Worthy to discuss the partnership and his hopes of enhancing business collaboration in L.A. and around the United States.
Q: Millions of people across the globe know your accomplishments with the Showtime Lakers. How much have you taken from that experience that you use in business today?
My journey started in college (at the University of North Carolina) and continued in Los Angeles when I was introduced to branding and learned how to introduce myself to different corporations and represent different entities.
Moving on from that to retirement and getting into broadcasting in the ’90s, I had more time at that point to focus on business. I had some smaller businesses and learned from those experiences. I’ve put an emphasis on understanding what I can bring to the table while simultaneously learning more about business myself.
Q: What attracted you to the M3Linked community in Los Angeles?
I’ve been fortunate to connect with local entities here in L.A., and one of those was M3Linked. I found it through the local franchise owners and thought it was a great idea and opportunity.
From my perspective, having gone to symposiums and gone to hotels and booked flights and rental cars, I just felt this was a quicker way to meet people and connect with them. So not only is it convenient for me, but there’s also real value in a business sense. I’m always interested in connecting and enhancing my own company, whether that’s speaking engagements or learning more about running the day-to-day. This gave me a hands-on situation where I’m learning here in L.A. It allows me to roll out of this pandemic into something new and fresh.
Q: What have you learned from your M3Linked experiences so far?
I’m always curious when I meet people. Everyone has their own story, and in this case, they have their own company. All those conversations have been cool to be a part of, and I love getting there early to get as much of that information as I can.
The key has been meaningful collaboration. Not only do I feel like I can learn from others, but I feel like I can help them as well.
I’ve always had an accountant or agents to get me appearances, so I’ve always been engaged but not fully running things. I’m fully engaged with this and vulnerable in many ways. It’s OK to be vulnerable and not know all the terminology of everyone’s business or industry. It’s extremely educational. It’s informative and accessible. That’s really what I’ve enjoyed about it.
Q: You mentioned meaningful collaboration. How important do you view that concept?
I think it’s everything — in both sports and in business. I’ve been fortunate enough to win and be on winning teams. I understand the characteristics of what a winning team is, and that’s what this feels like. Even on days when you don’t get something, you might be able to provide something small that helps someone. These people are experts at what they do, and now they’re your friends and teammates.
I look at every M3Linked member as a coach or a teammate to some extent. Everybody needs those figures in their life or their career. It forces you to identify things about yourself or your business concepts. What’s your talent? When you’ve maxed out that talent, how do you continue to grow? Do you decide to stay in your box and develop from there, or do you go outside and find a new path?
Sometimes you’re afraid to ask something and admit something that you don’t know. I think this is a place where people can have safe discussions.
Q: Building on that, do you see sports as a good example of what it takes to succeed in business?
Oh, absolutely, especially when speaking about the collaboration aspect of it. Athletes now are way more sophisticated about business than we were, but even in my playing career, there were constant lessons about business in the locker room and in front-office conversations. Whether it was learning from Dean Smith at UNC or from Pat Riley and Dr. Jerry Buss with the Lakers, there were examples all around about maximizing your talents and platform.
Even beyond individual success, I think sports show some of the best parts of our society, bridging the gap to bring communities closer. Think about the Staples Center, where all the different communities around L.A. are tapped into one thing, and you can’t stop them from being together. That’s valuable in all kinds of business environments.
Q: Do you see M3Linked as being able to provide that kind of value to business communities nationwide?
I do, and it’s one of my biggest reasons for partnering with M3Linked. I think it’s important for business communities to find ways to break down barriers and bring more diverse backgrounds and experiences together. M3Linked provides that opportunity; it puts them in a group together working towards a common goal of professional development. When you have that, it’s exciting. It’s not always about numbers on the paper, but it’s the energy in the room.
Q: Ultimately, what do you hope to achieve with this partnership?
I believe in the idea of making this level of professional collaboration more accessible in more communities. That’s why I’m excited to share the message about what I’ve been able to experience in my community here in Los Angeles.
Ultimately, I think success is simply backing up what we say we do. As M3Linked grows in L.A. and around the country, I think more people will be able to benefit from the value they get from these forums and change their lives and their communities for the better.