Basketball great Tony Delk stopped by to tell us about lessons learned in the NBA and at UK. From choosing friends, vetting investments, importance of having a strong support system and family, and more best ever advice. Tune in to hear how he was able to get through his worst year ever, and coming out better on the other side. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Tony Delk Background:
-Former 10-year NBA veteran and University of Kentucky All-American
-Former college assistant coach, most recently for the New Mexico State Aggies men’s basketball team.
-ESPN/SEC Network College Basketball Analyst since 2014
-Team leader of the 1996 University of Kentucky Wildcats team that won 1996 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Game.
-After college, he played for seven NBA teams over ten seasons.
-President of the Taylor Delk Sickle Cell Foundation, which is named after his daughter, who has sickle-cell disease.
-Delk’s “00” Kentucky jersey was retired in Rupp Arena on Feb. 20, 2015.
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Joe Fairless: Best ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluffy stuff. We’ve spoken to lots of successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs, from Emmitt Smith (Hall of Fame football player) to Barbara Corcoran (Shark Tank) and a whole bunch of others, and I’m pleased to say we have a basketball stud in the house. How are you doing, Tony Delk?
Tony Delk: I am doing well, thanks for having me on, Joe.
Joe Fairless: My pleasure, nice to have you on the show. Obviously, best ever listeners, you know Tony Delk, but in case you’re not a basketball fan, here’s his bio, very briefly. He is a University of Kentucky grad, he was an All-American there; he is also a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He helped the team win a national title in 1996, and then he went on to have 10 successful years in the NBA. 3-4 years ago he joined the ESPN SEC Network as a basketball analyst. He also is the president of the Taylor Delk Sickle Cell Foundation, and he is involved in a lot of other entrepreneurial endeavors.
With that being said, Tony, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and some of the projects you’re working on right now?
Tony Delk: Most definitely. I’m from a small town, Brownsville, Tennessee, born in 1974. And to come out of that small town speaks volume for not only the town I come from, but for my foundation of having great parents that were married for over 50 years, brothers and sisters who brought me up and treated me as their own. They were 15-20 years older than I was, so I had a good foundation from brothers and sisters, mom and dad, and just the town embraced me as a kid. Brought up in that small town of Brownsville, Tennessee I learned a lot; having older parents that went through a lot, it allowed me to understand the importance of hard work.
Then leaving Brownsville, going to the University of Kentucky, playing there for coach Pitino was probably one of my definitely top two coaches that I played for. He taught me the game – the mental aspect, as well as the physical aspect, and he prepared me for life after basketball. So we not only went in looking at me being an 18-year-old kid, but what can I do once I finish playing basketball? We discussed that and talked about that at length, and when I became a senior, he set me up with a really good business manager who’s been my business manager since 1996. It’s just been a lot of good things that have happened over my span of not only playing basketball, but on this Earth.
Joe Fairless: Let’s talk about some of the things you’ve mentioned… You said that when you were at Kentucky, Rick Pitino the coach helped prepare you mentally and physically for life, not only during basketball, but then after basketball. What are some of the things that were either taught to you or that you experienced that helped prepare you?
Tony Delk: I think the most important thing that he taught me was not to let money define who you are as an individual, and to stay humble. That’s something that having older parents, but also parents that didn’t require a lot, it kept me humble. Once I was able to make a lot of money, it didn’t change who I was as an individual. I think there’s so many layers that players get away from once the money comes, and the fame and the traveling, being on TV… It really changes who the individual is, but I always say if you have a good foundation, you keep a good circle of friends around you – that’s something else that I learned from him early… His circle of friends became our circle of friends. That’s what I enjoyed most about him. He didn’t allow us to go out and meet new friends that were adults that could take us away from being who we were, or give us money, or give us a thing that we needed at that time, but he made us work for it. So everything was earned. He always made a statement that when something is given, it can be taken away, but when it’s earned, it’s yours. I’ve always taken that motto to wherever I’ve gone. Even when I speak to the kids, I always tell them – listen, the most important thing is hard work. You have to put so many hours in… And when you put those hours in, it’s earned, it’s not given to you. If I give you a starting position and you didn’t earn it, a player can come in and beat you out at that position, and then that teaches you about life. Life is about competition, and the earlier you know that, the better you’re gonna be as you transition out of whatever career you’re in. You’re really prepared for whatever challenges that will take place.
Joe Fairless: You mentioned the circle of friends, and clearly this is applicable to any entrepreneur or real estate investor, that’s why I say in us, too… So let’s talk about in your situation – how do you determine who your circle of friends that you wanna surround yourself will be?
Tony Delk: Well, I think for guys that make it to the NBA, NFL, major league baseball, hockey, whatever profession that you go into – it’s always hard to figure out “Which friends do I take with me as I go along this journey of life?” I like to look at guys and consider them to be assets. Liabilities are the ones that are constantly going out, they never get the check, they’re always mooching off you, they want free clothes, they want free gear, they never pay for gas… They like everything if it comes free to them. But I like that friend that I know is willing to get out and work, because at some point in time — let’s say I’m 18, I go to college, I finish, I’m 21-22, and now my life begins, so I don’t need to be taking care of other people that are not my kids.
The most important thing is my friends that I grew up with from maybe 5 years old up until now, they are still my friends to this day, and there’s three guys that I talk to probably once or twice a week, and nothing’s ever changed. We’ve gone on to become parents and gone on to different careers, but what we’ve always kept is a great friendship, and they never need anything from me. So I think the friends that you consider to be assets are the ones that never ask you anything, and when you do, you know they’re gonna give it back, or they really need it.
We always established that relationship that if any of us ever made it – and I was the fortunate one to make it – that my line, my phone, you can always reach me. Those guys know that no matter where I play basketball, if they come and see me, they bought their tickets, they’re coming to town… I said “Listen, get to the town, to whatever city I’m in, and I’ll take care of everything else. I just need you to at least make some commitment, to find something.” That’s what they’ve done, and like I said, they’ve been my critics, but also they’ve been guys that have been truthful. When you have a circle of friends, you need to have friends that hold you accountable.
Joe Fairless: I love that.
Tony Delk: You mentioned earlier Rick Pitino was number one or two on the coaches you said you learned the most from – I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, but I think that’s what you said. Who’s the other coach?
Joe Fairless: I really enjoyed Scott Scowls. When I left Sacramento I was in a great situation, playing with the Kings, playing with the likes of Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Chris Webber… We had a really good team, and I enjoyed just playing with those guys, it was a family. It took me back to Kentucky, just how we played together. And what made coach Pitino so special – because I spent four years with him, so he got to know me in and out; the other coach was Scott Scowls. I only got about a year and a half with Scott Scowls, but he believed in the hard work. He was a role player like myself, but he allowed me and gave me an opportunity to go out there and play the game that I was capable of playing, and probably should have been playing if I was with the right coach. He allowed me to be a role player and wanted me to be a scorer, to play with freedom, to play hard on defense… So of all my coaches outside of coach Pitino — and I played for a lot of really good coaches, but Scott Scowles — when I left with this situation in Sacramento, it was gonna have to be a better situation for a coach that understood my game and allowed me to play my game.
Joe Fairless: Let’s talk about your game. What would you say as a basketball player would be the best part of your basketball game? There’s gonna be a couple of follow-up questions, so I’m not just curious, I have a purpose for this.
Tony Delk: I think the gift that I had early, even going back to middle school, was that I could always score the ball. That was a knack, and that was something that I loved to do. I did it well throughout my career. NBA was different because I was traded a lot and I really didn’t get the chance to showcase everything I could do offensively, but also you’re going in a situation where there are franchise players, and those players are paid a lot more money than I was getting paid. The system – they sell the seats, sell tickets, the fans come and watch… And I understood that. I understood my role. I wasn’t a guy that knew when I came in, “Oh, you know what? I wanna be the star player.” If it happened, it presented itself, I would have been more than willing to take on that challenge, but everybody position I was put in, I considered myself a role player. But when I was sent out there to be a starter, I could tread on both ends of the court, and that’s something that coach Pitino really brought me — it was the defensive side of basketball. He knew I was a prolific scorer in high school, but he always told me, “Listen, if you’re gonna have a career, you’ve gotta be able to play both sides of the ball.” He allowed me to play offense, but he really pressured me to play defense.
Joe Fairless: And that leads into my follow-up question… Knowing that — you said since middle school you’ve always been a scorer… Would you be best in the NBA if you focus more on your scoring, or more on the areas like defense (or whatever) that you’re not as naturally good at?
Tony Delk: When I got drafted by Charlotte Hornets, it was more to be a point guard… So that part of my game had not developed the way I needed it to. It came in the latter part of my career that I became a better distributor, someone that could play off the pick and rolls, someone who could play with the ball in my hand, make it play and being a facilitator to my teammates. But I think early on, even going through high school, I always played with the ball in my hand, so that was a transition that was hard even going to Kentucky my first year, playing with Jamal Mashburn, where everything went through him. As a freshman, I didn’t play much, so the first thing I was thinking about was “Hey, you know what? I need the ball in my hand to be successful. If I’m not touching the ball, Jamal Mashburn is getting all the touches, Travis Ford is getting all the touches… Here I am as a freshman and I’m watching my peers play, I’m like “Wow, my game can’t be that far off.” But also going back to coach Pitino, he taught me how to play without the ball. So he taught me how to play coming in as a scorer, but he also taught me how to play without the ball in my hand, to be effective using screens, being able to come off the pick and roll, stagger screens.
Then once I got to the NBA, my first season with Charlotte Hornets, they wanted me to be the point guard again, and once again, I went for a four-year stretch of being a shooting guard on the court, and now I have to get the ball to Vlade Divac, Glen Rice, Dell Curry, Anthony Mason, and I just wasn’t as comfortable as I was the latter part of my career. So that was me figuring out how to play that position. But when I left Sacramento to go play with Phoenix, I got a chance to watch Jason Kidd, who I thought was the best point guard I ever played with.
Joe Fairless: So now that you’re retired from the NBA and you’re an entrepreneur/businessman, where do you put your focus in terms of — there’s a lot of skillsets that are required to be an entrepreneur and to be successful in business… So do you take the approach of focusing on what you’re naturally good at, and then not focusing as much on the weaknesses, or do you want to try and work on all the things and you don’t go all in on your special skillset?
Tony Delk: Well, I think you work on all the aspects of becoming a good businessman. I think the most important thing was one of my partners — I’m the CEO of a company called [unintelligible [00:14:13].02] was named after my partner’s grandparents. He started a company in 1995. What he started doing was fabricating, and when he brought myself and a really good friend, he wanted us to come in and learn the business from his side, and kind of see how we worked. He said “The best advice I can give you – you need to know how the business runs.” That’s what I’ve been focused on with my business venture with Lawrence [unintelligible [00:14:37].08] What we’re doing is we’re a minority company, and we’re supplying material to different projects [unintelligible [00:14:45].00] So I’m learning what he knows and just getting the knowledge from him. He’s been a good mentor, a good business partner because he’s bringing me along slowly, and he always said “It’s better to get a bunch of singles, doubles and triples, and not always try to bet for the homerun.”
It’s a process that we’ve been going through, but it’s been fun just to learn how corporate America works, and him being a successful businessman for over 20 years, he’s someone I can pick up the phone at any point in time and call. He’s an honest person, and I know he’s been successful in his business. When you become an entrepreneur, you wanna make sure – like I said earlier – that you surround yourself with good people. You’re not gonna know everything about the business. That’s one of the reasons why if you look at the ownership team, you have a president GM, assistant GM – those positions that guys are in… And you have to know your role.
When he put me as the CEO, he’s like “Tony, I don’t need you to get deep in the weeds. Make sure before that happens we have a discussion, as well as a discussion with all the partners in this business venture.”
Joe Fairless: When you talk about the different lessons that you’ve learned so far, in both business and then also NBA and in college, it makes me wonder, while you were in the NBA, I suspect you were preparing for life after the NBA… And I’m asking this question for all the Best Ever listeners who have a full-time job right now and they want to either transition out of it or they’re looking for retirement… How did you prepare for life after your occupation in the NBA?
Tony Delk: It’s always difficult, and I can go back to when I first signed with my financial guy, Rick [unintelligible [00:16:31].22]. He had this 15 or 20-year plan with my money. I’m thinking to myself, “I’m 21, 22… I’m gonna play basketball forever. How can I not play this game for the nxt 20-30 year?” So at that age you’re not really thinking about 35, 40, 45, 50, because you’re so young and you have a different mentality. Going back to my parents, we grew up poor; we didn’t have money, so my parents really couldn’t prepare me for being in the position to have a lot of money, or to be in the middle class to see how the workforce work, how corporate America works, how investment works… So all of that was learned on the fly for me.
Rick [unintelligible [00:17:09].11] who was a really good mentor, friend, financial guy – he was teaching me along the way about investing in something that’s gonna last 15-20 years… And not only that, but when you get done playing basketball. Because this is gonna end for everyone. That’s the million-dollar question – no matter how good you are, from Michael Jordan to LeBron at some point in time, Kevin Durant… It is for all of us. What’s the next transition that you can get into that’s important for you, but also gives you time to enjoy life? Because you’ve probably made a lot of money, you have devoted all the time to this particular sport because you really loved it… To get really good at something you really have to devote a lot of time, sacrifice time where you might wanna go out and hang out with the boys, the fellas, take trips, but you’re working on your craft. When it gets to the end — not even to the end… I knew at about 28 that in about five years I will be finished playing basketball, because my body was taking a beating.
Also I knew, “You know what? I gave 15-20-25 years to this sport from starting at five years old, and I’m getting tired of it, so I want to transition into something else.”
Joe Fairless: As far as your time goes for the amount of hours you work now, is it more or less than when you were in the NBA?
Tony Delk: Oh, a lot less. You have to work smart. You don’t keep working those same hours.
Joe Fairless: How many did you work in NBA?
Tony Delk: NBA? Man, I would say during the week and counting games probably about 30-40… Because I was a player and I loved being in the gym, so when the summertime season was done [unintelligible [00:18:39].26] we’d go into the playoff, and all of a sudden when I take a week off, I’m back playing basketball. I guess it was the love of the game, and if I could have maybe done it all over again, I would have rested my body. I would have maybe taken up golf as a hobby… I would have done something else to reserve these legs, because — even though I can go out and play now, the next day is when it’s the most painful.
When you’re getting towards the end of your career, and as I went out and watched some of the guys in the summer league, some of the guys who were better, what I saw from those guys is more maintenance; shooting, ball handling – just the fine points of the game, and not the physical contact. But I needed the physical contact to solidify me just being on the court, just being involved with the game. It was easy to go through drills and shoot and make shots, but I wanted to have a contact, and that’s why when we finished and it gets towards the end, you miss competitiveness, but also you miss the contact of playing and going against guys.
Joe Fairless: Based on your experience as achieving at a high level in your profession, as well as an entrepreneur and businessman, what is your best advice ever for real estate investors?
Tony Delk: I would say when you’re investing make sure you can drive to your investment. That’s something that I was taught early – you can become a millionaire just in your state, your city alone; you have to find the right land, you have to do your research. Once you do your research, you get with a realtor and you have a vision, and that vision doesn’t have to be 10-15 years, but even when I was taught early with my investments, the first thing someone told me was “When you make an investment, make sure you can drive to see how it’s operating on a day-to-day…” Because you can put your money into something, and before you know it, you will be involved with another project. But to see a project grow from start to finish, and particularly someday sell that project… That’s the goal of myself now as I get involved into different investments – I want equity in the company, just in case that company sells for, let’s say 150-200 million, I wanna have a percentage of it, so I can say “Hey, you know what? I benefitted from putting my own money in, but it’s also an investment for my family, my kids, maybe my grandkids. I have to look further than just where I’m at right now; I wanna think about “How can I create generational wealth for my family, being in the position that I’m in?” and it all starts with the opportunity and knowing the right people, and timing.
Joe Fairless: Last question on this front, then I wanna ask you about any challenging times you’ve come across… But on the right people part, you mentioned the assets and liabilities, which as real estate investors resonate with us very well (we totally get that) – is there anything else other than that that helps you screen team members out? Because I suspect now it’s an evolution of how you select which opportunities. I think people are going to attempt to show you that they will be an asset and they won’t mooch off of you… Whether or not that’s true or not, who knows…? But how do you screen that out now that you’re at a different level?
Tony Delk: Well, the level is the age factor. A loss at 20 is totally different than a loss at 40. A loss at 20 – I have time to recover, but at 40, you basically have accumulated everything leading up to this point; all of your money and all your investments – you have built that over time, so to go on and invest with someone, with your life’s savings and you’re 43, see something that’s gonna be profitable somewhere down the road and say “Hey, I’m excited about this adventure, this project. I’m gonna put all my money in” – you wanna think about it, because it’s not only about your right now, it’s about your family, it’s about your kids; it’s about maybe their kids. It’s like putting your family in a bad situation because you’re excited about an investment. So once again, it’s to research — it’s talking to the people, seeing “Have they gone bankrupt? What have they done? Have they been successful over time? Where are they at to this day?”
When you’re 20… I was excited about anything. Friends came with different ideas – a car wash, restaurants… All these great ideas, but guess what? No one came (the elephant in the room) with the money. I was the money man. So you would take an investment at 20 because you really don’t know a whole lot about it. You know it sells good, helping a friend out, “Let me do this. If I make money, great. If I don’t, not a big deal. Maybe I won’t have to deal with their friend anymore because he owes me debt now.” But as I’ve gotten older, I take my time. It’s a phone call, researching, talking to people… It’s more about understanding — you have an opportunity… There’s always gonna be opportunities out there, but which opportunity is the best for you at that time? And I always say, do something that you like and you love. If you love it, that means you’re gonna be all in; you’re gonna wanna see that project grow. That’s kind of how I wanna see my projects now. If I’m gonna be involved with it, I wanna be there to the day-to-day, but also I wanna talk to the people who’s running the company. And as I said earlier, I wanna be able to drive to the project and just maybe pop up on some people and not let them know I’m coming.
Joe Fairless: I’m gonna ask you the opposite question here in a little bit, but what’s the most ridiculous investment that you’ve made? You mentioned a car wash, where people don’t have the money and you fund it… What’s an investment gone wrong for you?
Tony Delk: The first investment that went wrong was me giving my brother — I think I gave my brother maybe 15k-20k [unintelligible [00:23:58].25] I was like, “You know what? He’s probably got a good idea. I wanna see my brother making money.” So I gave it to him. I made him sign a loan… It was like, “Hey, this is what I’m gonna pay you back…”, which I pretty much knew I wasn’t getting my money back. But he had this great idea about the car alarm. It’s like, “Hey, you know what? This car alarm – if people walk by and touch your car, this alarm is gonna go off.” It was a system that he came up with in 1996, and I’m thinking to myself “They’re already out. I know people have that already.” [laughter] But you know what? I didn’t wanna kill my brother’s dream. “Here’s the money.”
Long story short, three months down the road, I knew I wouldn’t get my money back. He never said anything about those alarms again, so I knew it was a failed investment by him… But it was basically me giving him some money for kind of being a mentor, a brother, and helping me out along the way.
Joe Fairless: Absolutely. And what a relatively speaking inexpensive lesson, if you learned it there and not on something much larger later down the road.
Tony Delk: Exactly.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, so you should actually thank him and maybe give him 15k more just because he saved you money in the long run.
Tony Delk: Well, you know what? To be honest with you he really did, because after that I knew that I wasn’t gonna invest with family and friends anymore. So you’re right, instead of him — like you said, it was a valuable lesson learned, but also I think when you have family and friends and you see them struggling to come up with good ideas, the good in me, I wanna help people. Because even if it turns out bad, I’m still gonna have a smile saying, “You know what? My higher power… I wasn’t in control of what it did and who I gave it to, but he was happy with me giving it freely.”
Joe Fairless: Absolutely. That’s a great story, thank you for that. Okay, so what’s a challenging time you’ve come across? Because everything’s not always rosy, right?
Tony Delk: No, it’s not. I think I would have to go back ten years when I was at the end of my career. As a matter of fact, I was playing overseas in Greece, and that was my last professional year. I’ll never forget getting a phone call from my niece; she called me and she told me my mom had gotten really sick. At that time I didn’t know to what degree she was sick; she said “You know what? You have to come home now.” So I’m leaving Greece, I had to fly back to New York, drive from New York to Memphis, drive from Memphis to a hospital that’s about an hour and a half from Memphis, and just really coming to my mother’s deathbed. I’ll never forget walking in and just seeing her waiting on me, because I was the last of her eight kids… She basically stayed around and she was like “Listen, I have to wait to see my baby.” It was probably the most trying time in my life, just to come in and be at my mother’s deathbed… But just to notice she was holding on, just waiting for me to get there, just letting me know of the sacrifice, the love and the commitment… When you have a strong mother like that, and to see her in that position — I would tell anyone, until you’ve lost a parent, you don’t know of the devastation of losing a mom, and just the connection that we had…
I would talk to my mom pretty much every day. As I got older, I became closer to her because I knew he was aging. When you become an adult, there are some things, you wanna pop off your parents, or call them and get some advice on… She never told me anything wrong. I loved that woman from the day I was born until the day she passed. That was tough.
Also, I was going through divorce at the time, I didn’t know if I was gonna finish basketball, my third child was born… So 2007 was a trying time for me, but God was with me throughout that whole ordeal. It started with my mom just giving me that foundation of believing in a higher power and just believing that God is gonna get you through anything.
Joe Fairless: Is faith the main thing that helped you and continues to help you through any trying times?
Tony Delk: It’s not even close how much I believe in God and just the importance of having a higher power that you can look up to that you can pray to at night, that you can talk to when you need someone to speak to. That started with my mom. I can remember coming home from college; on Saturday nights you might go out and have fun, but Sunday morning you’ve gotta get up and go to church. There’s no “Oh, you wanna sleep in until 11.” You came in the house whatever time Saturday or early Sunday morning, but whenever it was time to go to church, mom came and knocked on the door, woke me up, “I need you to go to church.”
I think having the foundation early in life and keeping me humble… But it started with just how much she believed in God and her commitment to the church we went to. She would go every Sunday, and she was a strong believer. As I look back, when I was growing up, I didn’t think about it at the time, because you’re so young and all you’re thinking about “Wow, I have to go to church…” You’re only giving two hours to God on that Sunday, so you have to think about how much more time that’s needed to be committed or to be loyal to someone who is gonna watch out for you and take care of you whenever you need it.
Joe Fairless: Thank you for sharing that. Alright, we’re gonna do a lightning round. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round? First, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.
Break: [00:29:02].26] to [00:30:03].06]
Joe Fairless: Alright, Tony, I have got some questions from Best Ever listeners who have some questions for you. You don’t have to be like rapid fire answers… So here we go.
I believe you went with seven NBA teams in ten years. One pro and one con for being with seven NBA teams in ten years.
Tony Delk: You get a chance to visit a lot of different cities, and when you move it doesn’t cost you anything to move. For me, just being in all the different parts of the country for free.
Joe Fairless: Okay. A con?
Tony Delk: New team mates, new systems, new players, you have to get acclimated with the city… As I moved, I was thinking about “Where am I going next?” After one year, “What’s the next destination? What city will I be in? What team will I play for?” But I’ll tell you the good thing about it [unintelligible [00:30:47].27] are still with these teams, so whenever I pick up the phone I can call and I can get free gear.
Joe Fairless: [laughs] Speaking of cities, what’s the best ever NBA city to visit and why?
Tony Delk: That’s a tough one, but I’ve gotta put Miami. You’ve gotta love Miami. The scenery, the weather… Just being able to get out on the beach if you need to, the nightlife is glorious… I love warm weather.
My second favorite city would have to be Phoenix. I love Phoenix. Phoenix is a place that when I left Sacramento, it was going to a place where I always wanted to live; I love the desert, I like the atmosphere, and [unintelligible [00:31:29].23] now you get to see the cactus, the dessert, stucco homes… I enjoy being in Phoenix. The city that most players love to go to – Miami.
Joe Fairless: You might remotely strangle me when I ask you this question – best ever SEC to root for not named Kentucky?
Tony Delk: You know what? That’s tough, and I’m gonna tell you, the reason why I will say at that time Florida Gators would be Billy Donovan. Billy Donovan was the guy that started to recruit me as a sophomore out of Haywood High School in Brownsville, Tennessee. So if it wasn’t for Billy Donovan, I never would have gone to Kentucky, so I have to say Florida Gators. He was the one that got me [unintelligible [00:32:11].04] Kentucky. He was a brother to me when I wasn’t playing, and he was also a mentor, a friend, and someone who I knew was gonna be a great coach, because of his work ethic and his love for the game of basketball. So it would have to be the Florida Gators.
Joe Fairless: Best ever SEC town to visit?
Tony Delk: I would have to say — I like Nashville. I think Nashville even to this day, with [unintelligible [00:32:34].23] has always been a city that’s grown over years, they have great restaurants, and plus it’s my home state… So I have to go with my home state. I will say Nashville.
Joe Fairless: Most challenging part of being a basketball analyst?
Tony Delk: You know what? Not being so biased when it comes to Kentucky. Because you wanna see your alma mater do well, but also you have to speak the truth when the truth needs to be spoken. Big Blue Nation don’t always accept the truth when it comes to Kentucky. I think that’s the hardest thing for me, just trying to — the balance between being an analyst and also being a Kentucky fan. That’s [unintelligible [00:33:19].00] when I’m in studio.
Joe Fairless: Best ever investment you’ve made so far?
Tony Delk: Best investment I’ve ever made… I think probably John’s Pizza has done well for me for about 15 years now, and counting. At the time, I really wasn’t a big Papa John’s fan. Once again, as I say, you might not like the pizza, you just have to know how the business runs, and if it makes you money, just let it make money the way it’s doing, and whether you eat the pizza or not, who cares?
But that was a great investment that I made early in my career, and I’m still benefitting off of that to this date.
Joe Fairless: What’s the best ever project you’re working on right now?
Tony Delk: I actually have two projects I’m working on. One with my girlfriend Nicole [unintelligible [00:34:00].08] we haven’t totally committed yet in this wine industry; I’m doing my research, but I’m very interested in the potential that it has with my name behind it, but also just being to brand it… I’m right in the South-East, so I’m excited about that opportunity that’s ahead of me. The IMAC Regeneration Center that we’ll probably be opening sometime next year in Lexington, Kentucky, with my name behind it – another project that I’m extremely excited about, as it helps out the middle class, the older generation with stem cells, Platelet Plasma, chiropractic [unintelligible [00:34:35].20] There’s so many different things that’s under one roof with the IMAC Regeneration Center that we’re really excited.
I got a chance just last week to go to the Ozzie Smith IMAC Regeneration Center in St. Louis, and then the David Price Regeneration Center in Nashville. So just seeing how those two projects are working, from the employees to the owner, the founder Matt Wallis… Just having a great conversation over the last week with good people, meeting their families… That’s what you have to do when you get yourself involved with projects – get to know the people, family, friends. You need to talk to those people, because I wanna be connected not only because of the money, but I like to know that it’s family-oriented and it’s something that’s gonna benefit all the people involved. If you don’t take care of your employees, they don’t take care of your clients.
Joe Fairless: Great business advice, that’s for sure. Tony, how can the Best Ever listeners either learn more about what you’ve got going on, or follow what you’re doing? Where can we send them?
Tony Delk: Twitter, @tldelk00. That’s where you’re gonna find me at, I’m on Twitter. I do tweet back occasionally. I love to retweet… [laughter] If I see a good quote, I’m definitely gonna retweet it. I think if this goes along, I’m planning on doing a lot more tweeting and maybe shooting some videos in these training camps, being a mentor… I wanna have some footage and give my Twitter followers some content and what I’m doing, and let them know that I’m still relevant, I still love the game of basketball, I love teaching it… I’m trying to be the best entrepreneur that I can possibly be for the year 2017 going into the future.
Joe Fairless: Well, lots of life lessons that you shared with us, thank you. I’m very grateful, and I know the Best Ever listeners are really grateful for you spending some time with us.
Tony Delk: Thanks man, and maybe we can do this again down the road.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, I love it. A couple things that really stood out to me… One is just the foundation that you come from – you mentioned your parents were married for over 50 years, and how you’ve gone through – like most people – challenging times. You shared a couple, I’m sure there are many others that we didn’t have time to share… But having the foundation, and then how as your career has evolved and you made more money, how you had to identify the right people to bring with you… And I love the assets and liabilities – it’s so straightforward… Just assets and liabilities – are they adding value to the relationship in their relationship with you?
Tony Delk: Dating, too. Don’t forget that [unintelligible [00:37:02].00] whenever you’re dating, trying to find that wife-to-be – is that asset or liability?
Joe Fairless: That’s true. There’s a pun there, but I’ll leave that alone. And then with the best advice that you’ve got in terms of running businesses – know how the business runs… You don’t need to know all aspects of it, but know how the business runs, and I love the philosophy of “If something is given to you, it can be taken away. If it’s earned, it’s yours.” Thanks for being on the show. I have you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Tony Delk: I appreciate it.
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