Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Carmelo: I want to be 'The' digital athlete

Carmelo Anthony attends his '30 for 30' birthday dinner at The NoMad Hotel on June 2, 2014 in New York City.
Johnny Nunez | Getty Images

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony sees himself as the most important athlete in tech.

"I want to brand myself as 'The' digital athlete," Anthony said Thursday at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York. "I really want to be the pioneer ... when it comes to tech, I want to be the guy, I want to be the face of that space."

Anthony said he looked up to Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and David Beckham for their business prowess and leveraging their brands after sports. But he said that no other athlete had taken on the digital mantle.

"There's not that many athletes doing what I'm doing right now," Anthony said.

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Anthony recently launched a digitally focused seed investment firm, Melo7 Tech Partners, with former NBC executive Stuart Goldfarb. The early stage investor has put money with children's media player Hullabalu, storage company MakeSpace, digital kitchenware business The Orange Chef and, most recently, online ticket vendor SeatGeek.

[See Carmelo Anthony on "Closing Bell," at 4 p.m. on Sept. 10.]

Anthony noted that part of the reason he signed a five-year contract with the Knicks this summer was because of the businesses interests he had already established in New York.

He said he would eventually consider taking outside money for Melo7 Tech but didn't need extra capital for now. Still, Anthony noted he looked up to some of the most important digital investors in the world.

Anthony said his mentors are Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, founders of venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz. He has a good working relationship with them, Anthony said, adding that they sometimes help him vet investment opportunities. "That's my vision for it," Anthony said, apparently referring to the firm they built.

VC sentiment in Silicon Valley
VC sentiment in Silicon Valley

While Anthony said he is actively involved in tech investing, he also noted that basketball remains his focus and that he's glad to have a partner, Goldfarb, with much more experience.

"I'm still in the learning process," Anthony said of getting the experience to evaluate deals and grow businesses.

He also said he is interested in nontech investments, including owning a sports team after he retires and more immediately looking at real estate in Puerto Rico. But his focus is on tech.

"I walk into the office and there are tons and tons of tech investments and opportunities," Anthony said, speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York.

"I'm trying to take my brand to the next level," he added. "The tech space is always something I've been in love with."

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