UAE, ABU DHABI - Sports
Founder, Artest Management Group and Former NBA Player
Ron Artest is a man of many names, but has a reputation for being one of the best defenders in NBA history. With various NBA honors and a Los Angeles Lakers championship under his belt, Artest played successfully for multiple NBA teams and went on to retire in 2017 after playing professional basketball for 18 years. Since leaving the NBA, former all-star Metta World Peace has jumped into the worlds of tech business and digital marketing. Partnering with Artest Management Group (AMG), he’s been able to combine his history of being a professional athlete with the world of tech, as his work now largely revolves around supporting up and coming athletes and big industry names with financial and career consultation. Additionally, in 2022 Metta World Peace announced his X vs X app, which serves to connect youth and communities with the infrastructure to play basketball and host tournaments. X vs X is currently up and running in the United States and the company plans on bringing its services to Abu Dhabi in 2023.
From my experience, it seems like Abu Dhabi wants to be active in sports and make a big imprint on it. Obviously, bringing the NBA is great because of its superb brand equity. What it is going to find out is how to complement the NBA with other opportunities. So, it is going to be interesting to observe what opportunities they perceive as sustainable. And that is another reason why I am here; it is the right time to get involved.
Sports make you feel better, burning calories makes you feel good, and that’s just from a health perspective. It’s great to give people an opportunity to dream. As children, they are trying to make it from one level to the next with all the tough effort that requires. Not everybody’s going to make it, but at least you can develop a physically healthy foundation for life. And a mentally healthy foundation helps you think better. Meanwhile, learning discipline will help a person get on with others later in life, which can bring so much value to them, the country and region. The NBA is in the perfect position to promote these values because they have so much capital at their disposal. They can launch programs quickly and invest in human capital. You might even start seeing professional players emerge from the region. The sports that dominate the region are cricket and soccer. And right now, it is all about introducing basketball with the example of existing talented players. The trick is to build up your local infrastructure by bringing in the knowledge, passion, and talent to develop a local base.
UAE, ABU DHABI - Telecoms & IT
Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI)
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