P.J. Washington wasn't expected to do much as the No. 12 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Charlotte Hornets, fresh off losing superstar Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics, were looking towards the future and hoping one of their young players would step up and give the organization a glimmer of hope for the future.
The hope did not come from free-agent acquisition Terry Rozier or 2018 lottery pick Miles Bridges. It came from Washington, as he averaged 12.2 points per game and looked exactly like the kind of long, stretch forward that all teams covet in today's NBA. And Washington is just getting started, both on and off the court.
The Hornets' season ended prematurely along with the seven other teams not invited to the NBA's Orlando bubble due to the coronavirus pandemic. Washington's business plans, however, halt for nothing. This offseason, he teamed up with SportBLX, a self-described "innovative investment platform that allows fans and investors anywhere in the world to own shares of unique assets in sports." In the case of SportBLX, that unique asset is P.J. Washington Inc. In short, fans can buy shares of Washington's company and benefit alongside him as his personal investment profile grows.
SportBLX co-founder Joe De Perio explained it all to The Big Lead. "SportBLX is a financial technology company, or block, and what we endeavor to do is to create a marketplace where both fans and investors can build portfolios in securities around their favorite athletes," De Perio said. "What we designed for P.J. is a transaction where he creates a new corporation, the P.J. Washington Corporation. Investors invest in that corporation and they get dividends over time related to PJ's contributions ... To be clear, this offering isn't related to P.J.'s performance on the court or his contracts. It is a fixed contribution, and investors will make that that return over time in future offerings that we'll have in baseball, basketball and other sports."
So, no, fans cannot invest in the P.J. Washington Corporation and cross their fingers for a big payday should Washington sign a big contract in the future. What they can do is, for a $100 minimum investment, buy stock and get preferred dividends equivalent to five percent on an annual basis, with some upside depending on Washington and SportBLX's off-the-court marketing and activities.
De Perio believes it's an exciting opportunity for Washington's supporters to invest alongside the Hornets player and grow a portfolio within the company. On Washington's end, he is excited for something few other 20-year-olds are excited about: investing early and often.
"I thought it was a great way for me to create wealth off the court at a very young age and also start investing a very young age, and also being able to interact with my fans," Washington told The Big Lead. "So I mean, I think it was three things that I really wanted to do, and it pretty much checked all three of those boxes."
The P.J. Washington Corporation represents SportBLX's first investment opportunity with a professional athlete. While the company has plans to expand with high-profile athletes across all sports, De Perio believed Washington's combination of pedigree and desire to invest made him a good match for SportBLX's inaugural offering.
"P.J. presents very well to his fans and to the media. And I think we share a lot of similar goals as far as as investing. So if you get to know P.J. you'll see that he saves his money. He's one of those rookies that bought a home in this first year. He wants to own a car dealership in his future and and and have that as a a wealth creation asset for him. So our interest really aligned as far as as his goals investing off the court," said De Perio. "We want the story in five years that not only is he is a supermax player in the NBA, but he's created a lot of wealth for himself off the court, and he's one of these business moguls as well."
De Perio, a former hedge fund manager, wants to offer potential investors a unique and enjoyable way to use their money wisely. For him, this is the first step in what he hopes is a long and fruitful journey for his company and the names he plans to have under its umbrella.
"I think our business is a billion dollar entity that not only lists players but also teams. And we hope to partner with other firms on music and music rights and artists, in addition to movies, whether it's movie financials or actors," De Perio said. "Our goals for each individual athlete is that they not only put themselves in the best possible footing to succeed as an athlete, but also that their off-the-court wealth and and longevity is preserved and protected. You know, I think what we're doing, I think really jives with the Players Association and the notion of of athletes protecting their wealth. And I think it's It's a good way for for us to promote financial literacy across athletes, but also young investors that invest in our securities."
Washington himself is excited about starting off his investment career early with his father, Paul, and believes SportBLX will definitely help him do just that.
"I'm excited about starting investment and just going from there. I mean, I feel like being with SportBLX is pushing me off and start me off in the right direction. So I feel for us, big things are coming in the future, and I'm really excited about it," Washington said.
To learn more about SportBLX and the P.J. Washington Corporation, check out their website here.