G35: Michael Redd

Conquering the Impossible: From the Street to the NBA and Beyond | with Michael Redd

Michael Redd has been building, developing, and investing in tech-focused startups through his firm 22 Ventures since he retired from the NBA in 2013. After 12 seasons as a professional basketball player, both in the NBA and the Olympic US team in 2008, Michael has continued a strong drive towards excellence in his focus on venture off the court.

Michael grew up as a preacher’s kid in Columbus, Ohio, on the Hilltop, a difficult neighborhood to grow up in. His parents did their best to keep them out of trouble and keep him focused. He was sheltered, but that ended up being for the best because he was able to beat the odds when the statistics were against him. His father worked hard to “break the mold.” So many Black families had been disconnected, and they worked hard to keep their family together.

He got into basketball at a very young age. “The ball was in my crib,” as Michael put it. His dad was an athlete, and while he didn’t force anything on Michael, the gravity of trophies and posters was hard to resist. He played all day, every day, and developed a natural affinity. His vision of what he wanted and his relentless determination drove him forward. Conquering the impossible became the hallmark of his life.

Michael ended up at Ohio State, where they were having a challenge with their basketball program. The idea of being able to be a part of reviving that program was magnetic to him. As an added bonus, his parents were able to attend his games. He saw great success, helping to turn one of the worst teams into one of the best — but he felt like he had to move on to reach further levels. He was drafted at Milwaukee, where a great player, Ray Allen, took him in, mentored him, and helped shape his career.

After 12 seasons, Michael was done being on the road and living that life. He was ready for the next phase, and his family priority overrode any desire to keep playing. It was time to move on. His core mission has always been to help people, and he did that with basketball, but now he wanted to enter the world of technology.

Today, Michael and his wife Achea are passionate about investing in sports and mental health technology, removing the stigma around mental health and contributing to the end of one of the greatest health crises our world currently faces. Whatever he puts his energy into, Michael is constantly focused on achieving the impossible and creating value in the world.

What Brett asks:

  • [03:45] What was it like to grow up in the Hilltop as a preacher’s kid?
  • [08:09] How young were you when you started getting into athletics?
  • [12:09] What role did your mom play in your life?
  • [25:04] Can you tell me about the Ohio State journey?
  • [31:15] What was the transition like from Ohio State to Milwaukee?
  • [36:02] What helped you get through the fame and success of the NBA?
  • [42:35] What was it like deciding to step out of the NBA?
  • [46:43] What was it like getting into a completely new career?
  • [50:26] What are you excited about in the mental health and technology space?

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Understand when it’s time to move on in order for you to move ahead. In Michael’s story, he left Ohio State when he felt he had gained all he could there. And after several years in the NBA, his dream career, he eventually felt it was time to move on from that to strive for something greater. Even when you are happy with your current situation, always keep in mind the opportunities that lay ahead.