NEW YORK – Devin Booker and Kyler Murray have an obvious connection.
Arizona pro team franchise player.
Same back number. They led their respective teams to the playoffs.
They played college ball in the Southeastern Conference, but have another connection that knew them before they landed in the Valley and moved to the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Cardinals.
Avery Johnson Jr.
“I’ve known Avery for a long time,” Booker said. “We’ve been friends since middle school.”
Johnson Jr. met Murray in high school in Texas.
“That relationship has only grown since then,” Murray said.
Johnson Jr. isn’t just close friends with Booker and Murray.
Not only is he connected to these two on a personal and professional level, Johnson Jr. is a budding businessman who’s making it his own.
The son of former NBA player and coach Avery Johnson, he founded Elevate Global, a “full service and entertainment” company representing athletes, brands and entertainers.
“It’s just expanding into other lanes, other businesses, other athletes,” Johnson Jr. said. “We hire people into the company, take what we learned from Booker and Murray, and use that to leverage other clients and other players to operate on a global level.”
Johnson Jr., 27, is just getting started.
“If you look at his career from basketball to where he is now, he’s always been one step ahead of anyone his age,” Booker said. “He’s going to do big things. He already has. Always a listening person. He’s always on the road. He knows what’s going on.” ”
Why aren’t you in your room?
After finalizing the partnership and investment of Murray, Booker and Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, Johnson Jr. formed a company focused on “contract negotiation, marketing representation, brand representation, business development and IP creation.” did.
He also partnered with Los Angeles-based nightlife group H.wood, which has restaurants around the world from Dubai to Toronto, to prepare to open 40 Love restaurant/lounge in Scottsdale in “early 2023.” I’m here. across the United States.
“It’s just a cool project,” Johnson Jr. said. “A special place for A-list celebrities and performances.”
Scottsdale’s new nightspot is backed by ‘global athletes and entertainers’.
In the world of sports from an early age, Johnson Jr. has grown to become a Division I basketball prospect, joining the AAU circuit and NBPA Top 100 camps to showcase some of the country’s best talent.
Booker was there too.
“We played each other,” Johnson Jr. said.
They’ve been really tight since then. Avery Johnson remembers when his son and Booker were young.
“I remember when Devin Booker was in high school, he slept on the floor in Avery’s room and Avery slept on his bed,” Johnson said. “Wow, why aren’t they in the cabin? They just wanted to be together and train together.”
“From day one, they were like brothers.”
Johnson attended Booker’s high school jersey retirement ceremony in Moss Point, Mississippi last month, but it wasn’t the first time the two shared a special moment.
“When Devin walked across the stage for the draft, Avery Jr. was there when his name was called,” Johnson said when Phoenix picked Booker 13.th Entirely outside of Kentucky.
Johnson Jr. and Murray were connected during their high school years in Texas.
They played at the same high school in Texas. Murray was a prodigy at Allen High while Johnson was on the job at Plano West.
“Avery and Kyler were like brothers from day one,” Johnson said. “Even Kyler played in high school and I remember when he came over to spend time with us. I think there was a healthy amount of respect because I ended up playing for.”
Johnson Jr. and Murray started college at Texas A&M before transferring. Johnson Jr. went to Alabama to play for his father and Murray landed in Oklahoma to win the Heisman Trophy.
Johnson said, “I have tremendous respect for the Kyler and Murray family. They are very consistent with Avery Jr. and they trust him. is a member of, and it is not easy to enter.”
Murray acknowledged the elder Johnson when speaking about his close relationship with Johnson Jr.
“Be friends with my father and mother to help me,” Murray said.
“I’m not really surprised”
Johnson Jr. holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in sports business management from the University of Alabama. Not interested in playing or coaching abroad, Johnson Jr. began exploring the business side of athletics after receiving offers to join Baylor and other college staff.
“I wanted to go to the NBA like everyone else who played DI. wanted to stay in the sport,” he said.
Johnson Jr. even envisioned working in the front office of a franchise, but found a lane that matched his ambitious mindset, smarts and relationship-building skills.
“He understood the power of relationships and networks more than success and money, so I’m really proud of him.” I remember him playing sports in middle school, and he was always business-minded.”
Sale of sneakers. Negotiating a deal.
After his final season with the Crimson Tide in 2018-19, Johnson Jr. moved to Phoenix and began working with Booker as his day-to-day manager.
“It was a really natural transition,” Johnson Jr. said.
Johnson Jr. said the job has brought him in touch with several people and businesses.
Then, when the Cardinals drafted Murray at the top of the draft overall in 2019, Johnson began managing him and running the brand.
“After he moved there, I pitched him about the plan and the brand. He hired me, too,” Johnson Jr. said. “…It made sense for me to work with them once he got to Phoenix.”
Johnson Jr. has consulted for brands such as Booker-invested Overtime Elite, Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Hawks guard Trae Young.
Overtime Elite is based in Atlanta and promises six-figure deals if high school athletes skip college, reported The Sporting News. Billionaire Alexis Ohanian (Serena Williams’ husband) is also an investor, USA Today reports.
Johnson Jr. was instrumental in connecting Booker with Overtime Elite and Murray joining FaZe Clan, one of the world’s largest esports and gaming organizations.
Johnson said of the Murray Johnson Jr. bond, “That friendship continues into a trusted business relationship depends on how they feel about each other and how they demonstrate a healthy respect for each other’s skill sets.” It tells how you are paying.
Johnson is also endorsed by Verizon, Rocket Mortgage, Buffalo Wild Wings, Coir and Franklin Templeton.
“I have a lot of different contracts,” Johnson Jr. said. “I’m in the healthcare tech business. We’re in the hospitality space. We have investments. Marketing, branding. It’s not about bringing it into another deal, it’s just reaching out to other investments and investment groups.”
All of these experiences gave Johnson Jr. the blueprint and confidence to start his own company and expand his relationships with athletes.
“They know they have someone with a strong pedigree of being a professional athlete, with Avery Jr.,” Johnson said. He knows the pressure He knows the ups and downs He knows it all He knows how to help you market He knows how you train He knows the commitments.He knows the types of friends you need to hang out with and the types of friends you shouldn’t have in your inner circle.
Any thoughts on the current state of the Sun? Contact Suns Insider Duane Rankin at email@example.com or call 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter. @Duane Rankin.
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