Draymond Green has every reason to smile. Not only did the Golden State Warriors power forward sign a four-year, $100 million max extension with the team on August 3, but Green is also showing off his pearly whites—compliments of SmileDirectClub—as the at-home orthodontics service began trading publicly on September 12.
Green, who invested in the company approximately four years ago at a $150 million valuation, is set to make approximately 40 times his investment as SmileDirectClub (SDC) priced its IPO at $23 per share for a $9 billion valuation.
“In this instance, it was a product I loved and used firsthand, so when an opportunity came to invest, it was a no-brainer for me because I knew it would be successful because I had success using it,” Green said. “We’re all looking for that investment of 20x, 30x and it’s so rare to do. Up until that point in my life, Smile Direct Club was the biggest investment I ever made and really the first or second investment I made.
“For that to be so successful is like a dream come true.”
Green wore braces growing up and broke his retainer by the time he arrived at Michigan State University. His bottom teeth began shifting again, so he sought alternative solutions to avoid braces again. Daniel Sillman, CEO of Relevent Sports Group, told Green about SmileDirect’s at-home invisible liner business founded by Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman—both are expected to become billionaires now that SmileDirectClub has made its public debut.
Green was sent the equipment to take his own mold, but it was too small. After getting his teeth digitally scanned and fitted for his liners, Green began noticing his teeth shifting. Not only was he sold as a customer, but when an opportunity arose to invest, the three-time NBA champion and 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year jumped at the chance.
“Not everyday do you get a 40x; that’s not normal,” Green said. “To know that it’s performing that way is obviously a good feeling. I’ll get a little bragging rights with this one (among my teammates). It’s a very dear thing to me because I feel I’ve been a part of this pretty much from the beginning. To see it grow the way it has is special.”
Green is no stranger to investment. The 29-year-old understands the importance of a diversified portfolio, especially considering the average NBA career lasts 4.5 years with an average career earnings of $24.7 million.
Green is a Blink Fitness franchisee, opening his first location this June in Warren, Michigan. He plans to open in Evanston, Illinois, and Redford, Michigan, later this month, proudly creating jobs in the area he grew up while helping customers get healthier while improving their self confidence. In total, Green will bring at least 20 gyms to Michigan and Illinois.
The three-time NBA All-Star also invests in Mark Wahlberg’s supplement line Performance Inspired, boxing fitness boutique Rumble and the athlete-empowering media brand Uninterrupted, founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
“The number one goal in making money is to have your money make money for you,” Green said. “I’ve worked so hard to be in this position and to get to this point. It’s great when you can kind of sit back and have your money make money for you—that’s the American dream.”
That doesn’t mean Green is satisfied. He is constantly consulting venture capitalists and angel investors who are friends and mentors including Stephen Ross, Peter Gruber, Chamath Palihapitiya, Sillman and Carter.
Green, who also is a founding member of 100K Ventures, an accelerator group that invests in early-stage companies in Flint, Michigan, knows his basketball career won’t last forever. He is well aware that professional athletes make the majority of their career earnings at a younger age compared to non-sports professionals, so it’s important to be savvy and smart with his money now in order to secure a comfortable future.
“It’s extremely important to have things going on outside of basketball and diversify your portfolio,” he said. “This ball stops bouncing for all of us one day and if you have no diversity, what’s next? Good luck figuring that out.
“I’m 29 and my goal is to be a billionaire. I don’t have time to enjoy it yet. My goal now is what’s the next win and how do I figure that out? You’re just always figuring out what’s next and keeping eyes ahead while appreciating the wins you do get. I look at it like basketball: you win, you celebrate that win and it’s on to that next game.”