Voyage
June - July 2012
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Net Value

by Steve Murray

Adult basketball camps fulfill competitive cravings.

EVIDENTLY THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN UNCOVERING investments with positive net present value value of growth opportunities. Because of this, CEOs, corporate managers and entrepreneurs are flocking to adult basketball camps to satisfy their competitive needs while fulfilling a lifetime desire to be a Blue Devil, Orange or Jay Hawk.

Adult summer basketball camps are a growth industry with some of the top NBA players and college coaches getting involved. ProCamps Worldwide runs 60 youth and adult camps around the country including those by Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari and Kansas coach Bill Self. Matt Chacksfield, account executive for sales for ProCamps Worldwide, says successful businessmen are attracted to the camps because the athletic competition matches their own natural drive to succeed.

“These are guys are successful, they’re competitive, they value hard work and competition and they just love doing this. They are basketball guys,” says Chacksfield.

The three-day camps cost on average between $5,000 and $10,000 and target men age 35 and over. Attendance is limited to 35 or 40 to ensure exclusivity and to make sure campers enjoy an opportunity very few get to experience-including dinner at Bill Self’s home and his favorite restaurant, the Salty Iguana.

“The guys are treated just like one of the players,” says Bristol, camp director for the Jim Boeheim Syracuse University Basketball Fantasy Camp for Adults. “You gear just like the players, you get a locker just like the players, you go through all the X’s and O’s and you got Syracuse legends that come back that are coaching you … talk about an amazing experience.”

Camp goers are usually guaranteed at least five games to go along with practices, film sessions, skills contests and the chance to play against former college stars at places like Phog Allen Field House, the Carrier Dome and Cameron Indoor Stadium. Talk about bragging rights.

“You can go back to work on Monday and tell everyone, I just beat Billy Owens one-and-one,” laughs Bristol.

Of course, all that running and jumping can leave a business executive tired, so the entire training staff is there to help relieve muscle pain and remove the knots that come from playing games that can be intense.

“Most of these guys who go to the camp are all successful and their personalities are pretty similar. They’re all pretty aggressive people who have done well in business, and when they play the game, they play with a lot of passion,” says Bristol.

As most of the campers are active business professionals, camps invariably turn into networking sites. The Bill Self camp has embraced this fact to the point where every player gets a Flippen 360 Profile personal and performance assessment.

“These are high net-worth guys. To be able to come out and network is a huge deal,” says Chacksfield. “They’ve gotten to where they are because they are 24-7 guys and they are always looking to expand their network. Bill Self has gotten to be the CEO of Kansas basketball just as the campers are CEO’s. They are in similar positions and have a lot to relate to on that aspect.”

While the camps help some of the country’s best corporate managers and entrepreneurs improve their game, the greatest impact is on the non-profits that benefit from the revenue generated by the camps.

Campers at the Syracuse camp are making a direct donation to the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, which raises money for children’s charities such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Ronald McDonald House and others. Those paying to be taught the finer points of the pick-and-roll-from, say, the legendary Bill Self-are helping the Bill and Cindy Self Assist Foundation fund children’s charities while providing scholarships to Kansas’ brightest young students. That you can do this while dressed in Duke blue, playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium as the announcer introduces you and your name flashes in bright lights up on the scoreboard is truly special, indeed.

College coaches aren’t the only ones spending their summers with former high school basketball stars. NBA players, both current and former, have begun their own three-day getaways, and their success has spurred even more growth.

One of the oldest such camps is the Rick Barry Fantasy Basketball Camp. The Hall of Fame forward has been instructing adults in the finer points of the game (yes, including his legendary underhanded free throws) for eight years. Those who come, and the many who return, do so because of his knowledge of the game and his outspoken commentary.

“The stories, the fun, the hanging out, the jokes, that’s what its all about,” says Aaron Locks, founder and CEO of National Academy of Athletics, which works with Barry to run the camp. “The basketball is important because they get to play a lot, but it’s really the whole experience of going to dinner, watching Rick teach the underhand free throw. And the cool thing about Rick-he’s not afraid to tell you how he feels about something. If you ask him a question he’ll give you an honest answer.”

It’s not uncommon for guests to make the Santa Rosa camp an annual tradition, as did five former New York high school players.

“We had these five guys who played high school basketball in the Bronx who were fans of Rick’s when he played for the Nets. They came out and had a reunion for three years in a row. They even flew in their coach, who lives in Florida, to participate in the camp,” shares Locks.

While the college camps allow participants to live the life of a college basketball player, the Barry camp brings back the NBA of the 1970s when flair was the norm, outsized personalities ruled the game and short shorts were the style of the time. Have no fear. While Barry’s old style of free throws still allows him to hit the shot at a 90 percent clip, the shorts have been retired.

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