Antonio Brown will go down in history as one of the NFL’s greatest wide receivers of all time. While his playing career came to an abrupt and controversial end, during his appearance on “Assets Over Liabilities” today (Nov. 30), the charismatic football star proved his post-NFL career can be just as legendary, too.
While in conversation with hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings, it became quickly evident that Brown aka “AB” is big on making sure his narrative is portrayed correctly. During his career, starting with his rookie season in 2010, Brown was a superstar, earning multiple First-Team All-Pro Selections, a spot on the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team, and a Super Bowl title in 2021. But rather than a celebrated retirement, his career came to a close near the end of the following season when he took off his uniform and trotted off the field during a game.
Instead of plotting his next moves behind the scenes, Brown has since remained very much in the spotlight off the field whether it be as a rapper — including charting singles and a famed Rolling Loud performance — or his new gig as president of Donda Sports, the agency founded by his buddy Ye, fka Kanye West. As far as Donda, Brown relayed to Bilal and Millings his plans to find “the next future superhero, helping them fulfill his mission, goal, or whatever he strives to be. Just providing kids the opportunity to live their dreams and control their narrative… provide them the best opportunity.”
AB continued, “We’re looking for young inspired talent that’s ready to live out their dreams. We all as players have dreams of what you want to become and aspirations. It’s all about being inspired. Are you willing to be your best self and want to control your narrative? Donda Sports.”
That type of pitch must have worked for NBA star Jaylen Brown and the NFL’s Aaron Donald, who both signed on to have Donda Sports represent their marketing and branding interests outside of their athletic contracts. But, soon after Ye’s recent and infamous string of antisemitic comments, which occurred before Brown’s interview with “Assets Over Liabilities,” they cut ties with the agency. Such chaos doesn’t seem to frazzle the executive, though. It shouldn’t be too surprising that a guy who dropped a rap song, “Pit Not The Palace,” the same night he ran out on the NFL is about his business.
“You can impact the game as far as how you play the game, but the game never [changes] — just the players in it,” the former Steelers star explained. “You gotta know when to walk off the field. Life is not about the field. The field is what you do, it’s not who I am. We all do things in life for a job or for a wage. I think in life, you gotta know what you do and who you are [before it] gets entangled.”
Brown’s post-NFL endeavors include his recording career as “AB” and dropping several singles on his own independent record label, CAB Records.
“I always had a passion for music, expressing myself, being creative. I have a drive and a passion to do that,” he revealed. “Music always [been] an outlet for me, especially being a player and not being able to explain yourself. I [had] to come do interviews, and I do them from their point view or perspective of what they’re trying to get out, or how they trying to rationalize me or minimize my role. Knowing that, know what I’m saying, you do what’s best for you, man. The first rule of life is self-preservation.”
A post-sports rap career has almost become cliché, but Brown has plenty more on his plate. He didn’t squander his millions with the bad business deals and too-reckless spending that often plague and bankrupt pro athletes. Instead, he’s been making keen business moves like linking with boxing legend Floyd Mayweathers’ commercial real estate company.
“Obviously, Floyd is one of the most successful athletes of our generation,” explained the exec when asked why he teamed with the champ. “For me, while I’m not playing to be able to make the big checks, I want to make my millions work for me. So, partner with a real estate company with over a billion dollars in equity, put some millions in there… just helps my residuals. So, now I don’t got to wake up and look for money — they’re providing me interest off equity every month.”
Brown already knew a thing or two about real estate since he launched his own Boomin Estates investment company several years ago. Throughout the interview, the Miami native relayed his desire to work — and play — just as hard as he did on the field, off the field. He also displayed a sound understanding of business in general such as the best place to set up an LLC (for him, Delaware), where to keep homes to avoid hefty taxes (Florida), and how, despite a big contract, you must be mindful of all those agent fees and expenses. Even his pricey watch game gets the business treatment: “Now that’s an asset, too. A part of my worth.”
Brown was also very self-aware, acknowledging how the drive that has made him successful also may have had adverse effects on his personal relationships. “In business, you gotta take care of your business,” he stated matter-of-factly. “Football is not a bad game, it changed my life, it put me in the position I am today. You gotta know when to walk off. I don’t have unlimited health to keep cutting on boys, getting tackled. Life moves on.”
The multihyphenate added, “A lot of people go zero to 100, but can you go 100 to zero and still be true to yourself?” Brown is answering that question successfully with his every move.
Watch this week’s episode of “Assets Over Liabilities” here to learn how the athlete, entertainer and executive makes sense of the whirlwind around him.