Victory is Yours
Big Blue alum Derek Anderson talks big business and Victory H2O.
by Mia Hall / @Mia_HallDaily
Almost 20 years after winning an NCAA Championship with arguably the greatest team ever, Derek Anderson is still experiencing the thrill of victory, and helping others do the same, one bottle at a time.
Victory H2O is progressively becoming a major competitor in the sports beverage market. With a perfect combination of the premium quality of the likes of Fiji, the functionality of Gatorade, and the purity of Smart Water, Victory H2O offers a unique experience where “every drop counts.”
Unwilling to let his players continue walking around with Pedialyte, which he suggested for them to drink because it was the only beverage on the market that had what they needed, Victory H2O Founder Eric Fears decided to start his own bottled water company. In 2010, with the help of fellow Georgia Tech Alumni and other athletic clients, Eric founded his company in Atlanta, GA.
Since then, not only has Victory H2O made a name for themselves, procuring feature appearances on popular television shows such as STARZ’s Boss and NBC’s Parks and Recreation, it has also gained support from several celebrities who serve as brand ambassadors.
The most prominent of these ambassadors and now partner of the company is none other than retired NBA star and serial entrepreneur, Derek Anderson. He believes Victory H2O will be a major player in the burgeoning performance drink market.
But Derek’s ventures don’t stop here. Since his second year in the NBA, Derek has been investing his earnings in profitable products and services. From his foundation to his film company—through which he produced the film, The Untouchables, documenting the 1996 Kentucky Wildcat Championship team—to his many other ventures, Derek has developed a booming business portfolio that can be learned from and should be noted.
During an alumni weekend for Big Blue Nation, SLAMonline was able to catch up with part owner of Victory H2O, and member of the 1996 University of Kentucky Championship team, Derek Anderson.
SLAM: Who told you, while you were in the League, how to balance your finances?
Derek Anderson: Nobody helped me; I just made sense out of what I was doing. I don’t have bad habits. Bad habits create problems. I don’t drink, smoke or gamble. I only had one house everywhere I lived. I think a lot of people spend more than they have coming in. I spent money on cars, which I enjoy—cars are my vice—but I also knew what I wanted out of life and not to spend all I had.
I wanted to live comfortably 20 or 30 years down the line, not just while I was playing, so I built relationships outside of basketball. A lot of these guys today get their “superstar status” and don’t want to speak to people or sign autographs. They stay in their huddles and they wonder why, when they retire, people don’t want to deal with them.
While I was in the League, I met guys who own banks and said, “What do you do to make money?” A lot of guys do not have money years after they leave the League because they did not build relationships.
SLAM: What was your first business venture while you were in the NBA?
DA: The first company I started was my foundation because of how I grew up. Not having parents in my life and being left in bad situations when I was a child, made me want to give back to the community. We helped homeless children and women who were victims of domestic violence.
My second business was real estate. I met a guy who owned his own bank in Switzerland my second year in the League and I was intrigued. I didn’t graduate in majors related to the businesses I have. I was fortunate to learn from the people I built relationships with.
SLAM: What are your businesses Loyalty Media Group and GOALO about?
DA: Loyalty Media Group is a film company. I was writing songs and movies forever and I thought, Why not start my own companies? My film company is based in Atlanta and Los Angeles now.
GOALO means Get On and Live On. It is an exercise bike that I worked on. You can be writing this story and burning calories simultaneously. It’s going to being a great way for people to be productive and get fit at the same time.
SLAM: What inspired you to write your book?
DA: So many people asked me to tell my story. To me, my story just made me who I am, but people thought if I shared it, it would uplift others. I had a child at 14, used to sleep on the gym floor, and had a hard time growing up, but people gave me the courage to speak up on it. It will be released in 2013.
SLAM: Why do you support Victory H20?
DA: A lot of people want to be better, but they can’t do it if they don’t have the right minerals. These other drinks have so many calories and so much sugar in it that they defeat the purpose. When you’re done working out, you don’t want to get a stomach or gain weight because of what you drink after.
We support this water because it makes sense. It puts the things you need back in your body.
What’s your advice to rookies and young athletes?
DA: Be open-minded, be respectful and build relationships with people while you have the fame and the name that you have. Remembering the importance of relationships are key.