Arize “Ace” Ifejika is the founder and CEO of More Than Basketball and hails from Washington, DC but resides in LA. He believes that every athlete’s dream is to perform to a hall of fame level in their respective sport, secure generational wealth, and inspire and impact young people outside of their sport. He also believes that modern-day athletes want to build a brand for themselves as well as a diverse portfolio, a platform, opportunity, and an a-list network to share resources.
More Than Basketball is the hub for all things off the court for a player. From management services, to events, appearances, strategic partnerships, community outreach, product, and content. Through it all Ifejika has witnessed the growth of many ambitious athletes from their start playing in DC AAU tournaments and showcases, until today as they currently play at the highest level.
More Than Basketball was originally created to fill a void in the business. Arize Ifejika realized that as the better players from upper middle-class backgrounds began to rise, student athletes from poor and disenfranchised communities more than often did not. This was because they didn’t have the same opportunities or platforms, so he made it possible for them to be evaluated and recruited at the highest level. As time passed, kids who played in his events went on to play in the NBA and he quickly realized there was a new void. Proper management and assistance in helping these players off the court, which would allow them to keep their main thing, their main thing. “It’s not traditional. I’m not day to day with anyone, but we’re locked in the long way” says Ifejika. Today you might find him courtside at an NBA summer league game, playing pickup at Chris Brown’s house, or at an exclusive party at Soho House for Art Basel. If he’s your guy, he can provide services that range from manufacturing camp merch to reservations at exclusive restaurants, access to who’s who events, lucrative brand deals, or even cameos in films. He wears many hats which is why players often refer to him as their “Guy.”
But how does he do it all? His peers recognize him as an entrepreneur and hustler who has the blueprint to sports stardom off the court, an assertion that he agrees with. “I can’t turn water into wine or anything like that. I’m not a rainmaker.” Ifejika states, “It’s gotta be someone who character wise, and personality wise off the court fits with who I am. And of course, he’s gotta be a good”, he continues jokingly.”
Arize Ifejika believes that most athletes should have a “Guy” or a circle of not just friends to party with, but friends who can provide mentorship and value that can bring monetary compensation as well. The kind of tutelage money can’t buy. He is known for giving every player as well as their parents, and day to day managers, the harsh realities that come with the business. The “game” in general. “I kind of borrowed from DJ Khaled, by telling them it’s not what I think, it’s what “they” think” he states. “In this business we can’t stay away from “they” we have to consider what “they” say, he continues. “They, being NBA executives, scouts, owners, media members, and recently social media influencers.
Off the court, More Than Basketball not only cultivates and manages the talents of athletes, but they also help them to discover their strengths and weaknesses as human beings. This is an art that Ifejika has perfected over the years. His parting words were, “I tell them to star in their role on the court and I’ll do the same off it”
Arize Ifejika can be found on Instagram @_Arize and Twitter @_Arize_