New Orleans Pelicans NBA player, CJ McCollum, is already walking in the footsteps of NBA greats who combined their active playing days with entrepreneurship.
Aiming beyond the court, he took his first step in business as a wine entrepreneur. In 2020, he launched his own brand, the McCollum Heritage 91, which pays homage to his family name and to his year of birth — 1991.
McCollum was introduced to wine by his then-girlfriend, now wife, before the Portland Trail Blazers drafted him, setting his second career in motion. “My fortuitous move to one of the top wine regions in the U.S. took my existing passion for—and knowledge of—wine to new heights,” McCollum said.
As part of moves to expand the production capacity of his wine brand, McCollum purchased a 318-acre property in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The acquisition made him the first NBA player to take the step of buying vineyard land.
“I’m thrilled by our new vineyard site,” he said, “It’s a property with a great deal of potential.” He also expressed excitement over his expansion project and said, “it’s been incredible to have my wife, Elise, join me on this journey. Since she served as the catalyst for my passion for wine, it’s going to be one more venture we share.”
Aside venturing into winery, McCollum has stakes in other businesses; according to him, he has invested in a total of 30. In a recent interview with Forbes, he spoke about how proud he is of his investment methods and the diversity of some of his portfolios.
“For me, it’s about building out a healthy portfolio. I’m in about 30 alternative investments right now, it’s about education first. My financial advisor and I pick an area every year that we want to learn about, and get a mentor in that space. … I’ve gone through the rigors of learning first and then investing.” he said.
According to him, some of his investment portfolios include restaurant franchising, land acquisitions, residential housing, and pharmaceuticals, among others.
“I’m in restaurant franchising… land acquisitions… residential housing… blockchain, crypto… NBA top shot… gaming… fanatics… pharmaceutical… hedge funds and private equity. Obviously, I’m in the wine space … ”he said. “I’m most proud of the diversity; I’m most proud of the real estate because that’s a way to attain generational wealth.”
McCollum says his next investment target is to own a piece of The Trail Blazers after retirement; he made a name for himself while playing for the blazers.