Success Story

How former NBA player Mustafa Shakur launched a sports energy drink company and made history

Get to know Mustafa Shakur; he is an ex-NBA player who previously played for the Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder. Like many former NBA stars, Shakur has reinvented himself as an entrepreneur, co-founding a sports nutrition startup called Pure Fuel, according to Forbes.

According to him, the PureFuel story only began a “little more than a year ago” but has “already yielded big returns.” Pure Fuel has gone on to become the official hydration partner for the Philadelphia 76ers, making it the fastest hydration drink to ever partner with a professional team.

To achieve this historic feat, Shakur and his co-founders beat out other hydration product competitors for the Sixers deal, an important move given the saturated market, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Also significant is the fact that none of the co-founders of Fure Fuel had any experience running or owning a sports hydration or energy drink company.

Shakur, who was born in Philadelphia, said, “Part of why this is happening, myself and my partners, we all dream big.”

“Don’t think it happens without you being able to dream big.”

As part of the partnership, Pure Fuel’s branding has appeared on Wells Fargo Center digital signage, team benches, coolers, and the pregame bell-ringing ritual. Furthermore, Pure Fuel’s reach will continue beyond the NBA season as the 76ers host hundreds of youth players at summer basketball camps, the Inquirer reported last month. Pure Fuel will provide 50 free registrations for the entire week of the camps, the outlet added.

“Huge hometown story, for the kids from rougher parts of Philadelphia,” Shakur said. “They need to hear and learn this story. There’s so much bad messaging out there. We’re not afraid to push the envelope and be untraditional, in a sense. I think that’s attractive in a city like Philadelphia, with authenticity as part of our brand.”

Shakur said he decided to venture into the sports nutrition industry because he wants to “take ownership of what we consume as a culture.” And according to him, what sets his products apart from others is the fact that there are no sugars or additives.

He further loves the flexibility that comes with entrepreneurship, explaining that during his heyday as an NBA player, he didn’t have control over what he did because he had to travel for games.

“But with being an entrepreneur, it is unpredictable, but you are able to have a little more control over the things you do and curate,” he told Forbes.

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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