Justin Miller is truly the definition of an Atlanta business man. After earning his stripes (and a mathematics degree) from Morehouse College in 1999, Justin moved back home to New York to receive his law degree from St. John’s University. He relocated back to Atlanta following the completion of the program. After he started his career with the Morgan & Morgan Law Firm, Justin, who has been casually competing in the AEBL since its start in 2013, saw the perfect opportunity to take his talents off of the court and to the business side of his favorite game.
Recalling a conversation with the AEBL founder and CEO, Justin said “I can’t remember if I spoke to Jah or if he spoke to me but we decided it would be a good fit if we do something with the league.”
One may wonder how a basketball league and personal injury law could mesh into a prosperous business move? Well, it’s all in the people.
“My business is people so my clients are the same people who go to AEBL games and participate in AEBL games and enjoy that kind of entertainment. It’s like a perfect kind of synergy for what I already do. I am from this community so I know all of the people who play, I get to know their families, and get to know younger people who I wouldn’t necessarily meet. I used to do that just strictly through basketball because you will meet a lot of people when you play ball. But because I don’t play ball as much anymore, now I kind of have to meet people in different ways. So I still do the same things just in a different way. Instead of playing ball, I sponsor a league.” Justin explained.
These days, you see many professional athletes taking the investing route after they retire from the game. Michael Jordan for instance, became a minority owner of the Charlotte Hornets after he was finished competing. Even though Justin Miller wasn’t an all-star hooper, his business mindset was still on “GOAT” status.
Persuading his law firm to become a sponsor of the AEBL wasn’t an easy task for Justin as he had to convince others who were not necessarily seeing the vision of what the league brings to the community.
“They didn’t really understand a lot of that stuff because you are dealing with people who are not from the community so they don’t get it as easily. It was kind of difficult at first until they started seeing some of the results we were getting, some of the clients we would get, or the advertising looks we would get. So it was a little difficult, but it got way easier over the years.” Justin admitted.
Thanks to his efforts, an AEBL game isn’t official without seeing a pep squad decked out in “Morgan & Morgan” gear throwing t-shirts to an already hyped up crowd. In the future, this will be different as Justin is transitioning away from the firm to begin his own practice with Stewart Trial Attorneys.
“I’ve been with Morgan & Morgan for ten years until three weeks ago. I’m still going to do AEBL, it will just be my thing instead of Morgan & Morgan.” He said.
One reason why Justin will continue to partner with the league in the future is because of the way the CEO and founder, Jahi Rawlings, has marketed it as more than a tournament. With the incorporation of hot music, comedic hosting, and a variety of food vendors all for free, he has made it an all-out experience.
“With a business model like that, you have to have somebody who is passionate about it...he has actually put effort and work into making it more than an event. And you have to have that because there are a bunch of leagues in Atlanta, in the summertime it’s a bunch of basketball going on. If you don’t have that, you just got a pickup game. He has really worked hard at cultivating all the NBA talent and making it seem like when you go it’s something fun to do and not just a basketball game. I’ve seen people there who don’t even like basketball. I used to live in New York and I used to play at Rucker Park in that League. It’s similar to that. It doesn’t have the same history yet, it’s definitely the same or better production value already.” Justin said.
Justin has seen a lot of dope matchups and one of a kind competition over his years watching the AEBL, but he still has room to be impressed.
“You know what I would like to see? If you get somebody like Lebron and it’s a street dude out there that could cook [him]. That’s why these kinds of leagues are good because those kinds of things happen all the time. You have a dude that people don’t know unless you are from the hood and you’re like ‘no no no, this dude is legit.’ So they get out there and they start bustin 'them and Lebron gets his [butt] torn up. That happened to Lou Will a few times. But he’s just like ‘what can you do?’, it’s basketball. It’s the great equalizer. It doesn't matter who you are or how much money you have. When you get out there you can still get roasted.” Justin concluded.