Meet Jabari K. Smith - Former Athlete & Current Entrepreneur

Dear athletes, here are some facts…

At some point, your athletic career is going to end and if you are not prepared: well, the experience will be PAINFUL! I’m Jabari K. Smith, author, athlete and entrepreneur and this is The Professional Athlete.

The content you will experience on this site will be the stories shared from athletes inside and outside the arena of sports. Guests will impart their knowledge and experiences in athletics and business, to share with the world that sports principles are transferable life skills, and explain how they were able to navigate the process of being a successful athlete to simply being successful.
Consider this your all access pass to the locker room of life, your own copy of life’s playbook. This is your literal G.P.S. (Game Plan for Success). This is The Professional Athlete.

My views about sports and success have been guided by my own personal experiences.

I am a former collegiate athlete. I attended Texas Tech University and had high aspirations of going to the NFL…

While I did not make it to the NFL, my post-collegiate career allowed me to play 4 seasons of professional football at the arena level. I found it very difficult to transition once my athletic career was over. I grew up with the notion that I would always play sports. I undoubtedly believed that my talent would continue to guide me through recognition and rich opportunities, and eventually lead me through life to my dream profession as a NFL player.

This was the first time in my life that I felt like a failure. Not reaching my final goal...

which was making it all the way to the NFL, meant overall failure in my eyes.

When I finally decided to put the cleats up for good. I came back home to live with my parents in the same house, in the same neighborhood in Pasadena, California, and with the same amount of money in my pocket that I had when I went away to school. I remember thinking, ‘how did I end up back here in this very same position that I was in before I left?’ . This was not how it was supposed to go down. This was not a part of the plan. The plan was for me to go to college, graduate, get drafted into the NFL, make millions of dollars, move my family to a safe suburban neighborhood, get married, and start my own family. I figured I would have the resources to make smart investments with my money, retire, and spend the rest of my time giving back to my community.

It took me six years to fully understand that the lens in which I viewed my success through was clouded by my inability to think beyond my athletic gifts.

Granted, i graduated college; I had a major self identity problem!

I had identified myself as Jabari Smith the athlete and only measured my success based on the accomplishments an athlete can achieve in the arena of sports. As a result of this limited thinking, my identity was not developed from a solid foundation. It was a fabrication of results that were led by fantasies and unrealistic expectations. What I had failed to understand was that everything I had experienced and accomplished leading up to this point was success within itself; therefore my success was not defined by my achieving the goal of becoming a professional athlete, but was more so defined in the character building process that led me to this point.

Through the Professional Athlete, I hope to share my experience and knowledge with others who find themselves currently in my cleats those who have not quite come to full realization yet, and to the youth who may one day be in this situation. I now believe that I have much more potential to gain greater success than I would have with football. Football no longer defines me or confines me to one definition of success, and I am now free to define a greater, more encompassing description of success for myself.

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