Entrepreneur, Inventor & Former NBA Star Player
Fifteen years ago, Jonathan Bender of the Indiana Pacers was one of the hottest prospects in professional basketball — the rare first-round draft pick recruited fresh out of high school by the NBA. Standing 6'11" and weighing 202 pounds, he was the rare athlete who could play all five positions on the court. Hailed as the heir to Michael Jordan, he scored 31 points in the 1999 McDonald's All-American game, beating the legend’s record and setting himself up for a potentially extraordinary career. Read More >
Former NBA player turned inventor Jonathan Bender grew up in a small town in which high school athletics was a ticket to the big leagues. But there was no team specialist to ensure that he and his fellow athletes were working out sensibly to protect against future injuries. After a growth spurt that pushed him towards seven feet over the course of a single summer, Bender had no idea that his knees were vulnerable through strain to future injury. Several years later, at the peak of his game with the Indiana Pacers, he was forced into early retirement from a bone-on-bone injury. In this presentation targeted to health-care professionals, Bender examines preventative health care measures through his own unique experience in the NBA and other arenas, including his home life — his mother has experienced mental illness — and greater community, where obesity, diabetes and heart disease extract a considerable toll. Through these personal stories, Bender offers actionable solutions, including fitness and training regimes, dietary tips and new products (like his own JB Intensive Trainer rehabilitation device) that can help people of all ages plan for a healthier future.
Jonathan Bender was one of the most highly touted first-draft NBA prospects to come out of high-school basketball, resulting in star-making turns with Toronto Raptors, the Indiana Pacers and, later, the New York Knicks. But an injury took him out of the game for four years, forcing him to rethink his hasty decision to skip higher education and head straight into what he thought was the easy money of professional basketball. In this presentation targeted to colleges and universities, Bender draws from the mistakes of his past and the successes of his post-NBA career reinvention as a groundbreaking inventor of the JB Intensive Trainer rehabilitation device. He shows how building a blueprint for the future creates a firmer foundation on which to build a long-term career, inviting audiences to figure out what they want out of life while keeping in mind that anything can change in an instant. Most of all, he urges young people to embrace reinvention and flexibility at every turn of the game — when your knees give out, it doesn't mean you can't stand tall and triumph in other avenues through focus, determination and hard work.
Whether your playing field is the basketball court or the business suite, Jonathan Bender knows both sides of a game requiring nimble teamwork, effective problem-solving skills and strong leadership in a cutthroat arena. What helps a professional athlete win his game at Madison Square Garden is no different than what a business professional working at the peak of his or her abilities can achieve in the boardroom through astute innovation and entrepreneurship. In this presentation targeted to corporations and business leaders, Bender consults his own playbook, his forthcoming how-to volume The Courtside CEO, to show how innovation helps companies and individuals stand out from the crowd. Drawing amply from his NBA triumphs with the Raptors, the Pacers and the Knicks and the groundbreaking product launch of his JB Intensive Trainer rehabilitation device — which catapulted him to unpredictable new career highs — Bender shares the secrets of his successes on and off the courts.
When a sudden injury forced him to retire from the NBA at age 25, Jonathan Bender needed a new career plan. After forays into concert promotion, rescue work and real estate investment, he found firm footing as an inventor of the groundbreaking JB Intensive Trainer rehabilitation device, which first helped the 6'11" basketball star walk more efficiently before helping thousands of others do the same. In this presentation targeted to business professionals, Bender journeys through every crucial stop in the genesis and evolution of the JBIT MedPro, beginning with the inspirational spark in a Houston park that led to a research and development phase with university scientists, a financing round with a CFO, and a worldwide product launch in 2013. Through all of this, Bender came to depend on the team he assembled from the ground up — finding the right experts to fill in the gaps, learning to avoid the flight risk that comes with entrepreneurship, and working together to find solutions that lead to eventual success. Drawing from his forthcoming volume The Courtside CEO, Bender demystifies the product launch from inception to marketplace, revealing valuable innovation secrets including what it takes to reinvent oneself as an entrepreneur.