Sports, Business, and Beyond: A Moment with Alexis Levi
Today, American Dreams host, Alan Olsen, sits down with Alexis Levi, a true pioneer in the sports and entertainment industry.
As the first African American woman to become the owner and general manager of a men’s professional basketball team, Alexis shares her remarkable journey from being a competitive ice skater to entering the sports world. Growing up with a father who worked at the Oakland Coliseum, her early exposure to games and the sports environment laid the foundation for her passion.
The conversation delves into Alexis’s transition from a nursing career to founding Alexis Levi Sports and Entertainment Group, leveraging her diverse experiences in business and technology.
Moreover, Alexis discusses her involvement with the Sports Philanthropy Network and her commitment to addressing various issues in the sports industry, including youth development, mental health, and homelessness.
Beyond her professional endeavors, Alexis also highlights her personal projects, such as organizing basketball camps for underprivileged kids and pioneering a program to make homeownership more accessible. Tune in to gain insights into Alexis Levi’s inspiring career and her impactful contributions to the sports and philanthropic landscape.
Welcome to American Dreams. My guest today is Alexis Levi. Alexis, welcome to today’s show.
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
So let’s see you’ve had your you’re a pioneer, a true pioneer in the sports and entertainment industry. And we’re going to get into your story today. But I want to find out first, what sparked your interest in moving into this industry?
Into sports? Well, I was a, it’s funny, I had a dad who was a sports fan. And I think he thought he was going to have a girl, or boy, obviously, and then he ended up having a girl. So he instituted that sports into me, because I was his only child.
So that’s what started me. Like in sports at a very young age, he worked at the Oakland Coliseum where the Warriors the Raiders, the A’s play, and he used to take me to work with them and sit him in the audience. And I’d sit there and watch the game. Okay, so yeah.
So you grew up in the industry with a company dad, then as you as you would I life, you know, what point did you decide? I want to? At what point did you decide I want to do this, I want to steer it was a career into the sports industry?
Well, I’ll tell you, over the years, I was a competitive ice skater, which a lot of people don’t know, I won a few medals, then. I was always doing sports, basketball, baseball, even tried a little flag football. But really what instituted me going into this as a career was when I was at home at my house, I have two boys. And we always had at least six or seven other boys at the house.
And they were telling me how they were all athletes. They were football players, baseball players and basketball players. They were telling me how the industry or how the coaches were treating them. And they asked me did I have that when I was an athlete? And I said, No, my coaches were my best friends. They always were guiding me in the right direction and things of that nature.
So when they told me that that was the first thing, then they said, if you were coach, we played for you. So because of that, that sparked my interest. And I said, Okay, so you would play for me? And they said, Well, you’re fair. Yes, you get, you know, get after us when we’re doing stuff wrong. But you also explain to us why you’re doing it and tell us the right way to go.
And they wish that their coaches would like that. So that night, I’m on the internet trying to figure out what I can do, because I’m like that. And interesting enough, obviously, I couldn’t own an NBA team because it was $500 billion, right. But I could own an IPL team.
And so that’s what started me down that road. I went to sports management worldwide, and got my sports agent advisor certificate. And then I moved into owning a team.
And who are the pioneers, the first African American women to become the owner and general manager of a men’s professional basketball team?
Yes, I was. And the reason why I wanted to do that is because I wanted to make sure that I had hands on experience with the players. They were men. They were from 18 years old, like my oldest one was probably 30. Okay. And so I wanted to make sure that I was guiding them in the right way. I mean, I was George Tarkanian.
And I, we were did tryouts we hired we, you know, made sure we had a great team. And we ended up winning a couple of championships.
So how did your organization be? Alexis levy Sports and Entertainment Group come about?
Well, you know, as I was entering into sports, I found that I had a unique background, my background started, I was a nurse for 14 years. Not a lot of people know that. And then I got a really bad car accident. So I chose to go into business. My father was an entrepreneur as well. So I chose to go into business. And in that journey, I worked in Silicon Valley for seven years.
I work for a lot of Fortune five hundreds through an organization that I was a business development director in and I collected people along the way, I had a lot of relationships and a lot of industries that basketball players want to go into. And also, I also was a part of technology at a technology company at one time.
So I understood if they said they wanted to raise money, I knew how to do that. If they said they wanted to launch a technology company, I knew how to do those things where most sports people don’t have all that experience.
So what I did was I launched Alexis Levi’s, sports and entertainment group to be able to do some of the things that I was experienced in doing because I felt like everybody was coming to me for something and I said, Well, I might as well make that into a business.
And what are some of the other projects that you’re involved with and death, or or you’re looking into getting to be involved with? Yes.
Well, recently, I don’t know if you saw sports, a philanthropy network and national organization came after me to be the head of the Las Vegas chapter. So that’s the most current thing that I’m doing. The good thing about that was that we ended up deciding, they asked me to be a part of the leadership council or the board.
And then as I was listening to them what they were looking to accomplish, I just felt in my spirit, this was a project for me that I would do it differently than a lot of people would do it. And I would bring a lot of my relationships and all sports levels to the Las Vegas group. And so that’s why I said, Yes, I’d take the director position,
as seems that there’s been a lot of movement towards more philanthropy in today’s world, and what are some of the things that you’re looking at solving through the philanthropic mission of the chapter that you oversee?
Okay, so everything you hear in sports as a headline, we are tapped into it, whether it’s the youth, whether it’s the new NIHL, that’s going through the colleges now, where kids are getting paid, we look at the not only the good, but we look at what can happen, that could be a negative, and we try to help them put things in place to make sure that we’re covering those things.
Because a lot of times, people don’t think about the whole scope of things. They think about this is great, we’re going to give kids money, but they don’t think about what happens when they spiral out of control, because they’ve never had that type of money. Okay. There’s mental health involved. There’s all kinds of things involved that we are touching.
Right now I’m working, I’m just excited, because I’m working on a big event for the Superbowl. My first week in business or in office, they came to me and said, Well, okay, your first order of business is to do a happy hour and kind of get the sports industry to come out and get involved, right. So we did that it was very good. We had about 150 people.
Then they said, the next thing you’re going to do is you’re going to do a fundraiser for tackle hunger, because that’s the organizations that the NFL is connected with, for food insecurity, and you know, homelessness and hunger. Okay. So my first order of business was to find a church that we could host this in.
And I don’t know if you know a lot about Las Vegas, but we have some beautiful churches here. And one of the churches is the largest church here, Central Church, which has offices all over the valley.
And then in several states outside of our area. Well, they opted to say, yes, they have 15,000 members at their church, and they have about 10 churches nationwide, and some international, so we’re doing a big, huge fundraising across all those churches. And then we’re bringing in the NFL alumni. So we’re excited about that.
Alexis, in addition to the sports and entertainment world that you’re involved with in philanthropy, what are some of the personal projects that you’re working on?
Well, I mean, I’m heartfelt, I really always try to find something within the Like a diamond in the rough as to what is missing in our society today. And one of my pet peeves is that young kids when I would travel, some of them don’t get an opportunity to go to games, some of them don’t get an opportunity to even play at a camp. Okay.
And so what we did my son and I, who played professional basketball overseas, and now he’s the, what is it? player personnel and assistant coach for University of Utah. Okay. And so one of the things we did was we had a camp that allow kids to come from near and far.
And then some of them, we paid for some of them, you know, entrepreneurs sponsored them and things of that nature. And those kids were able to come forward to play in a three day tournament. And the exciting thing about that we brought Hall of Famers, we had NBA players, we had general managers, we had international coaches there, and even college.
I mean, we had Fernando personnel at the time, he was an assistant coach for the women’s team of Duke. And so a lot of those people came forward because they’re friends of mine to support what we were doing. And kids even got scholarships, some kids got, you know, invitations to other events, so we really liked doing that.
And the exciting thing happened is a week ago, the Las Vegas aces our championship team here in Las Vegas, offered me their new facility for my camp this year. So I’m excited about that. So we’re looking for sponsors, we’re looking for people to get involved and we’re, you know, just ecstatic about that.
And then the other thing that I’m doing is on the entrepreneur side, we are looking at entrepreneurs in every state to institute a new program out of our real estate department and what we do is our real estate department we try to make opportunities for people who may can’t buy a house.
So I partnered with home benefits out of Seattle, and we’re taking what do you call it, like, you know, how you do your health benefits and that kind of stuff? Well, now it’s a home benefits program that will be instituted right within your business, to help the people that work for you. And it’s free, it doesn’t cost you anything. So give me a call at 702-789-0749 to be able to do that.
And home benefits gives $1,500 towards closing costs. So I’m always trying to help you know, level the playing field, give people an opportunity, if it comes to me, I get pitched about everything. So, but if it comes to me, and I think it makes sense, and I’ll help people, then we push it out. And we were doing that nationwide.
As exciting. Now if a person wants to get involved with your project, so go ahead do that say that they want to be part of your philanthropy
All they need to do is just call us at 702825 3500 That’s our main office number here in Las Vegas over in Summerlin and or they can email and it’s LV dash director at sports philanthropy network.org. So either one of the Lexus,
Lexus it’s been a real pleasure having you with us today on the show.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
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