About This Issue


There has always been a direct correlation between business and sports: the marriage of individual effort with teamwork and the emphasis on long-range planning and strategy. And, to use a timeworn aphorism, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Since the inception of BLACK ENTERPRISE, we have tracked this trend. Over the past three decades, we have served as one of the leading business publications to chronicle the rise of the athlete as entrepreneur. Since the 1960s, the gridiron, baseball field, basketball court, and boxing ring have spawned legions of entrepreneurs who sought to compete in the business arena. In fact, the late Jackie Robinson, who was responsible for breaking the color line in America's favorite pastime, and Jim Brown, the groundbreaking football star, were considered ahead of their time when they became vocal proponents of black entrepreneurship and economic development.

Not only did many athletes prove to be tenacious competitors in the business world but also winners when it came to market share, revenue creation, and business profitability. If you reviewed the 30-year history of the BE 100s, you'd find all-star former athletes as well as legendary CEOs. For instance, former All-Pro Green Bay Packers Defensive End Willie Davis built a diversified beer distribution and radio broadcasting conglomerate that was named the 1983 BE Company of the Year. Two-time All-Pro Detroit Lions Running Back Mel Farr's standout performance in the automotive industry earned him honors as the 1992 BE Auto Dealer of the Year--and, at one point, head of the nation's largest black-owned business. NBA Hall of Famer David Bing transformed the Bing Group into the nation's largest African American steel company and the organization gained recognition as the 1998 BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 Company of the Year. …

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