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What NFL star Ndamukong Suh learned from Warren Buffett

·4-min read
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When he's not crushing the competition as a defensive tackle with the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ndamukong Suh is busy scoring with his portfolio of investments — with a little help from Warren Buffett.

Suh told Yahoo Finance Live that the Oracle of Omaha taught him to invest in companies “that have great intrinsic value” and to always be patient.

“That’s one of the best tools I've ever learned from him,” said Suh. “It's about being patient, understanding that this company you believe in has strong roots. It's going to have to weather the storm, but most likely if it's a very strong company, it'll come out better on the other side.”

Suh first met the investing titan in 2009 as an All-American at the University of Nebraska, where Buffett is an alumnus and donor. The friendship took off and the two huddle regularly, usually once a quarter.

Suh keeps Buffett up to speed on his wide-ranging portfolio, which includes investments in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The lineman recently tweeted his support of the industry during the pandemic, saying “it’s never been as bad as this.”

“Whether it's people working in the service industry or actually the cooks or the farmers... it's important for us to understand that we've got to continue to support our community,” he said.

The pandemic decimated the restaurant industry. The National Restaurant Association estimates that 90,000 restaurants in the U.S. shut down, and even now half of small restaurants struggle to pay their rent.

“I think the biggest thing people can do is first start in their community, and go out there and support the restaurants they've loved, and not be afraid to try new restaurants. Take it to go if you don't want to dine in or [if] there's not an option to dine in,” said Suh.

He also encouraged his nearly 650,000 Twitter followers to support the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s efforts to get Congress to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

“I've been fortunate enough to be in the hospitality space since I first got out of college," said Suh. "Blue Sushi was a great restaurant I went to when I was a kid in college and I wanted to be a part of it, so I asked the owners and I've been able to create some great restaurants in and around Lincoln-University of Nebraska.”

Through his Generals Restaurant Group, which he founded in 2016, Suh owns and operates restaurants in Detroit, Lincoln, Los Angeles, Texas, and his hometown of Portland.

'It's just about being ... thought leaders'

With the average NFL career lasting just three and a half years, Suh has made a point of diversifying his revenue stream. He said it's one of the reasons why he got an engineering degree and focuses on investing.

NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Ndamukong Suh holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a boat parade to celebrate victory in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
NFL star Ndamukong Suh of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a boat parade to celebrate victory in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

"Me being 35, they consider me a very old man in this game, but I have great aspirations to be more successful off the field than I was on the field," he said.

Suh has a high bar to clear. A five time pro-bowler and Hall of Fame contender, Suh has earned an estimated $165 million during his 12-year career. He has used some of that money to invest aggressively in real estate, which Suh believes is a great way to build generational wealth.

A board member of Ballantyne Strong (BTN), Suh also invests with venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and General Atlantic and recently began to “dabble” in crypto, joining fellow big name athletes including Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Kevin Love in investing in Metaplex, a Solana-based NFT marketplace.

The father of nine-month-old twin boys, Suh said he wants to leave a legacy greater than his football accomplishments. "It's just about being strong, young Black men... and being thought leaders."

But a second Super Bowl win wouldn't hurt. "I've got twin boys, so I need another ring for my other son," he said, "so they don't have to share."

Alexis Christoforous is an anchor and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.

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