My Journey from Mr. Basketball to Broker

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This article was written by former Georgia men’s basketball student-athlete, Marcus Thornton.  To view the original article, click here.

What do basketball and commercial real state have in common when it comes to achieving success? Drive, relationship building, a willingness to go into overtime, and a desire to consistently build your skills and knowledge are all vital to accomplishing goals in both fields. Both professions require a full-court press. My background as a high-level basketball player undoubtedly helped set me up for success as a commercial real estate broker.

Growing up in the Atlanta area, I attended Westlake High School, a basketball powerhouse. I was nicknamed “Mr. Basketball” by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. After graduation, I took my game to the University of Georgia as a four-year starter and All-SEC selection. I also worked diligently to shine off the court. I was a five-time Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll recipient and three-time All-SEC community service team member, and I was recognized as UGA 2015 Student Athlete of the Year.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and real estate degree from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, I went on to play for professional Eurocup teams overseas. However, after suffering a string of injuries, I decided to transition out of my basketball career to a career in commercial real estate, which led me to T. Dallas Smith & Company.

Flashback to my adolescent years, I wasn’t the best basketball player. I usually wasn’t even in the top five. I knew that reaching a higher level would require a fierce commitment, and basketball gave me an invaluable education in sustaining discipline and persistence over time to achieve my goals.

The same requirements apply to commercial real estate professionals – brokers especially. It’s imperative to be consistent and dependable — to outwork competitors, to survive the seasons, and to put the needs of others first.  And none of that is possible without solid interpersonal skills.

In both high school and college, I served as team captain. I always considered myself a servant leader, striving to cultivate strong individual relationships with each teammate to understand how they functioned emotionally, intellectually and athletically to help them be their best self. Nurturing these relationships was critical to our success as a team. The same level of importance around relationship building is stressed in commercial real estate, and it’s helped me make a positive impact on T. Dallas Smith & Company.

Basketball truly helped prepare me for life as a broker, and I plan to continue using my sports background to give back to my community and show youth of all ages that basketball can be as valuable a game as you’ll ever play if you use it the right way.  



Posted on

March 15, 2018

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