Carmelo Anthony invests in startup basketball league, Overtime Elite, to help pay high school players

Former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony is an investor in Overtime Elite, a new basketball league that will pay high school players to skip the tradition of playing in college.

The league was created by Overtime, a sports media company that produces short-form, mobile-friendly content focused on high school and women’s basketball, soccer, football and esports.

Overtime will offer each athlete — some as young as 16 — a minimum of $100,000 per year, as well as a signing bonus and a small number of shares in Overtime’s larger business, according to the New York Times. An added incentive is the option of health and disability insurance, in addition to $100,000 in scholarship money for each player to attend college in case they decide not to pursue basketball professionally.

The venture directly competes with the NCAA’s rules on amateurism, which doesn’t allow college players to receive compensation for their play beyond a scholarship for attendance.

“We are not against the NCAA,” said Anthony, who also serves as member of Overtime’s board of directors. “We are not against the NBA. We are not trying to hurt those guys or come at them. We want the support of the NBA and NCAA. Eventually we are going to need those guys anyway.”

Anthony’s amateur basketball journey led him from Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) to Syracuse University, where he led the Orange to a national championship in 2003 before he was taken No. 3 in the NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets.

“Going to college and playing college basketball is what it is,” he said. “It never will change. The concept of Overtime Elite is not to disrupt that, but to give these kids opportunities because they are taking control of their own brands and what they do, and social media becoming so powerful. Why not embrace that?”

Anthony joined Overtime as an investor in 2019, part of a $23 million funding through his venture capital firm Melo7 Tech Partners. He previously backed a local pizza company, a social app to track dining venues, and Casper, the mattress innovator.

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