In an almost Laurel and Hardy pairing, Ndamukong Suh, a 305-pound NFL defensive lineman known for his ferocity and lack of scruples on the field, has has developed a friendship with billionaire businessman Warren Buffett. Suh has collaborated with Buffett in several fundraising endeavors, and seeks advice and mentoring from the Oracle of Omaha on a regular basis, according to a new article by Kevin Clark in the Wall Street Journal.
Suh is a “finance nerd”
Relatively few people are aware that All-Pro Detriot Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh is a self-professed “finance nerd”. He says that business is his biggest passion after football.
On Tuesdays—Suh’s typical off day—he generally sits down for a round of conference calls with his advisers. “I don’t watch TV; I don’t play videogames,” he notes. “I like reading contracts. I like just looking at business deals.”
During a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Suh went over the fine points of a contract he’d recently studied. One side wanted a piece of land to complete a deal but didn’t have the cash, so it brought in a couple of partners to get the deal done. The deal also involved a finder’s fee and time constraints for when the land could be bought at the lowest price.
Suh and Warren Buffett
Suh and Warren Buffett first met at a game during Suh’s college career at Nebraska. Tom Osborne, the former Nebraska coach and athletic director, connected the two after Suh graduated.
Suh wasn’t optimistic about getting a lot of time with Buffett when he first reached out. “He is, really, one of the busiest people in the world,” Suh noted. “I’ve seen the prices at charity auctions for a dinner with him—I’d understand if he respectfully said he didn’t have time.” It turned out they hit it off in their first meeting. Then they were in regular contact, and Buffett invited Suh to the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) shareholder meeting.
Buffett noted that Suh has wisely taken advantage of his stature as a pro athlete to get his foot in the door with business leaders. “If you’ve been a football star at Nebraska, a lot of people say hello to you,” Buffett pointed out.
Has relationships with many business leaders
Suh also regularly meets with restaurant investor Junior Bridgeman and former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia, (who is now the head football coach at Coastal Carolina) and other well-known business leaders. This off-season, Suh had meetings with former NBA star Magic Johnson and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, both very successful businessmen.