Bryant Markson's basketball claim to fame is being a college team-mate of Andrew Bogut.
While Markson hasn't scaled the same on-court heights as the Australian NBA star, he is doing OK for himself.
It turns out the laidback Wellington Saints import is also a player in the Salt Lake City business scene; owning an electronics company, a car tint shop and is an investor in the In-N-Out Burgers franchise.
"I'm just business savvy," laughed the 29-year-old, who is also studying towards his masters in human development and family studies.
"I own a couple of things. I'm doing all right."
Markson's multiple business interests, combined with an unhappy season in Japan, pushed the athletic forward into an early retirement last year.
Having played seriously since he was 12, a burnt out Markson had eight months off the hardwood before his agent, former NBL import Lawrence Barnes, told him there could be an opportunity in New Zealand.
"I'd retired, I was done. I was pretty much losing the passion for it, I've been doing it for a long, long time. I was getting more into the business side of things but when my agent told me I was like, ‘you know what, I'll give it another chance'. I'm still young, I can still play. Now I'm happy, I'm having fun on a team that's winning, it's great."
Markson has been excellent for the second-placed Saints, who host Waitakere tomorrow night.
Despite not often being featured in the offence, he averages 18.3 points and 8.2 rebounds and uses his long arms to make a nuisance of himself at the defensive end.
Initially he was only signed to a two-month contract but his stellar play meant Andrew Warren made way when Rick Rickert became available.
It was an awkward situation.
"I didn't notice Rick until after the Otago game," Markson said. "I was like, ‘oh, it's another American, who is this guy?' He's in uniform and we already have two Americans right? I talked to Pero [coach Pero Cameron] afterwards and he told me he was looking to bring a big guy in. It was hard because I like Andrew. But it's a business move and I understand business."
Markson was close to telling Cameron he would take one for the team and pack his bags so Warren could stay.
"I'm a really chilled guy so going home for me is not necessarily a bad thing. I was going to be like, ‘yo, send me home and Andrew can stay'. He's young, he needs the money but before I could do that they called us in and told us the situation."
Despite the mid-season upheaval the Saints are a tight squad.
They watched the NBA's Heat beat the Spurs at one of owner Nick Mills' bars yesterday and Markson was impressed by Dillon Boucher's altercation with Brian Greene last week against Hawke's Bay.
Boucher's suspension means he will be restricted to coaching duties tomorrow.
"Sometimes it's called for," Markson said.
"I mean when someone's dirty like that, you've got to stick up for your players, stick up for yourself as a man. If you've got to miss a game, you've got to miss a game but I bet the next person won't do that because they know."
- © Fairfax NZ News