5 minutes with… Tiki Barber

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Tiki Barber is an NFL legend. He’s one of only 29 running backs who rushed for 10,000+ yards in their career, and he was selected for the Pro Bowl – the NFL’s All-Star game – three times.

Not only is Tiki speaking at Sport Summit, he’s bringing Thuzio to exhibit as part of our START programme.

Using data science, Thuzio matches a celebrity’s personal brand with the values and marketing objectives of major companies and institutions.

I talked to Tiki about his playing days, and who he reckons is the most marketable celeb in the game:

You’re widely considered one of the NFL’s greatest ever running backs. How much of your success was down to natural talent, and how much did you have to work for?

Everyone on the professional level of sport has taken full advantage of their God-given talent. What drives success is the ability to prepare for the opportunity that each season, game, or play is going present, then repeatedly executing so that your teammates and fans could depend on you.

Greatness is consistency.

In your playing days, what exactly were you thinking in the seconds before the ball was snapped?

My mind is what separated me from my peers and competitors. At the snap, my thoughts were always focused on visualising the perfect execution of the play, anticipating who the defence was trying to attack, and trusting my training.


When it comes to marketing an athlete, what’s more important: playing ability or personality?

Personality. How you carry yourself is so important to building a marketable brand. Being at the top of your field will get you respect, but presenting confidence, grace and humility will get you a large following.

Thuzio specialise in connecting influencers with brands. Who do you think is the world’s most marketable celebrity? Why?

Beyoncé. She crosses in so many ways. To me, the most marketable celebs have had great success in their field, perform their craft with an infectious enthusiasm but present themselves with relatability in their personal and professional lives.


Your Instagram features a few shots of you with a cigar. Did you smoke the occasional cigar during your playing days?

I never smoked during my playing days, I don’t think that I was mature enough to appreciate it. I met my Thuzio co-founder Mark Gerson over a cigar and we made it a weekly tradition – we have a standing lunch at Club Macanudo in New York City, where Thuzio was conceived and grown.

I now realise that great reflection occurs over a cigar – not because of the effects of tobacco, rather due to the patience and care that it takes to correctly draw on a cigar. It’s a metaphor that I’ve grown to cherish.

I only smoke one cigar a week – on Tuesday, my ‘off day’.

Why Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week! @Thuzio Co-founders lunch at Club Macanudo

A photo posted by Tiki Barber (@tiki.barber) on

Join Tiki and Thuzio at Web Summit. Pick up your ticket.

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