Coach & Player Magazine Summer 2017 - Page 12

Terrell Owens is a proud UTC Mocs alumnus It was from that conversation that it jump-started the company. With the help of his friend, Owens created clothing samples. A little time later, the company was born. However, the company still needed a name. The 81 was his jersey number, but he still wanted to have something that was catchy but relatable. has it in them. Everybody is a prototype. I’m just Prototype 81.” “I started to think about how I got in the league, how I would assess if somebody saw me, especially with the scouts when I was coming out of college,” said Owens. “They assessed my physical attributes, which were my speed, size and things of that nature. Initially, I wanted to try to play off how people perceive me, especially in the football world that watched me play. Everybody started to figure I had an ego, so I wanted to name the brand Ego and play off that. Once I started doing some research and tried to trademark it, but somebody already had the trademark for Ego.” With his first option taken, he continued to ponder what direction he would like to go in with the name. He tried to come up with some new ideas, but they did not stick the way that Ego did. He once again began to think about his career. It was then that a new idea would come to mind. This time it stuck. “I started in my mind to see the word Prototype,” he said. “My initials are T.O. You can’t spell prototype without T.O. I just thought it was a perfect fit. The definition of a prototype is the basis on which something is formed or made. That’s how I am. From a small town guy out of Alabama to a small school in Chattanooga and then all these things that came about to form the T.O. that landed in the National Football League. You’re going to have only a few number of people that believe in you, or they think that you have potential. I’ve always been looked at as a kid that has potential. Everybody has potential, but it’s something about you on the inside in that DNA, it’s that prototype which I am that sets yourself apart, and it puts you in the forefront. Everybody 12 Owens wore #80 in college to honor Jerry Rice www.coachandplayer.com Once the 15-year veteran had the brand name down, the road to building his business accelerated. It has not always been smooth. He is learning some lessons as the company is starting out. “It can be very frustrating,” Owens said. “Knowing what I know now, just because people have money to invest, those aren’t necessarily the best people to enter a partnership with. What I’ve experienced is a complete nightmare. When you have investors that are not in it for the same reason that you are, then there’s a disconnect. You have to have people who understand whatever business that you’re partnering with, they should have some experience with that project. I’ve realized there are smart investments and there are dumb investments. I feel like I’ve gotten myself into one of those dumb investments where I didn’t take the time to really do my due diligence as far as whom I was partnering with. In terms of partnering with an investor, they have to have the same passion, that emotional commitment, and not just solely a financial commitment to whatever it is that you’re partnering with in terms of that project. That’s what I learned along the way. I’ve always known that there are going to be ups and downs to everything. It’s just like life. There’s going to be hiccups here and there, but I think for me, you have to have the right partners involved with whatever it is that you’re passionate about. I can’t be more passionate than my investor. They would at least have that, bring something to the table besides a financial commitment. Even if they’re going