Jack McClinton’s name hangs among a small group of UM legends in the rafters of the BankUnited Center, and the former basketball star is often seen courtside at Hurricanes games cheering on the orange and green.
Despite his passion for the sport, McClinton recently came to a realization: his business savvy – not his basketball talent – would lead him the furthest.
McClinton has always craved success. However, he has had to overcome a good deal of adversity to reach it.
Growing up in Baltimore, Md., he played basketball in the inner city with dreams of making it to the NBA.
“I would sneak out of my room at 1 in the morning and work out at the gym for three hours,” said McClinton, wearing a neon green tracksuit as he lay back in his Miami condo. “People say the gym was my second home, but it was actually my first home.”
Coaches and media would tell the 6-foot, 185-pound athlete that he was too small, too risky and just not good enough to succeed on the court. McClinton managed to prove the doubters wrong by becoming the star of the University of Miami men’s basketball team.
A sharpshooter from 3-point range, he led the Canes to their first NCAA Tournament victory in almost a decade in 2008.
Former teammate Lance Hurdle loved playing with McClinton.
“That’s my brother,” said Hurdle, who plays for the Springfield Armor in the NBA Development League.
McClinton was taken late in the 2009 NBA draft, and ended up playing basketball overseas.
“I worked so hard to play in the NBA. I didn’t want to play overseas … playing in Turkey was one of the hardest experiences of my life,” he said. “I had to be driven in a big bus everywhere in a place where I couldn’t even speak the language.”
Although McClinton still wanted to make it to the league, he began to lose his passion for the game. Instead, he started focusing his attention on the business world.
“I’ve always been an innovator and a thinker. I had so many ideas that I wanted to do in the business side,” he said.
With the help of University of Central Florida alumnus Amara Thompson, McClinton got involved with a social media platform called CLIQ. The app, which is scheduled to launch in early April, allows a group of friends – or a “clique” – to create one profile page and share thoughts and images.
As president of business development, McClinton showed passion and great energy when he discussed the potential of CLIQ.
“I know why God put basketball in my life,” he said joyfully. “All the connections I made in the basketball world were so I could succeed in this.”
So far McClinton has raised more than $1 million with investments from NBA players Carlos Boozer, Dorell Wright and Ty Lawson.
His involvement in CLIQ comes at the same time that McClinton is cultivating another interest: fashion.
“I’ve always loved fashion,” he said. “I want to change the fashion world and add something to it that’s never been done before.”
McClinton, as ambitious and determined in business as he used to be in basketball, is set to release a resort wear line called Loaded Dock.
He describes the line as “Tommy Bahama for the younger crowd.”
After fighting to make it for most of his life, the Hurricanes legend whose jersey is immortalized above Miami’s home court has found his purpose.
“I always had a chip on my shoulder,” McClinton said. “I knew that I could be whatever I wanted to be. My time is now.”