Former NBA point guard thrives in commercial real estate

Miami /
Mar.March 30, 2010 11:22 AM

John Crotty had finished his career as a point guard for seven teams,
including the Miami Heat, in the National Basketball Association. He
was on a surfing trip to Costa Rica in 2004 with Michael Fay, a
frequent partner on the waves and a good friend. Fay was a commercial
real estate broker in Miami, and Crotty had been interested in the
field. Driving back from the beach, he told Fay he wanted to move into
the business after his 11-year basketball career.

A few months later, the two spoke again, and before long, Crotty, 40,
was learning the real estate world as a commercial associate at Fay’s
firm in Miami, Colliers Abood Wood-Fay. Now, after 11 seasons in the
NBA, including a stint with the Heat in 1996, the former point guard is
carving a niche in the Miami commercial real estate market.

“It seemed like a pretty natural fit for me,” said Crotty, who graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in history, and spent several off-seasons working in finance. “My wife is from South Florida, and I really wanted to be in one location after really traveling the predominant part of my early life. I wanted to give it a go here and wanted to try to get into real estate as opposed to coaching, which is something else I considered.”

A few years after starting with Colliers, Crotty, a New Jersey native, was named a partner. In the last three years, he has completed over $164 million in sales, most recently, a 54,000-square-foot space on South Dixie Highway that closed last week for $4.93 million in all cash, and the Waterscape Resort condo in Fort Walton Beach, which closed for $23.52 million at the beginning of the first quarter.

“[Crotty] started training with me and [fellow partner] Donna Abood, and started hitting it out of the park and doing very well,” Fay said. “Within several years, he was one of our top brokers. He knows how to practice good commercial real estate. He knows how to analyze, how to look at numbers, he knows how to sell — and in these complicated deals, how to bridge the gaps.”

While Crotty has made the transition into real estate, he has another job that keeps him tied to his other obvious passion, basketball. Crotty has been the radio analyst for the Miami Heat on WINZ 940 AM for five years. He broadcasts every home game, and about a dozen on the road, alongside veteran announcer Mike Inglis.

“I get a kick out of it when I talk to him now and then and say, ‘So how’s the other job going?’ Inglis said. “You can see he’s got a real passion for the real estate end of things. When he completes a deal or something goes right, it’s much like, I’m sure, when he played. He gets that excitement in business now; it’s sort of taken over for him not playing basketball anymore.”

Other basketball players can learn from Crotty’s choices, Inglis said.
“I think what he has done should be an example for players, that after basketball there is another life,” Inglis said.

Crotty spent some of his time as a player working with the NBA Players’ Association, and, to Inglis, was always thinking about his life after basketball.

“John never got the $20 million contract, but he had a very good living obviously, and I’m sure he’d tell you that. But he always thought about what was going to happen after this stage of his life. He’s still a young man and wants to do something with his life.”

Crotty, now a senior vice president and partner, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Coral Gables, said the radio work is a way to stay in touch with the game, even if it means a very full plate.

“It’s challenging,” Crotty said. “When you work a full day, an 8 a.m. to 5:30 day, then you go over to the arena, until 11 p.m., that makes for some long days.”

Crotty’s success in a short period has meant an easily recognizable name independent of his long playing career.

“People know him now more for his real estate skills than even a lot of his basketball,” Fay said, “because he’s created such a great name for himself in the real estate world.”


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