Josh Childress isn’t afraid to go against the grain.
The former NBA guard-forward is probably best known for leaving the league after four successful seasons in Atlanta to play in Greece in an uncommon move that made him the highest-paid player overseas. Thirteen years later, Childress finds himself taking another unique path—running a real estate investment fast break.
“I’ve always found value in trying to create my own lane,” he said. “I love the game, and it has provided a fantastic life for me and my family, but I always felt like there was more to my story than the game of basketball.”
The former lottery pick out of Stanford always balked at coaching jobs or front-office roles when he retired four years ago. Instead, Childress and his former Stanford teammate, Justin Davis, opted in 2018 to start their real estate fund, LandSpire Group, with the mission of revitalizing underserved communities of color.
The Compton, Calif., native looks to expand his company’s portfolio of multimillion-dollar projects, ranging from apartments in Las Vegas to movie studios in Chicago, thanks to some added horsepower and the expansive network at private equity firm TPG.
The $10-billion asset manager is entering its second year incubating LandSpire through the TPG NEXT initiative, which provides growth capital to diverse businesses. Childress, alongside Davis and general counsel Treana Allen, are fully immersed in TPG’s real estate team as the first Investors-in-Residence.
With TPG as its anchor investor, Childress says LandSpire plans to launch a fund in the second half of this year with a target of raising $500 million. The CEO is taking the challenge of recreating himself in this next phase of life—leveraging his black-owned fund to impact the lives of minorities. Childress runs a for-profit company but says placing more capital in the hands of diverse allocators is at the forefront.
“It’s about getting them more access and opportunity in the commercial real estate space and a greater understanding of the various lanes you can take to be successful,” he said of the partnership, which also allows LandSpire to co-invest with TPG. “That’s just as much part of our mission as anything else.”
Childress, 38, believes more athletes should venture into commercial real estate, which provides the chance to create generational wealth if done properly. He joins Magic Johnson, Jim Jackson, Devean George, Grant Hill and other former NBA players who have turned their focus to economic inclusiveness via real estate.
Childress is also studying the trend of real-estate developments anchored by sports arenas and stadiums. One of his business partners is RAJ Capital founder Alex Bhathal, a co-owner of the Sacramento Kings. Bhathal’s firm owns the Kings’ Golden 1 Center and the surrounding entertainment district.
Childress, who played eight NBA seasons, says building relationships with municipalities and scaling his business with help from TPG is key before taking on similar multibillion-dollar projects. In the meantime, he looks to leverage his TPG relationships to bolster his company’s overall commitment. Those connections could assist him in diversifying his portfolio in sports franchise ownership.
The former McDonald’s All-American already owns a stake in an Australian pro basketball team, South East Melbourne Phoenix, alongside former NBA stars Zach Randolph and Al Harrington. The Phoenix ownership group is headed by Los Angeles-based real estate investor and friend Romi Chaudhari.
TPG co-founder David Bonderman owns the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and is a minority owner of the Boston Celtics. Childress said he hasn’t had the chance to meet the TPG chairman (Bonderman) yet but is interested in learning more about the business of sports and admires how former NBA stars like Dwyane Wade and Hill have successfully transitioned to team governorship.
“Continuing to learn about the sports business ecosystem is a big motivation because I’ve seen the trajectory change over the years,” he said. “Sports is one of the last types of programming that is much better to watch live or in person, and with content consumption at an all-time high, the landscape is evolving rapidly.”
(This story has updated its headline from a prior version.)