Super Bowl Champion Michael Strahan talks leveraging your personal brand for business success
After finding achieving massive success as an NFL player and top-ranked sportscaster, MICHAEL STRAHAN decided he wanted to do more. So, he co-founded SMAC Entertainment, a multi-dimensional talent management, music, branding and production company which has created a major presence in the sports and entertainment arena and began co-hosting the hit talk show LIVE with Kelly and Michael. Now he can be seen hosting Good Morning America and his own digital series Strayland and Close Talker. Leveraging his status as a men’s fashion icon, he has also introduced the hugely successful clothing and athleisure lines COLLECTION by MICHAEL STRAHAN and MSX.
His unlikely story and rise to media and business titan has been profiled in INC and Business Insider, where he credited curiosity, belief in oneself, and conviction with his unique success. In an interview with INC, he revealed: "I have found that trying to stick with what your gut feeling is important to me and my business, and what I've been able to do. If you're trying to pivot and you think there's a chance for you to pivot, stick with it."
Strahan is an inspiration to athletes and entrepreneurs of all kinds, and speaks eagerly to audiences about finding success in business, identifying your passion, and developing a personal brand. He also talks about his storied career; how to overcome self-doubt in order to follow your passion; perseverance in the workplace; how to achieve excellence in any of your personal ambitions; and details “Strahan’s Rules”—a mix of mental discipline, positive thinking, and a sense of play.
Two-time Emmy winner and Super Bowl Champion Michael Strahan co-hosts “GMA3: Strahan, Sara, & Keke,” the third hour of “Good Morning America”. Strahan hosts the top-rated primetime game show favorite “$100,000 Pyramid” on ABC, produced by SMAC Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television, which is currently airing in its fourth season. During the NFL football season, he also serves as an analyst of “Fox NFL Sunday,” for which he received a 2019 Sports Emmy Award nomination for ‘Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Analyst.’ Strahan headlines Thursday Night Football Pregame Show live from New York City alongside fellow Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Gonzalez, Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long. The Thursday Night Football Pregame Show airs at 7:30pm ET on the FOX Broadcast network and NFL Network, taking viewers up to kickoff.
Strahan also can be seen in his web series, “CloseTalker”. Up-close, uncomfortable, and unfiltered, Strahan takes interviewing to an awkwardly close level. The only thing worse than a close talker is a close talker with bad breath! In this series, he interviews and plays games with other celebrity guests at an uncomfortably close distance all while the fate of his breath lays in the hands of each episode’s guest.
Now partnered with longtime friend Constance Schwartz to form SMAC Entertainment, Strahan brings his skills, determination, leadership, experience and humor to the multi-dimensional talent management, music, branding, and production company. In addition to representing dynamic and globally recognized talent, SMAC produces strong and diversified content, most notably the Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Sports Awards, The Joker's Wild (TNT/TBS), ESPN 30 for 30: Deion’s Double Play (ESPN), Wiz Khalifa: Behind The Cam (Apple), Back In The Game (CNBC), Religion of Sports (AUDIENCE Network) and SMAC’s hit primetime gameshow The $100,000 Pyramid. Strahan, alongside writer Owen Smith and producer Lee Daniels, are set to release a new comedy series “Cupcake Men”. The series is inspired by the real-life story of former NFL players Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin, who opened a cupcake shop together in Austin, Texas. The project comes from Lee Daniels Entertainment and Strahan’s SMAC Productions in association with Disney siblings 20th Century Fox TV and ABC Studios. Previously announced in January 2019, SMAC Entertainment partnered up with Endemol Shine North of the U.K. for the development of the U.S version of “The Money Drop.” Strahan will serve as the executive producer on the upcoming series. SMAC will also be producing a Spectrum Originals scripted series starring Courtney Cox based on her character from the Netflix docuseries ‘Last Chance U.’
Since 2014, Strahan and SMAC have produced the highly rated and critically acclaimed Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, which returns for its sixth installment this summer. Additional projects have included the HBO documentary series “State of Play: Happiness,” which explored athletes’ retirement transition in relation to larger society, and “Play It Forward,” a documentary about famed football tight end Tony Gonzalez and his brother, which premiered as the opener of the 2015 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival and was acquired by Showtime. Strahan also co-executive produced “Tackle My Ride,” a series about current NFL players helping to restore dream rides for fellow auto enthusiasts. SMAC Entertainment recently inked an exclusive overall production partnership with ITV America. Through this partnership, the company will develop and produce a wide range of unscripted projects for television, OTT and digital platforms under the ITV America banner.
Prior to joining the ranks of the top sports broadcasters in the country, Strahan’s entire 15-year football career was typified by the charisma and sportsmanship that made him a seven-time Pro-Bowler and one of only four players ever to lead the NFL in sacks for two seasons. His spectacular NFL career resulted in Strahan being named to the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, the sport’s highest honor.
Strahan lead the New York Giants to a dramatic Super Bowl victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots in 2007. In 2001, Strahan completed what is widely considered to be one of the greatest seasons ever for a defensive player, breaking the 18-year-old NFL single season sack record with 22.5 sacks. His record still stands today. The charismatic leader of the New York Giants was named the NFL’s 2001 Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated and the 2001 Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press, making him the first New York Giant to win the award since Lawrence Taylor.
From 2012-2016, Strahan co-hosted the top-rated, nationally syndicated entertainment talk show “LIVE with Kelly and Michael.” Strahan and co-host Kelly Ripa were the co-winners of the 2015 and 2016 Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host.” In addition, Strahan was nominated for a 2014 Sports Emmy Award in the category of “Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Analyst.” Since joining “Good Morning America,” the morning show won the Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Morning Program” in 2017 and 2018.
Strahan also tackled the world of scripted network primetime television as the star of “Brothers,” a 30-minute sitcom on Fox from Sony Pictures Television. Strahan made a memorable cameo appearance in the hit film “Magic Mike XXL,” and lent his voice to the animated film “Ice Age: Collision Course.”
In 2015, Strahan released his best-selling book, “Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life,” which includes personal stories and motivational advice to inspire readers to turn up the heat and go from good to great in pursuit of their personal ambitions. The paperback edition was released in October 2016.
Acting on his entrepreneurial spirit, Strahan introduced COLLECTION by MICHAEL STRAHAN in the fall of 2015, a men’s clothing and accessories line and the recent addition of shoes, available exclusively at JCPenney. Capitalizing on the success of his partnership with JCP, Strahan launched MSX by Michael Strahan, a men’s Athleisure line, in May 2016, which is now also available for kids and has plans to expand into additional categories. In September 2017, Strahan partnered with JCP again to launch the Collection by Michael Strahan Luggage Set. Strahan recently launched a denim line in November 2018, perfecting an “every guy” straight fit in a wide range of washes and high-quality stretch material.
His partnership with SeeHer is the latest effort by Strahan to give back to the community, a commitment he has demonstrated while a football player and now as a TV star. Dedicated to many charitable works, Strahan donates his hands and heart to numerous charities including the USO, HELP USA and Merging Vets and Players. He has also donated his time and celebrity to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for whom he filmed holiday promotions.
Born in Houston, Texas, Strahan spent most of his youth in Germany, where his father Gene was stationed in the U.S. Army. Strahan returned to the U.S. for a portion of high school and soon was recruited to play football at Texas Southern University. As a senior at Texas Southern, Strahan was selected first team All-America by the Associated Press when he recorded a school-record 19 sacks and 62 tackles, 32 of which cost opposing teams 142 yards in combined losses.
Strahan recently launched MichaelStrahan.com, an immersive destination that highlights the unique world of Michael Strahan. The website showcases a behind the scenes tour that embodies the spirit and charisma of Michael himself, giving fans another piece of connective tissue to his alluring personality through news, photos and video series, as well as various wellness, fitness and health articles and more. The website is also home to “Strayland,” a weekly video series where Strahan takes fans on a tour of his mancave warehouse, highlighting his significant career memorabilia and accolades. You can join Strahan’s community and keep up with all his various projects, news and endeavors at http://www.michaelstrahan.com
A father of four, Strahan currently spends his time between New York and Los Angeles.