Believing in Her Dream & Herself, Meet Niesha Butler, Basketball Player, Actress & CEO of ScrapSports
Q: How old were you when you developed an interest in Basketball?
NB: I was 9 years old. My dad taught me.
Q: You put up some amazing numbers in your high-school days … do you still hold records for points scored?
NB: Yes, I do still hold the record for NYC men and women. (the men’s #1 changed though since I broke it, not Kenny Anderson anymore).
Q: Tell us where life took you after you graduated from high school.
NB: LOL A lot of places. I lived overseas when I played ball, I worked on NYMEX for the largest clearing house in crude oil and natural gas, starred in a couple movies & commercials, and started a tech company. you know, the normal things lol
Q: Did you ever think that being an actress was going to be a part of your career? Share with our audience some of the roles you stared in.
NB: My mother always loved acting and my family, and I are movie lovers. She was a huge fan of Spike Lee. It's on IMDB the ones that I actually starred but the most notable one people prob know me for is getting the lead in Love and Basketball and not being able to do it because of the NCAA.
Q: Tell us the biggest challenge you’ve faced in life and how you embraced it?
NB: I lost my mother too soon. I do not embrace it and would not wish that on my worst enemy, but she left me with a path forward.
Q: Share with us your experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Do you have a success story you can share with us?
NB: I love BBBS. I have a little and she is grown now, I guess. Zenobia Tuner has grown into such a lovely young lady. She is on her way to college actually this will be her freshman year and I am so proud of her. In whatever way I helped her get there, it was a blessing to me as well. Mentoring is a very important part of my life … it is something that brings me joy. I have mentors as well as being one.
Q: Tell us how ScrapSports evolved?
NB: When my mom passed away, I found out that she kept a scrapbook of all of my sports history. She kept like every photo, some trophies, even some of my high point game sneakers. Finding this prompted me to call and try and find some of my old teammates, take pics of pics so I could post on my social media accounts. These memories and a record of them had tremendous value to me. I blended my love and technology in building a digital platform where sports memories can be recorded, and I could give everyone that lovely feeling that my mom gave me by scrapbooking my sports memories.
Q: Where do you see ScrapSports five years from now?
NB: Being bought by Amazon! :) Hee-hee Jeff Bezos lol
Q: What are some of the best practices you have employed to enjoy a successful career?
NB: Stay the course put in the work and dream big!
Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?
NB: My dad was really psyched when I broke the NYC scoring record. He was happy but he said to me “you could have scored more if I didn't miss the first 10 games of my senior year.” LOL I was like dad I tore my PCL ... smh. I like moments where other people get happy about - that makes me happy. My AAU coach Walter Welch was pretty psyched when I received Rookie of the Year in the ACC, but he did say “I should have scored more if I was in better shape, even though I led the league in scoring as a freshman. Between these two I stay humble, but they love me, so I get my kicks when I see them smile.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
NB: You will get setbacks. that’s a given. Get over it, go through them with grace, then get back on track.
Q: What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success?
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
NB: My mother. She was an immigrant; teenage pregnancy and she is my inspiration because she never took no for an answer. She preserved became a nurse, owned her own home, traveled the world and it was truly the best blessing in my life that she was my mom.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
NB: I think the biggest challenge we face is with ourselves. Defining who we are, not wanting permission or feeling odd about wanting more for ourselves.
Q: What's your advice for women in male-dominated fields?
NB: I think it is a benefit. We have a different point of view and we are consumers, so we know what sells. Know your shit ladies!
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
NB: I think young people should not be afraid to make a mistake. Go for it, try new things. It is not the end of the world if you make a mistake so don’t be afraid to. Learn from it and move on.
Five Things About Niesha Butler
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Jesus, I mean he would have the best stories’
2. If you were a superhero, what would your special powers be?
I would want to have the ability to save lives and improve the quality of life people.
3. Who’s been your biggest influence in your life?
My parents have the biggest influence over my life. They taught me how to love, learn, laugh and live with purpose and become the woman that I am today.
Warner Leroy had the biggest influence over my business aspirations because he was such a cool man, believed in me and was a lover of sports. I was friends with his daughter Jennifer Leroy in high school and she is a successful entrepreneur as well. My parents allowed me to go to take your daughter to workday with him and he opened up my eyes to what was possible. It wasn’t just that he was the owner of Tavern on the Green or that his dad was the Warner in Warner Brothers. He was his own man; he gave me that first take on the business world. He made me feel anything was possible for me. Will always love him and his family for that and they took me on my first trip to Disney World! lol
4. If they made a movie of your life, who’d play you?
Me lol! Real talk I really like Yara Shahidi and Amandla Stenberg. They are really superstars and I can't wait to see any movie they make.
5. What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you?
Know who you are, stay the course, do the work and smile because life is a gift.