Owner, Grand Rapids Drive
Steve Jbara is President and Founder of the Grand Rapids Drive, the Detroit Pistons’ affiliate NBA G League (formerly NBA Development League) team. In 2014, Steve established the SSJ Group, which is the controlling LLC of the Grand Rapids Drive. This group consists of over 28 C level/business owners from across the country with the sole purpose of owning and operating the Drive. The Drive became the first team in NBA G League history to turn a profit in its inaugural season. Steve has been able to raise metrics for the front office to top 5 in the league in sponsorship revenue, gate receipts, and #1 in team gear/branded items. Steve has started and sold 2 additional companies; one in the CO2 recycling space (focused in microbreweries) and the other a tech startup focused on social status peer influencing shopping based recently acquired by Amazon. Steve is currently working opening a distillery in Brooklyn with C02 distilling technology.
In addition to his duties with the GR Drive, in 2016 Steve took on a new challenge at Jekyll & Hyde Advertising in Detroit. This COO role consists of managing the agency’s entrepreneurial sector which focuses on investment in CPG startup and challenger brands through the agencies internal assets. Steve also is working as on another Detroit startup, WaitTime, which has developed a crowd intelligence software platform for sports and performance venues. Over the last three years, Steve has served as the Managing Director at Migration Asset Management where he continues to build and develop the company’s Midwest clients. Steve has capitalized on his growing network in the Midwest to substantially grow the company’s foundation clients. From 2010 to 2014, Steve worked for R.L. Polk and the Ford Motor Company in Detroit. In this capacity, Steve was responsible for multiple brand campaign projects and automotive related marketing analytical projects.
A graduate of Trine University with a BA in Marketing and Computer Science, Steve was a finalist for NBA Development League Executive of the Year in 2015, News Maker of the Year 2017 and named to the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honoree list in 2017. Steve also was finalist in the 2018 Leukemia Lymphoma Man of the Year for his efforts in a 4 month fundraiser. Steve currently sits on the West Michigan Sports Commission Advisory Committee, the Detroit Sports Commission, the Gilmore Car Museum Board, Double-Down Development Board, the NBA’s Team Leadership Committee, The G League’s NBA Broadcast Committee, Endeavor Detroit, Leaders for Kids Advisory Committee, and is a board member at Special Olympics of MI.
Steve is currently in the process of vetting other opportunities for the SSJ Group. These potential investments include minor league baseball, NHL hockey, MLS, and real-estate developments.