Fred VanVleet has had a busy year. He has played for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors in the playoffs, he started a new restaurant and recently released a new rap album, Raw Rock. But it seems that the NBA star does have some free time, and because of that he is showing his skills with the camera.
VanVleet has launched a new YouTube channel called Pilot Right, which is dedicated to sharing his journey from undrafted free agent to one of the NBA’s top point guards, as well as his life as a new father and his new restaurant. VanVleet, 25, says his main goal is to share stories people might not have heard before.
This is his first time putting his own brand out there.
“The idea was to have a platform where I could put a face to my name,” he says. “I want to provide content that provides an interesting view, not only on our business but other business owners.”
Pilot Right’s Youtube channel is its home base, but it also broadcasts the PopSugar TV show It’s Not You, It’s Me, in which VanVleet sits down with other entrepreneurs to talk about their business.
On Monday night, VanVleet will star in a first-person documentary show, Chef Fred VanVleet, on YouTube’s Epic Meal Time channel. The show features VanVleet discussing his business along with other chefs around the world, and will feature some Epic Meal Time dishes on stage.
Though VanVleet says that this isn’t a promotional push for his own restaurant, Dali, or even PopSugar TV, the documentary “feels like a promotional push for PopSugar,” he admits.
“PopSugar’s been doing really cool stuff with their network and stuff like that, so I thought it would be cool to get a foot in the door and have a conversation that could end up with us doing something.”
VanVleet launched his pop-up restaurant in Toronto this year, Pop’s Pop, and he says that when he brought his idea to PopSugar’s parent company Hearst in an effort to get on the show, they said, “Sure, go for it.”
At the same time, VanVleet’s friends became concerned when he went without work for four months over the summer, as he was tending to his new restaurant, Pop’s Pop.
“I was hurting,” he says. “It was a big struggle. I had to work my ass off. It’s hard, especially being a young kid out here.”
VanVleet says he dealt with it by being open with people about the issue, and saying, “I’m going to be smart with this. We’re in a labor force where you have to teach people how to work. I’m not gonna run into anybody that doesn’t want to help.”
VanVleet’s Pop’s Pop opened at the end of September. He hopes that the full experience of the restaurant will lead people to come back for repeat visits.