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Jesse Itzler

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Jesse Itzler
Itzler in 2018
Born (1968-08-22) August 22, 1968 (age 55)
Alma materAmerican University (B.A.) [1][2]
Occupation(s)Founder of The 100 Mile Group, entrepreneur, author, rapper, singer, songwriter
(m. 2008)

Jesse Itzler (born August 22, 1968) is an American entrepreneur, author, and rapper.[3] He is the co-founder of Marquis Jet, one of the largest private jet card companies in the world, a partner in Zico Coconut Water, the founder of The 100 Mile Group and one of the owners of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Jesse Itzler was born on August 22, 1968, to a Jewish family[6] and raised in Roslyn, New York,[7] on Long Island, the son of Daniel Itzler, an inventor, and Elese Itzler,[8] the president of the Roslyn Board of Education. Itzler earned his bachelor's degree in 1990 from American University. He later obtained a degree in justice, law, and society.[1][2] He was the youngest of three or four children, depending on the source.[9][10] Three generations of his father's family were raised in Brooklyn.[11]


Music career[edit]

After graduating from college, Itzler signed with Delicious Vinyl records as a songwriter/artist. He released his debut album Thirty Footer in Your Face using the pseudonym Jesse Jaymes in 1991. He co-wrote songs for various artists including Tone Lōc.[3] His first released single, "College Girls (Are Easy)", while not ranking on the Billboard Hot 100 chart did become a club anthem. This was followed by his second single "Shake It Like A White Girl", which did reach 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1991[12] and was featured in the soundtrack of the 2004 movie White Chicks.[13] In 1992, Itzler wrote and sang the New York Knicks theme song "Go NY Go"[14] as well as original songs for more than 50 other professional teams. Itzler wrote and sang the Emmy Award-winning song "I Love This Game" and also produced the theme song for Inside the NBA. Itzler is credited with campaigns for Foot Locker and Coca-Cola.[15]

Itzler's music partner was Dana Mozie, whom he met in 1987, a man described as being from a "strikingly different background... raised in the southeast section of Washington... as streetwise as Itzler was suburban," with whom he collaborated on several musical projects in his period as Jesse Jaymes.[2]


In 1996, Itzler co-founded Alphabet City Sports Records with his friend Kenny Dichter.[16] The record company is known for mixing classic arena songs with highlights of historical play-by-play calls for professional sports teams including the Wizards, the Mavericks, and the Lakers. In 1998, the company was sold to SFX.[17]

In 2001, Itzler co-founded Marquis Jet, one of the largest private jet card companies in the world.[18] Itzler served as the company's Vice Chairman until the company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, parent company of NetJets, in 2009.[4][19]

In 2009, Itzler created the 100 Mile Group, a brand incubator and accelerator.[20][21] The company announced a partnership with ZICO Coconut Water and the Coca-Cola company in 2009.[22] In 2012, ZICO was acquired by Coca-Cola for an undisclosed sum.[18]

In November 2015, Itzler released his book Living With a SEAL: 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on the Planet.[23] The book was a New York Times Best Seller and ranked first on the LA Times book list.[24][25] He released Living With the Monks: What Turning Off My Phone Taught Me about Happiness, Gratitude, and Focus in 2018.[26] Itzler is represented by literary agent Lisa Leshne of The Leshne Agency.[27]

Recently, he has begun to pursue keynote speaking.[28]

Atlanta Hawks[edit]

In 2015, Itzler and his wife, Sara Blakely were part of a group led by Tony Ressler along with Grant Hill, Steven Price, and Rick Schnall, that purchased the Atlanta Hawks for $850 million[29][30][31] from Bruce Levenson.[32][33][34]

Personal life[edit]

In 2006, Itzler competed in the USA National Ultra Marathon Championship in Grapevine, Texas, successfully completing a 100-mile run in under 24 hours.[35] Itzler finished 49th out of 80 in the SEA Paddle NYC 25 mile stand up paddle race around Manhattan in 2012.[36]

In 2008, Itzler married Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, at the Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca Grande, Florida.[18][37] The couple have four children and reside in Georgia.[38][39]


  1. ^ a b Reichley, Melissa, "Alumni Success Story: Go-Getter Itzler on Third Career: Marquis Jet", Alumni News, American University
  2. ^ a b c Rhoden, William C. (February 18, 1995). "Sports of The Times; Hip-Hop In Orange And Blue". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Janes, Erika Rasmusson (November 1, 2004). "NBA Idol: An Entrepreneur Raps His Way Into The Big Leagues". money.cnn.com. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Natalie Robehmed (January 14, 2014). "How To Pitch Successfully From Rapper-Turned-Entrepreneur Jesse Itzler". Forbes. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  5. ^ Atlanta Hawks Agree to Sell Team to Antony Ressler-Grant Hill Group. USA Today.Jeff Zillgitt. April 22, 2015. accessed February 9, 2016
  6. ^ Atlanta Jewish Times: "Jewish Investor Buying Hawks" by David R. Cohen April 29, 2015
  7. ^ Best, Neil (May 25, 2021). "He wrote the Knicks' 'Go New York' anthem of the mid-1990s. Now, Long Island's Jesse Itzler co-owns the Hawks". Newsday.
  8. ^ Kroll, Chana (July 20, 2009). "Jewish News: '100-Mile Man' Funds Educational Center for Underprivileged Children". Chabad.org.
  9. ^ Rhoden, William C (February 18, 1995). "Sports of The Times; Hip-Hop In Orange And Blue". The New York Times. p. A.29. ProQuest 430065520. Retrieved May 18, 2024.
  10. ^ Scooby Axson (June 2, 2021). "Hawks co-owner Jesse Itzler, who wrote Knicks anthem, will see his NBA worlds collide again in Game 5". USA Today. ProQuest 2535769381. Retrieved May 19, 2024.
  11. ^ Frankel, Bethenny (June 17, 2021). "Episode Transcript". Just B. iHeartMedia. Retrieved May 18, 2024.
  12. ^ Billboard Hot 100 [1] Original: Week of February 01, 1992, Referenced: February 22, 2011
  13. ^ "White Chicks Soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  14. ^ Erika Rasmusson Janes (November 1, 2004). "NBA Idol: An entrepreneur raps his way into the big leagues". CNN Money. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  15. ^ Executive Transactions. Street and Smith's Sports Business Daily. November 1, 2001. accessed February 9, 2016
  16. ^ Billboard Magazine May 17, 1997 [2] By Gina Van Der Viliet via Google Books accessed February 22, 2011
  17. ^ Alphabet City Alums Soar After Selling Firm to SFX. Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal. Andy Bernstein. December 9, 2002. accessed February 9, 2016
  18. ^ a b c "This Rapper From The Nineties Has A Sick New Startup". Business Insider. November 11, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  19. ^ Teresa Novellino (October 31, 2013). "Good music, great grub? Vowch it to friends, says Jesse Itzler". Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  20. ^ American Booty. Forbes. Clare O'Connor. March 7, 2002. accessed February 9, 2016
  21. ^ Following A Winner:Tracking The Investment Profile of Super Investor Isaac Blech.Reuters. Scott Matusow. September 20, 2012. accessed February 9, 2016
  22. ^ Coca-Cola Finishes Purchase of Majority ZICO Stake. Bevnet. April 11, 2012. accessed February 9, 2016
  23. ^ What You Learn Living One Month With a Navy SEAL. CBS News. November 9, 2015. accessed February 9, 2016
  24. ^ "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous". The New York Times. November 20, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  25. ^ "Paperback Nonfiction". Los Angeles Times. November 20, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  26. ^ Living with the Monks: What Turning off My Phone Taught Me about Happiness, Gratitude, and Focus. Center Street. 29 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Jesse Itzler – the Leshne Agency".
  28. ^ "Jesse Itzler".
  29. ^ "NBA unanimously approves sale of Atlanta Hawks" (Press release). National Basketball Association. June 24, 2015. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  30. ^ "Hawks finalizing sale with billionaire Antony Ressler". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  31. ^ NBA: "Group Led By Tony Ressler Completes Purchase of Atlanta Hawks" June 25, 2015 | "Other investors include seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill, who will serve as Vice Chair of the Board, Townsquare Media Chair and CEO Steven Price, Clayton Dubilier & Rice partner Rick Schnall, and Spanx founder Sara Blakely and Marquis Jet co-founder Jesse Itzler, who are married"
  32. ^ Bloomberg: "NBA Governors Approve $730 Million Hawks Sale to Ressler's Group" By Scott Soshnick and Zeke Faux June 24, 2015
  33. ^ "Atlanta Hawks Sold to Ares' Ressler for $850 million, Group Includes Sara Blakely and Grant Hill". Atlanta Business Chronicle. April 24, 2015. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  34. ^ Atlanta Hawks Selling for $850 Million. The Wall Street Journal. Ben Cohen. April 22, 2015. accessed February 9, 2016
  35. ^ Abramson, Mitch (January 6, 2007). "Nothing's Impossible, Not Even 100 Miles in 24 Hours". Newsday. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  36. ^ Parker, Christopher (August 17, 2012). "[RESULTS] Rojas, Anderson Win The 2012 SEA Paddle NYC". SUP Racer. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  37. ^ Atlanta Weddings (Atlanta Magazine): Spanx inventor Sarah Blakely on her wedding day" by Vikki Locke Archived 2013-04-18 at the Wayback Machine October 18, 2008
  38. ^ The Wall Street Journal (New York): "A Day in the Life of Spanx's Founder Sara Blakely" by Christopher Ross August 14, 2014
  39. ^ The Observer (London): "Sara Blakely: a woman with a great grasp of figures" by Zoe Wood March 10, 2012

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