Canadian Built: Randy Rozaay
To say Randy Osei is just an NBA player-manager would be a huge understatement. As a celebrated athlete, businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Randy - aka Randy Rozaay - is not only a natural-born hustler, but a master of getting sh*t done.
Randy has more NBA players numbers than a Kardashian, but is easily 3-times cooler than Kim or Khloe. He started his own career playing professional ball throughout university, exploring Canada and building connections. After hanging up his Jordans in 2013, Randy took the first step towards creating his own company, Rozaay Management.
Today, Rozaay Management is so much more than a sports management company, creating and throwing events, working with charity organizations, and helping others chase their hoop dreams.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you started up Rozaay Management.
A: I started with one player in 2013, the #1 pick in that year’s draft, Anthony Bennett. I stopped playing college basketball that year due to injury and jumped right into this new role. I built my brand by being really available and continuously adding value to my clients’ brands. There are so many things athletes need help with; being there, executing projects, and making things happen goes a long way. I ended up working with Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis and stepped into a larger management position. By 2015, I made enough connections and learned enough about the industry to start my own company. Rozaay Management still manages, but we also throw events, partner with brands, create marketing strategies, do PR and creative work.
Q: What’s a typical day look like for you?
A: I get this question a lot - it definitely changes from day to day but I usually start my day with prayer, thanking God for the ability to do his work. I like to read for about 20-minutes to get inspired; right now I’m reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. After that, I usually head out to a workout, get a good sweat going, shower, change and hop on my laptop for about 10:00 a.m. Throughout the day I’m working on projects, events, planning schedules, planning camps for the bulk of the day. I save the evening for meetings and usually cap off the day by going to a Raptors game or watching clients games on T.V. I travel a lot, so I try to take a lot of time for myself.
Q: How many players do you represent? What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
A: I’m working with three right now: Dillon Brooks, Thon Maker and Khem Birch. The most exciting thing I’ve ever worked on would have to be one of my NBA All-Star parties. I threw this big party at Brassaii and thought nothing of it. We had some big Toronto players attending, so the club reached capacity at 12:00 a.m. Allen Iverson ended up hearing about it and came up to the door at 12:30, the same time the police did. I had police officers tell me they would shut down the party if one more person walked through, so I had to look A.I. in his face and tell him, “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do.” He was cool about it though.
Q: What are some of the highs and lows of doing what you do?
A: There are always going to be challenges when you work with people; people have different opinions of how things should be or look, whether it’s event planning or brand strategy. Travelling can be its own challenge too, in that you can miss a flight due to something that’s out of your control. When you have a lot of projects on, it can be frustrating to waste time like that.
As my own boss, I’m doing a lot of work for no pay sometimes - at least not right away. With office jobs, you know if you clock in from 9-5 you’re getting a cheque for those hours work, where with my business I can work 6 hours and not see that pay. Managing your time is definitely a challenge, it’s all about prioritizing projects and putting things in perspective. Taking things day by day is literally the way I manage my tasks. I make sure I complete what I need to for the day while also making time for friends and family. I do however get to make my own schedule. I’m not controlled by an alarm clock or someone else’s agenda. I do what I want - whether it's working all night or allowing myself to sleep in, though I can’t remember the last time I did that...
But mostly, I really enjoy being apart of someone else’s success; it brings me excitement and keeps me going throughout the day. For example, we just made a mini-documentary for Dillon Brooks since he was coming back home to Toronto. I thought of the idea and was able to produce it. We had a bunch of great scenes from Dillon stopping at his old high school to having dinner with his mom. That idea took a lot of phone calls, emails, and meetings but we knocked it out this past weekend. Putting everything together and sharing it with the rest of the world brings me joy. This was just a thought in my head and now everyone gets to enjoy that. Being apart of different projects and having those ideas mature to fruition is amazing.
Q: What does chasing your Hoop Dream mean to you?
A: When I was younger, chasing my hoop dream meant getting a scholarship to play basketball at school - which I did. My dream was to become a prominent guard in CIS, then going overseas to play internationally. Playing basketball in university allowed me to see different parts of Canada that I otherwise would’ve never explored. I learned how to network and build relationships - many of which I still have to this day. A hoop dream now for me is helping others reach their goals. Rick Ross said, “How many people you bless is how you measure success,” and I really believe in that. I want to see other people succeed and give back to their communities.
Q: Our tagline is #GarmentsThatGiveAF - It's really important for us to give back to our community with every purchase. You recently ran a @rmbooksneakerdrive. Can you tell us more about this?
A: In 2016, I went to Ghana for the first time. My parents are from Ghana and I’d never been before. The first day I got there, I cried. Just to see where my parents were from and where they grew up. I got to go through the country and see the kids, so many of them living in poverty. Here they were in this intense heat selling water to me to make sure that I was hydrated. I thought, “That easily could’ve been me.” I knew from that moment on I had to give back. I sat down and started to plan to try and see what I could do with my projects at hand. I was going to do a general sneaker drive, but I wanted to make sure I was contributing to education too so we collected sneakers, books and general donations.
We put on some great events to get Toronto involved and raise money for charity. We organized charity bootcamp classes and workouts, so people could get a good sweat while donating to a good cause. A high school in Mississauga wanted to pay me to do a speech on building your own business and being entrepreneurial, but I insisted they donate to our charity instead. All of these initiatives add something to the community while also helping others.
I always want to give back to Toronto because Toronto’s given back to me. From November-January, Rozaay Management has done 12 events and we don’t plan on stopping. I’m going to Africa March 31st to April 9th to visit some orphanages and give back as much as possible.
Q: Do you think about Toronto and where it's heading over the next couple years with Basketball and Popular Culture?
A: Toronto’s always been the spot - the rest of the world is just figuring that out. Drake, The Weeknd, Partynextdoor, Daniel Caesar, Jazz Cartier, Phab and Friyie...We have all these incredible music artists and basketball players. All of the talent is coming from here and people are paying attention.
I think a lot of people like to say that the 6 is on a wave and it’s true. Toronto for me is easily one of the top 3 cities in North America. The multiculturalism we have in this one little hotbed is amazing to see. Not only are do we celebrate different cultures all together, we still get to have our individuality in our own pockets of the city. We have Little Italy, Greektown, Chinatown, a strong Carribean city that you can feel in our language and dialect. Toronto is one of the best cities in the world; I’ll take our harsh winters if I can have summers at Cabana. This Toronto wave has a long, long wavelength. I’m excited to see what else is coming.
Q:Top place to bring clients at in Toronto?
A: Spice Route
Q: Favourite spot to celebrate a Raptors’ win?
Q: Where can we get the best cocktail in the city?
A: Entice Lounge
Q: What’s your best recent Toronto discovery?
A: Kensington Market - I’ve heard of it, I just didn’t know it was so cool. When I come downtown, I’m there for a meeting or an event, not to explore. It’ll be cool to check it out when it’s warmer too.
Q: Drake or The Weeknd?
A: I absolutely love the Weeknd but...Drake raps. So I have to say Drake.
Location: Entice Culinary Lounge
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