‘Unassuming’ ex-tennis pro hooks up NBA players with hot rides

“Guys like working with him because he’s an unassuming, humble dude who doesn’t talk about his clients,” Billups says. “He just works hard to make things happen.”

Delaney founded Celebrity Auto Group in Sarasota, Fla., in 2006, soon after his tennis career stalled. Since then, he has built a portfolio of around 125 to 150 clients, mostly NBA players. He has harnessed a steady flow of trade-ins to build an online, exotic-car showroom, which has become the company’s growth engine. Total revenue surged 71 percent last year to $16.2 million.

He hatched the idea while training with basketball players and other athletes at a fitness facility in Sarasota. In occasional chats about exotic cars, many would share their bad experiences of having been ripped off by a broker or dealer.

“Nobody was trying to build a business around these guys’ needs, not really thinking that they’re capable of buying eight or 10 cars

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