Donte Davis went from living out of his car to running two businesses and bringing up those around him… And he’s not done yet. Learn about his journey below. #UTIOMInfluencers
When I first met the founder of Good Boy Committee at a ramen place in downtown DC, I had no idea what to expect. Sure, I’d seen the Instagram posts with beautiful models and I followed their moves online, but I had no idea who was behind the brand.
In walks Donte Davis, a larger than life former wide receiver who immediately becomes friends with the lady behind the counter and the guy sitting nearby enjoying lunch alone. He fills the whole space with his personality. When he finishes his meal, Davis gives his leftovers to a homeless man outside.
“It don’t take a lot to make me happy, man,” Davis says. “We were living in Wagener, South Carolina, homeless. So to make it out of that, to college, professional football, making my own clothing line, and to be in stores… it’s crazy. Where I’m from, people never leave.”
His parents would tell Davis and his brother, Travis (or simply, “Trav”), not to tell classmates they were homeless for fear that the teachers would discover their situation and report them to the authorities.
Eventually, his father began selling drugs and hustling for the infamous drug lord Rayful Edmond. Soon, he made enough money to move the family to Northern Virginia, a region known for its good schools.
“As a kid, I didn’t really know what was going on with all that. I was just living life,” Davis says. “I don’t condone what he did, necessarily. But looking back, I admire him for doing whatever he had to do to make a better life for us.”
Davis’ father, who had played football at South Carolina State, inspired him to pick up the pigskin. “We’d play so often as kids that we’d come home and the bathtub would be filled to the brim with dirt,” he says, laughing heartily.
Davis grew into a star athlete—he went on to play at Syracuse University and professionally for two seasons on the Montreal Alouettes. It was at Syracuse when Davis first got the idea for his clothing line. He started calling his closest confidants his “good boys.” When newcomers would ask if they could don the title, Davis would reply, “Nah, you’re not on the committee.” The name stuck.
He made 100 shirts and sold them in the student cafeteria with a friend. “They sold out in 30 minutes,” he says.
Today, the clothing line is a brand, it’s a movement, and it’s… well, a committee. They host parties and events in New York, Miami, and LA, and fly to Agenda Shows to get their name out there. At one show, they attracted enough attention with their high-energy team, other brand representatives came to the Good Boy Committee booth “just to hang out with us all day,” Davis says.
But that’s not all. Davis also owns and operates a nonprofit organization, Choppin’ The Field, which hosts free youth football training camps for inner-city kids. The kids get football gear, full training sessions, a chance to meet professional players, and even go through personal finance workshops.
Things come full circle when Davis heads to the poorest neighborhoods he can find, including his hometown in South Carolina, to run camps. Some of the young athletes don’t have shoes when they show up, but through a sponsorship with Under Armor, they get their own pair of cleats. “We go around and bless all these families because I knew how it was being poor—I came from that,” Davis says. “I knew what it was like to not be able to go to a camp, even though you’re probably better than everybody at the camp.”
Reminiscing on his days playing for Syracuse, Davis remembers scoring the winning touchdown against a Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate-led Notre Dame on their Senior Day. Oh, and there were only 20 seconds left in the game. “They were throwing snowballs at me, but it was cool. I just came in and did what I had to do,” he says.
Davis and his teammates would come home and host parties, but they didn’t have a place to stay. “My friends wanted to stay with me and didn’t care that I lived in a car. We’d shower in apartment pool bathrooms, get dressed, and go about our day. But those were some of the best years of our lives, man.”
And in the same way, Davis and his committee still take the party with them wherever they go.