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Growing up Thomas Fields dreamed of going to the NBA. To perfect his skills, Thomas would practice shooting a basketball constantly. In order to get in the coach-recommended amount of shots, he would need hours of practice every day due to the amount of time he would spend chasing the ball after shooting. While his high school had an expensive shooting machine that would help by returning the balls, thus cutting down on the time needed to set up in between shots, he did not have access to it because it was always locked in the school’s gym. Thomas recognized that shooting machines were expensive and not something his family was likely able to afford, no matter how supportive of his basketball career they were. After tearing his ACL four times before the end of his high school career, Thomas recognized that his chances of going to the NBA were slipping away, but his ability to provide for his family from his love of the game didn’t have to.

Thomas has designed and commercialized the lowest-cost shooting machine on the market. Offering a convenient payment plan, Grind Basketball is designed with working-class families in mind. This portable and collapsible shooting machine can easily be set up below any basketball goal, collecting both made and missed shots and returning them back, drastically reducing time in between shots. This means more time to practice the skills that matter most from anywhere on the arc. On the market for only five months, Grind Basketball has sold $215,000 in shooting machines through pre-sales. With the products in manufacturing and fulfillment, Thomas is now focused on growing his company and came to the Shark Tank seeking a partner willing to invest $250,000 in exchange for 5% equity in Grind Basketball.

Although both Mark Cuban and Alex Rodriguez love the product and Thomas’ story, they are concerned that the margins are too low. In Thomas’ commitment to offering an affordable shooting machine, he has cut back in profits which makes it difficult for an investor to get a return on their investment. Barbara Corcoran feels that she can help from the business logistics and marketing side if Mark Cuban is able to help promote the product and make a name for it in the market. The Sharks together agree to invest $250,000 in exchange for 25% equity. Although that is more equity than he was initially willing to give up, Thomas agrees to Mark and Barbara’s offer.

What did you think of Mark and Barabara’s deal with Grind Basketball? If you were a Shark, would you have invested in Thomas’s company? Start the conversation in the comments below!