SSJ Group, LLC

Steve Jbara is a driven, innovative entrepreneur whose business interests lie in sports, advertising, finance and technology.


Steve Jbara is a driven, innovative entrepreneur whose business interests lie in sports, advertising, finance and technology.

He is the founder and president of the Grand Rapids Gold (formerly the Drive), the Denver Nuggets’ affiliate in the NBA G-League (formerly the Development League). Steve also serves as CEO of Atomic Honey, a Detroit-based advertising agency, and Chief Strategy Officer of WaitTime, a startup based in the Motor City that has developed artificial intelligence software capable of providing real-time insights into crowd behavior at sporting events.

Additionally, Steve Jbara is the Chief Strategy Officer for Air Company, a CO2 technology firm based in Brooklyn and known for producing carbon-negative vodka. That is done by capturing and converting the carbon dioxide involved in the manufacturing process of such alcohol and using it to produce other products, including the glucose NASA is developing as a food source in space.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2013, three years after his graduation from Trine University in Angola, Ind. That’s when Steve Jbara bought a Development League team that had been based in Springfield, Mass., and moved it to Grand Rapids. It began play the following year as an affiliate of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and immediately turned a profit, something never before seen in the soon-to-be-rechristened G-League.

On his watch, the team also vaulted to No. 1 in the league in merchandise sales while hovering in the top five in sponsorship revenue and gate receipts. 

In 2021 the team entered into a hybrid arrangement with the Nuggets, with the parent club taking charge of basketball operations and Steve Jbara and his team of investors – an LLC known as the SSJ Group – continuing to oversee business operations and community engagement.

Jbara’s foray into basketball served as a springboard for other business ventures. He started and sold two startups, one in the CO2 recycling space and focused on microbreweries, the other a tech startup focused on peer-influenced shopping. The latter was acquired by Amazon.

In 2019 Steve Jbara launched Atomic Honey, an advertising agency that uses a services-for-equity model to foster startups’ growth. The company has established a national footprint, as it has partnered with 25 companies across the U.S.

Steve Jbara, a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., earned degrees in marketing and computer science from Trine University in 2010. He spent the next four years working for the Ford Motor Company and R.L. Polk in Detroit. The latter provides insights and data to the automotive industry.

Steve Jbara currently sits on the Detroit Sports Commission, the Gilmore Car Museum Board, Double-Down Development Board, the NBA’s Team Leadership Committee, The G League’s NBA Broadcast Committee, Endeavor Detroit BOD, Leaders for Kids Board of Directors, Green Door Distillery BOD, Yote BOD. He is a board member at the Special Olympics of MI and Brilliant Detroit.

A licensed helicopter pilot, Steve Jbara uses his aircraft to travel between his various enterprises.



Grand Rapids Gold


Atomic Honey

Copious Capital

Green Door Distilling, Co.

Air Company