There is always much debate over athletes establishing themselves as a brand, and what the viability i.of “brand athlete” when he or she is injured or not performing well or moves from city to city.Jerome “Big Dog” Williams, who parlayed a journeyman NBA career into a series of businesses, investments and charitable endeavors or even Bob Uecker, who played a somewhat subpar MLB career into acting, announcing and endorsements. The ability to think beyond the game days, to network with executives and fans when an athlete is an a favorable position in a market, to ask questions and to have an understanding of his or her value at that given moment are all keys to building out success.the days of getting a check for a straigh. endorsement are gone.digital ventures have popped up with athletes taking lead roles in branding and developing as well as looking at the b to b and social networking aspects o.what value each athlete would hold both in his community and amongst his peers.ePlay, the social networking and brand building site developed by CAA, which now has the second round of funding to expand the site and its ability to brand athletes (with some select athletes showing the savvy to reinvest in their brands themselves). The second platform that is buolding out is ProPlayer Connect, a b to b and athlete to athlete connection where savvy athletes building their brands can connect with the business and fan marketplace for business opportunities and advice beyond their careers, and where companies looking to work with athletes beyond the game can source candidates. Both are great examples of the new leverage beyond the field the athlete has at their fingertips, and how smart business plays can and hopefully will fulfill athlete and business partner concerns with very streamlined connections and opportunities going forward.Businessweek TV is an underutilized digital and syndicated TV play for many sports business stories…those knowing how to pitch and place can find themselves in a very good spot with a solid platform, the latest example is a well done story on the AVP Crocs Tour, with the video link here…the Washingon Post has a good q and a with NBC Digital head Perkins Miller breaking down the network's beijing digital play…the Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck has a funny article on the name pronunciation problem certain athletes encounter…Media Post has good detail on an X Games promo complex.com is running…and the Charlotte Observer has a good piece on the issues the USA Women's hoops team is going to face going forwar.with th.growth of pro leagues abroad…?