The life of an NBA star is among the most fascinating in all of sports. Basketball stars get paid the most money and have the highest profile. Athletes have to wear helmets in other sports that prevent their face recognition. Factor in that the NBA actually wants the players to be the stars of the league. The NFL is often criticized for trying to stifle the individualism of the stars in exchange for making the teams and the league itself the most valuable assets. NBA teams rely on their stars being bigger than the actual brand many times as seen with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden today.
Unfortunately, not every NBA star will get to live off their riches for the rest of their lives. Most stars do make enough money and save it to live comfortably once their career ends. A small percentage of players do make unfortunate decisions to blow through their money or are forced to leave the league faster than expected. We’ll take a look at that side of the story regarding players that had to find a new career. These fifteen former NBA players now work regular jobs like most of us in hopes of paying the bills.
15. Vin Baker – Works As A Pastor
Four-time All-Star Vin Baker had a strong run towards the end of the 90s as one of the best big men in the NBA. Baker unfortunately took a downward spiral when battling alcoholism that ultimately influenced the end of his career. The years after his NBA career ended featured Baker getting help to overcome his addiction and starting a new path.
Baker is currently working as a pastor at his father’s church in between appearances for Fox Sports as an analyst on college basketball broadcasts. Recently, he worked as a manager at a Starbucks location before moving into the new jobs. Baker also has a gig as the basketball director of Camp Greylock. The various jobs of Baker show that he is a hard worker overcoming the fact that he lost a lot of money due to bad decisions.
14. Adrian Dantley – Works As A Crossing Guard
Adrian Dantley is not a memorable name when it comes to the all-time basketball greats. However, Dantley is a Basketball Hall of Famer that scored over 23,000 points throughout his NBA career. Most NBA players want to stay in the spotlight or live quietly off their wealth once their careers come to a close. Dantley went the opposite direction.
The one-time sports star now works as a crossing guard in Maryland. Dantley uses his free time to make sure the streets are safe for children to cross. The gig only pays $14,000 per year, but he doesn’t do it for the money. Dantley wants to get out of his house and help out others. It makes the job worth it to him more than a fat salary in other gigs.
13. Bryant Reeves – Operates A Ranch
The life of Bryant Reeves could have been viewed as depressing due to how his NBA career ended. Reeves showed promise during the first four seasons of his career averaging as much as 16 points and eight rebounds per game in back to back seasons. Multiple horrible back injuries limited his career going forward, and he retired after just six seasons with the Vancouver Grizzlies.
Reeves used some of the money he made during his NBA career to purchase a 300-acre cattle ranch in Oklahoma. The NBA talent once known as “Big Country” appropriately now owns and operates the ranch on a daily basis. Reeves even made sure to add a basketball court on his ranch to get some fun in between the work schedule.
12. Mark Blount – Owns Pretzel Franchise
Mark Blount spent nine years in the NBA bouncing from team to team as a role player. The best season of Blount’s career came when he averaged 12.6 points per game for the Boston Celtics until they traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Blount struggled to find a consistent role on a team leading to him leaving the NBA due to lack of interest.
Life after the NBA has seen Blount invest in other business opportunities. Blount now owns multiple Auntie Anne’s pretzel franchises in Florida. You can often spot Blount at one of the locations checking in and making sure they’re running well. Blount wisely decided to both save and invest his money into earning another income to continue his life comfortably after the NBA no longer wanted him.
11. Dan Dickau – Owns A Barbershop
Dan Dickau was a first-round draft pick back in 2002 after a strong college career for Gonzaga. The talent of Dickau allowed him one standout season averaging 13.2 points per game for the New Orleans Hornets. Unfortunately, Dickau never averaged more than six points per game any other season. It wasn’t a big surprise when he found his way outside of the NBA after failing to make an impact in his six years.
A business decision outside of the NBA saw Dickau use some money out of the millions made during his career was to open a barbershop named The Harrys. Dickau owns and operates the barbershop in Washington. The college basketball success also helped get him a gig doing broadcasting work today discussing the current top stars.
10. Karl Malone – Works As A Truck Driver
Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone made huge money during his career as arguably the best power forward in NBA history. Malone delivered incredible stats every single season and fell just short of winning an NBA Championship in the NBA Finals due to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls standing in his way. The life after basketball has been rather quiet for Malone.
Malone invests money into various businesses around Arkansas. One of them features Malone taking part in a timber haul by doing the driving. Malone apparently is passionate about trucking and this allows him to have fun while playing a role in the business. You rarely see Malone in the NBA world like you do with other names from his era like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal staying in the news. That’s because Malone prefers to work with his local businesses.
9. John Stockton – Works As A Basketball Coach
You can’t name Karl Malone without mentioning John Stockton. Both men were linked together throughout their NBA careers as the incredible duo on the Utah Jazz. Stockton was the most unselfish Superstar in the NBA always looking to set up his teammates for easy baskets with Malone the main target. Some competitors like Isiah Thomas and Kenny Smith even stated Stockton’s giving nature made the game easier for them when he passed instead of scoring.
It only makes sense Stockton is still giving back following his NBA career. The quite life of Stockton sees him work as a coach in various basketball fields. Stockton spent time working as an assistant coach for Montana State University’s women’s roster. More frequently, he works as a youth basketball coach for multiple teams at a time in hopes of passing along his knowledge to kids wanting to learn the game.
8. LaRue Martin – Work For UPS
LaRue Martin is not remembered fondly for his NBA career. The Portland Trail Blazers selected Martin first overall in the 1972 NBA Draft over Julius Erving, Bob McAdoo and other stars. Martin struggled to ever get any momentum in the NBA and appeared outmatched. After just four seasons in the NBA, Martin decided to retire with an average of just 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
The decades have passed since Martin ended his NBA career and he has a new life. LaRue took a standard driving job with UPS shortly after retiring. UPS decided to promote him after years of driving. Martin still works for UPS as a community services manager. Portland fans to ever get a UPS package late will have even more incentive to rant about Martin.
7. Charlie Ward – Works As A Football Coach
Charlie Ward is remembered as a Heisman Award winner that chose to go to the NBA rather than continue his football success in the NFL. It turned out to be a good move as Ward had a successful career in the NBA. Many New York Knicks fans remember him fondly for his presence on the late 90s and early 2000s Knicks rosters.
The basketball intelligence of Ward saw his former coach Jeff Van Gundy reach out to him and offer an assistant coaching gig back on the Houston Rockets. Ward realized NBA coaching wasn’t for him. A decision was made to move to football coaching in the high school world. The coaching is a bit different at a school level as Ward just wants to give back his knowledge rather than try to make it in another cutthroat field like NBA coaching.
6. Vinnie Johnson – CEO Of A Manufacturing Company
One of the most successful NBA players to make it after retiring is Vinnie Johnson. Most NBA fans remember Johnson for his time on the “Bad Boys” roster of the Detroit Pistons that won back to back NBA Championships. Johnson played over a decade in the league before making the decision to retire in 1992. Life has only improved for him following retirement.
Johnson started a small manufacturing company named the Piston Group that blew up. The small idea of Johnson is now a leading Value Added Assembly company. He is still the CEO of this company that works with Sears and other relevant brands in the country. Johnson is making his name in the CEO world after helping contribute to an NBA team winning rings. You can’t ask for more success in a lifetime.
5. Shawn Kemp – Seattle Businessman
It is a shame that Shawn Kemp is not a memorable NBA name unless you were a fan during the 90s. Kemp was must-see during his prime delivering incredible dunks as well as becoming a great power forward. The career high averages of 20.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game proved Kemp was up there at the best of his position when things were going well.
Unfortunately, various personal issues caused the demise of Kemp forcing him out of the NBA. Kemp owned and operated a bar named Oskar’s in Seattle for many years. It somewhat recently closed as the NBA no longer having a team in Seattle likely hurt business. Kemp still apparently invests in various Seattle local businesses looking to make money in the location where he achieved his biggest success with the SuperSonics.
4. Shandon Anderson – Owns A Restaurant
Utah Jazz role player Shandon Anderson was an important bench asset for the team in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals battles against the Chicago Bulls. The majority of Anderson’s career featured him coming off the bench to play strong defense rather than have the spotlight. Anderson actually won an NBA Championship as a member of the Miami Heat in 2006.
Despite having a strong career as a role player, Anderson wanted to go after another passion after his NBA career ended. Anderson now owns and operates a restaurant called Drink Art. The passion of Anderson saw him attend culinary school. Anderson does a lot of the cooking at the restaurant proving he truly cares about more than just the bottom line. If you have to try to defend Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals, you understand to live your life to the fullest after such an experience.
3. Brandon Roy – Works As A Basketball Coach
Brandon Roy could have been a Superstar in the NBA for many years, but an injury changed his career forever. Portland Trail Blazers felt they were witnessing something special during Roy’s early years. Opposing teams had fits trying to defend him on his hot nights. The knee injuries kept Roy off the court and made it impossible for him to fulfill his potential as a top tier shooting guard.
Roy tried broadcasting for a few years after leaving the NBA but now appears happy working as a high school coach. Nathan High School hired him in 2016 to coach their boys’ basketball team. Roy led them to a perfect 29-0 record proving that his basketball skills transferred into basketball intelligence. The accolade of winning Naismith High School Basketball Coach of the Year earlier in 2017 was a great moment in the life of Roy.
2. Detlef Schrempf – Business Development Officer
Detlef Schrempf is remembered for his impressive play in the 90s along with having one of the coolest names in sports. The legend Detlef just grew over the years. Schrempf did achieve great success helping contribute to the Indiana Pacers and Seattle SuperSonics having deep playoff runs. The three All-Star appearances is a huge accomplishment as he played during the highly competitive era in the 90s.
As great as he was at basketball, Schrempf used his intelligent in the business world after retirement to achieve more success. Schrempf is well versed in wealth management after a run with private equity investments during his playing career. It led to him currently working as business development officer for Coldstream Capital Management. This may not be as interesting as teaming with Reggie Miller or Gary Payton, but it gets the job done.
1. Greg Oden – Works For Ohio State
The NBA career of Greg Oden is a depressing tale. One fateful decision saw the Portland Trail Blazers draft Oden with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Second overall pick Kevin Durant is currently a top three player in the league at worst, and Oden is someone most of you forgot existed. Oden had the size and athleticism, but his injury issues prevented him taking off. The big man only played more than 23 games once in his career.
Oden can no longer play basketball at a professional level due to the foot issues. His college Ohio State hired him to be the student manager for the men’s basketball team. Oden is allowed to attend classes at the school while working there. The hopes are to finish his degree and get a secure career going forward. Until then, Oden helps out the team and lives a humble life after having the world’s worst sports luck.
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