When a career is done in the NBA, players tend to go one of two ways. They either get involved in basketball or business outside of their playing career, thus staying in front of the camera, or they move on to something else and vanish from the spotlight. Players have done both and been happy, while others have tried to stay relevant in the same circles but failed. In some cases, it's about choice and in others, it's about money. Players can make big money during their playing days, save and invest it, or they can crash and burn, blowing millions of dollars, never to be heard from again. At first, both become famous for their off-the-court activities. However, the successful tend to stick around long-term while the unsuccessful tend to be forgotten.
Who are some very famous former NBA stars that fit into either category? We'll take a look at 10 on each side. There are the Scottie Pippens, Allen Iversons, and Stephon Marbury's of the world and there are the Magic Johnson's, Michael Jordan's and Shaquille O'Neal's. We assume you can figure out who goes where.
In total, below are 20 former NBA players, 10 of which who've done incredible things with their money, stayed relevant in basketball circles or become household names and 10 of which simply faded away. Some are rich, some are broke, some have jobs and some relax. All had NBA careers and others have started completely new ones.
20 Faded Away: Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson hasn't necessarily faded away completely but he's not around the NBA much other than to pop his head in at a game or two and make the news for his involvement (or lack thereof) in Big 3. What Iverson is most known for is how great a player he was and how quickly he fell from grace.
Iverson earned some $200 million over the course of his NBA playing career.
But, he blew through money like nobody's business. He had a huge entourage, showered them with gifts and didn't save any money. He was notorious for hiding garbage bags full on money on his property and forgetting where he put them. When people talk about him now, it's either only to reflect on what kind of player he was for a short period, or how badly he threw it all away.
19 Doing Well: Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman
Junior Bridgeman may be better known now for anything he ever did in the NBA as a player. He's worth Worth around $400 million because he invested in Wendy's chain of restaurants, owing three within a short period of time and turning those three into over 160 locations. Oh, and he owns more than 120 Chilli's restaurants too.
Bridgeman only made a few hundred thousand playing ball and unless your an avid fan, probably don't know who he was. But, if you're into business or franchising, you sure know who he is now. He's the kind of former player current ones should try and emulate.
18 Faded Away: Baron Davis
At one time and very strong guard for the Golden State Warriors, Baron Davis was important to that team before they ever had the Steph Curry's, Kevin Durant's, and Clay Thompson's dominating the league. But, for a while, he was a big deal scoring 22 PPG and 8 APG.
However, Davis took his talents to Cleveland and was unfortunate that he joined the team around the time LeBron James left. He struggled, the Cavs struggled and quickly moved to the Knicks and then left the NBA. There are not too many people who know where or what he's doing now.
17 Doing Well: George Tinsley
Another man to get into the food franchise business, George Tinsley bought into KFC after he took a job as a training director there. He loved the business model and started The Tinsley Family of companies which now own and operate more than 60 units at street and airport locations. Of course, it's not just KFC he's into.
He owns Chili's, Wendy's, Pei Wei, P.F. Chang's, Shula's Bar & Grill, Cigar City Brewing, and Comfy Cow too. Not bad.
We don't hear much about him and likely wouldn't know his story unless you looked him up but he's clearly done well for himself.
16 Faded Away: Lamar Odom
Remember Lamar Odom? The guy who won two titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010? The guy who was named the 6th man of the year? A Man who was instrumental in the Lakers victories but often didn't get much credit because he was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant? Yes, that Lamar Odom. Any idea where he is now? We don't really know either.
After his stint with the Lakers, he went to Dallas and developed an off-the-court reputation that almost took his life in 2015. He then became famous for being married to Khloe Kardashian but he's now only talked about when people talk about her exes. When we looked him up, the news we found last was that he was set to launch a cannabis line called 'Rich Soil Organics'.
15 Doing Well: Kobe Bryant
The former Los Angeles Laker is in the news more these days that a lot of current players. He's constantly being used as a benchmark for accomplishments on the court for guys like LeBron James and he's on social media regularly with tweets coming out often hourly. He's also started a company called Granity Studios which offers multi-media content to help athletes maximize their full potential through creative storytelling.
Recently, Bryant won an Oscar based on a poem called "Dear Basketball". Bryant isn't on NBA programming as an analyst or coaching or playing, but he's sure talked about a lot these days.
14 Faded Away: Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas was drafted to the NBA in 2001. He immediately became one of the best shooters in the game, compared to names like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. But, he may have also been just as famous for some off-the-court activities that got him in some hot water.
Arenas was suspended for most of the 2009-10 season after he was caught with a weapon and after that happened, his basketball career was fairly short-lived. The last we heard from Arenas was that he'd been hit with a restraining order after a woman told authorities he'd been threatening to send naked videos of her to her son's cell phone. Great guy that Arenas is.
13 Doing Well: Magic Johnson
If you want to talk about someone who has been successful, let's talk about Magic Johnson. Not only was he one of the best big-man point guards in NBA history, he's been wildly successful off the court after his playing days ended. There are maybe only a couple players who are known as being as talented on the court as he is off of it.
He's made shopping centers and movie theatres, got into building Starbucks locations and he runs Magic Johnson Enterprises which includes owning a piece of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hero Ventures, Vibe Holdings and other companies. He's always around the game as President of the Lakers and has an award named after him that Raptor's player DeMar DeRozan just won.
12 Faded Away: Stephon Marbury
Marbury was a fantastic player during his time. He played for a number of NBA teams including the Timberwolves, Nets, Suns, Knicks and Celtics and he averaged 19.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 7.6 APG during his NBA career. But, he faded out quickly, only to be heard from when he announces on social media that he wants to make a comeback that never actually happens.
He's been playing China and putting up big numbers which might give him reason to think he could come back, but at 41 years old he's likely done now.
While we won't see him play again, we might get to see him pop up on social media saying something strange every now and again.
11 Doing Well: Shaquille O'Neal
One of the most dominant, if not the most dominant NBA big men ever to play the game, Shaq's off-the-court rep since retiring is almost as impressive. He signed a huge sponsorship deal with Icy Hot, he's an analyst for the NBA on TNT and he's shown up in movies, the latest being Kyrie Irving's movie Uncle Drew.
Shaq has danced his way to millions in endorsements, acting gigs and business ventures. His list of investments is massive. From Google before it went public, to investments in Apple, 24 Hour Fitness, Five Guys and nightclubs in Las Vegas. Who ever said Shaq wasn't a smart or opportunistic guy?
10 Faded Away: Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen was arguably the best wingman ever to play the game. He was almost always second fiddle to Michael Jordan but if you look at his stat line, they were crazy impressive. Pippen also made around $120 million over his career.
But, all that time under Jordan didn't teach Pippen to follow Jordan's lead when it came to off-court decisions. He lost nearly every penny and is more known as the cheap former NBA player who doesn't tip anyone and a guy who got screwed over by a fraudulent financial adviser. These days, Pippen's reputation after he retired has almost washed away what he brought to it while he was playing.
9 Doing Well: Steve Kerr
We had to include Steve Kerr on this list. A former guard for the Chicago Bulls, Kerr saw huge success as a player winning multiple championships. That said, his reputation in the NBA today is that of one of the most winningest coaches in the last decade as the man on the bench for the Golden State Warriors.
Kerr just led his team to their third NBA Championship in four years. Not too shabby. Kerr's reputation as a head coach in the NBA is second to none and his ability to lead players like Steph Curry and others is remarkable. He's probably just getting started too since it will be hard for anyone to beat such a good Golden State team.
8 Faded Away: Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell doesn't get remembered for what he accomplished on the court because he was so controversial at the same time. This is the same guy who choked his coach while on the sidelines and is now only spoken of now because he threw away millions of dollars when he said he couldn't feed his kids on a contract worth $21 million, thus he refused to sign it. Ouch.
After that, not only did he never play again in the NBA, he lost his house had to sell his $1.5 million yachts at a huge loss. This is a player who made more than $96 million throughout his career and we have no idea where he is now. Hopefully, he's not begging for change to feed his kids.
7 Doing Well: Jamal Mashburn
Who'd have thunk a guy was smart enough during his NBA career to take the advice of so many people who probably told them not to blow their money. Well, Jamal Mashburn was one of the smart ones and now owns five car dealerships, 40 Papa Johns locations, 39 Outback Steakhouses, and four Dunkin' Donuts. That's just the latest information we could find. By now, he's probably opened more.
He also started a marketing firm called Mashburn Sackett which offers advice on using the Internet in a changing business world.
Mashburn was an underrated player and he's even more underrated as an entrepreneur. He only saw basketball as an avenue to do something bigger and better with his life. Talk about wise.
6 Faded Away: Andrew Bynum
Another former Laker, Andrew Bynum was supposed to help the team after the big names had started to transition out of the franchise. He helped the club win their championships in 2009 and 2010 and consistently averaged about 13 PPG and 10 RPG. But, he was also remembered for a nasty hit on J.J. Barrea during the playoffs that saw him ejected and then traded as part of a deal for Dwight Howard. His career was never the same after that. He played 26 games after being traded and today is looked at as a player who could have been but never really was.
5 Doing Well: Kenny Smith
An underrated basketball player with major vertical, Smith is everywhere on NBA coverage these days. He describes himself on Twitter as "Championships & Emmy's. Proud father of 5" but he's one of the most noticeable voices on NBA broadcasts and constantly around the games the All-Star festivities and looked to as an analyst with a smart opinion about today's game.
Recently, Smith was linked to some coaching vacancies and was in the mix for the Detroit Pistons job before Dwane Casey got the nod. If he's being considered for coaching jobs like this, he's clearly got a mind for the game.
4 Faded Away: Shawn Marion
Did Shawn Marion retire? Shoot, we didn't even notice. Marion played 16 seasons in the NBA and was famous for his strange shooting form and helping the Mavericks take out the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals. After that, he quietly faded away.
He had a good individual run in Phoenix but was left out in the cold when they blew up the team. He signed with the Cavs and then in 2015, retired. We have no idea what he's been up to since. He did show up on TMZ Sports once to comment on Lonzo Ball's jump shot, but that's the most we could find.
3 Doing Well: Chris Webber
Another former player turned analyst, Chris Webber was the most famous member of the Fab 5 out of Michigan and went on to make more than $176 million playing basketball in the NBA. After he retired, Webber made a string of smart decisions.
First, he bought an investment company which is involved in real estate, basketball, and football, among other things. He is also currently an announcer for TNT during NBA broadcasts. Recently, Webber was part of some NBA discussion when JR Smith made a boneheaded play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. It was so bad, it brought back memories of when Webber called a time out that his team didn't have.
2 Faded Away: Vin Baker
Vin Baker is an interesting case because he's actually sort of famous for the career path he chose after his playing days in the NBA were done. He made a ton of bad investments when he had his money and he lost nearly $100 million.
After he hit rock bottom thanks to bad choices and financial troubles, he got a job working at a Starbucks. Yes, the nearly $100 million player became the manager of a coffee shop. He then moved on to an executive job with the Milwaukee Bucks but working at a Stabucks must have been a huge pill to swallow.
1 Doing Well: Michael Jordan
Financially, Michael Jordan is the king of retired NBA players. He's also recently been in the news thanks to one LeBron James who passed his record for 30-point playoff games and started a debate about the best ever player in the NBA. Many think it's still Jordan but with his money, perhaps he can buy the votes he's missing if he even cares.
Jordan has a net worth of more than $1 billion. He's got a huge Nike shoe line, became a part owner of the Charlotte Hornets, still does commercials and he's going to keep making money based on his Jordan brand alone. His name is synonymous with basketball. He'll never go away. His face is also a famous meme that you'll find anywhere you read basketball related articles on the Internet.