NBA stars prepare most of their lives to become a professional basketball player. They train day in and day out and make a lot of really big sacrifices to get to where they are. You see the big names, like LeBron James or Kevin Durant, all over the news when they are the current stars. But what happens to these huge athletes after they retire from the NBA? What happens to the sports stars when they stop playing their sport?
Before LeBron there was Kobe Bryant and before Kobe Bryant there was Michael Jordan and so on and so on. There has always been an NBA superstar in the league. It’s rare to hear about what these legends do after their time on the court has ended. When you’ve spent your whole life training for one career, it has to be hard to bounce into a whole new profession. But a lot of retired sports stars are forced to do just that. They come out of the game with a full wallet, but temptations drain bank accounts and they need to figure out how to make more money.
Athletes needing money typically stick to what they know best and find a job within their specialty. A lot of NBA stars become some sort of sports commentator for ESPN or FOX News. Other retired ballers fade from the spotlight and start working for some of the most far-out jobs. Here are 20 of those retired NBA stars who chose the most random careers after the NBA.
20 Vin Baker Managed A Starbucks
Vin Baker was an amazing player during his prime playing years. Baker once scored 41 points during a single game in January of 1996. This was Baker’s best game as a pro, and the first game he played under the influence. From that moment, teams expected him to be great. His substance abuse increased, and he started drinking all the time.
By 2006, Baker had exhausted his stay with six different teams.
He completely hit rock bottom before he finally made another attempt to get sober. He reached out to one of his former bosses, the owner of the Seattle Supersonics, who also happened to own Starbucks. From that moment, Baker sported the green apron and started making coffee to stay on his feet.
19 Tim Duncan The MMA Fighter
After 19 seasons and five championships with the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan officially retired from the NBA in 2016 at 40-years-old. Duncan was a great basketball player, but never craved the spotlight or too much attention. After he quietly hung up his basketball shorts, he turned his head toward a different sport – Mixed Martial Arts. This probably started out as an activity to keep the ageing athlete in shape, but Duncan has impressed a lot of people with his calm and quick movements. Duncan’s MMA trainer, Jason Echols, has described former baller as “a monster” and says he would “be a legit competitor.”
18 Greg Oden Goes Back To College
Greg Oden was described as a “once-in-a-lifetime talent.” During his high school playing career, Oden was beyond superstar material. After high school, Oden played an amazing season for Ohio State until he was drafted in the 2007 NBA draft as the number one overall pick. But the unstoppable Oden never became an NBA superstar. He underwent a micro fracture surgery on his knee benching him for his entire first season. Then he suffered a foot injury, then another knee injury and then another. Oden is the self-proclaimed “biggest bust in NBA history” and retired from professional basketball at just 28-years-old. Lost after his dreams were destroyed by his crumbling body, the destined star returned to Ohio State as a student and the team’s assistant manager.
17 Adrian Dantley The Crossing Guard
How did one of the NBA’s all-time greatest scorers become a crossing guard? After 15 years in the NBA, Adrian Dantley retired from the game in 1991 at 35-years-old. The NBA Hall-of-Famer ended his career with an average of about 24 points per game. He now works a morning and afternoon shift standing at a busy intersection helping people get across the street in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The famous basketball player doesn’t work this mundane job for the money, though.
He was a very frugal NBA player and continues living in the home he purchased in 1990. Dantley doesn’t want to spend his days sitting around, and the crossing guard gig provides the 62-year-old with the needed health insurance.
16 Shawn Kemp Owned A Bar
When Shawn Kemp was drafted into the NBA in 1989, he was the youngest player in the NBA at the age of 19. His passion for the game and desire to learn helped push him to into NBA glory. Kemp was amazing at the peak of his career. He helped lead the Seattle Sonics into their franchise record of 64 game wins. Kemp’s NBA career started to suffer after 1995. Kemp started battling some major weight issues, and no he couldn’t seem to stick to any workouts or diets. Eventually his pounds outweighed his skill and Kemp faded away from the NBA. His latest endeavour was owning a sports bar in Seattle named Oskar’s Kitchen, but that closed in 2015.
15 Karl Malone Is A Man Of Many Trades
Karl Malone made the decision to part ways with the NBA in 2005, after 19 seasons of gameplay. Malone never did manage to win a championship ring, but that didn’t change how awesome a player he was. After 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz, Malone was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He underwent knee surgery and then didn’t return to the Lakers over some beef with Kobe Bryant. Since his retirement, the Mailman has dabbled in owning a ton of different businesses, including restaurants and car dealerships. He’s starred in a movie and even tried his hand at professional wrestling alongside Diamond Dallas Page.
14 Steve Francis Tried To Be An Entrepreneur
Steve Francis had been gifted in basketball since he was a young boy. Once he was drafted into the NBA in 1999, Francis continued to shine. He became known as “The Franchise,” because every team he got placed on became a winning team. After suffering from tendinitis in his knee, his game started suffering. Little by little he lost his high-rank in the NBA. After nine seasons with the league, he tried out several other projects. For a short time, Kemp owned a hip-hop record label called Mazerati Music and a clothing line called “We R One.” Most recently, though, his personal problems have gotten the best of him and he had to put a lot of those plans on hold to deal with them.
13 Bryant Reeves Runs His Cattle Ranch
Seven-foot-tall Bryant Reeves was unmissable on the basketball court. He became the Vancouver Grizzlies’ very first ever draft pick in 1995. Reeves spent his six season NBA career with the Grizzlies and is the team’s all-time leader in games played. By 1998, weight issues and several injuries started to negatively affect the baller’s gameplay. Halfway through his sixth season, Reeves was forced to retire due to chronic back pain after being carried off the court by two stretchers and eight teammates. The man nicknamed “Big Country” now lives his life on 300-acre cattle ranch in his hometown of Gans, Oklahoma with his wife and their three children.
12 Shandon Anderson Masters Fine Dining
It’s possible Shandon Anderson may have found more success in life after the NBA than he had in the NBA. Anderson was drafted into the league in 1996 by the Utah Jazz. He also spent time with the Houston Rockets, the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. After winning an NBA championship ring with the Heat in 2006, Anderson retired from the game.
As an active vegetarian, Anderson realized there weren’t very many options for a vegetarian to eat out.
He decided he’d do something about that. Anderson attended the Living Light Culinary Institute and the National Gourmet Institute. He then launched his restaurant “Drink Art,” that combines fine vegetarian cuisine and fine art.
11 Mark Blount Finds Passion In Real Estate
He was one of the NBA’s most dependable centers during the 10 years he played professional basketball. The beginning of Mark Blount’s basketball career was in the International Basketball League and was what some would call rocky. He bounced from team to team before finally finding success with the Boston Celtics from 2000 to 2002 and again from 2003 to 2006. Blount retired from the NBA in 2009 with the Miami Heat. He was one of those players fans accuse of not living up to his contract. However, after retiring, Blount made big life moves. He embarked with food franchises and real estate. He owned a couple of Auntie Anne’s before selling them to focus solely on his passion for real estate.
10 Darko Milicic Grows Apples
Serbian basketball player Darko Milicic was destined to be a great NBA star. He was drafted in 2003 as the second overall pick, ahead of some big names like Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. Milicic never really succeeded at anything great in the NBA and went down in history as “one of the worst top-five picks ever.” He often refers to himself as the biggest bust of the NBA. Milicic was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2012, played five official game minutes, and then retired. In the beginning, Milicic retired to become a kick boxer in Serbia, but he has also quit that sport. He now spends his time on a Serbian farm growing apples.
9 LaRue Martin Delivers The Mail With UPS
LaRue Martin was the top pick of the 1972 NBA draft. He impressed the Portland Trail Blazers while playing for Loyola University Chicago so much they picked him first, and he went on to become one of the worst first overall draft picks in NBA history. Martin played four seasons with the Trail Blazers before making the decision to retire. He went back to Loyola University to earn his BA in Sociology. He then worked a little for Nike and an insurance company. Finally, he set his sights on UPS. The former NBA player has worked with the delivery company as their Community Services Manager since August 2005.
8 Vinnie Johnson Excels With Auto Parts
Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson continues making big moves in his life after the NBA. During his 13 years with the NBA, Johnson became known as the sixth man for “the legendary Bad Boy Pistons.” He was a key player in the Detroit Pistons’ championship wins in 1989 and 1990. After retiring in 1992, Johnson started planning his next success. In 1995, Johnson created Piston Automotive where he assembles work and parts sequencing.
He staffs over 200 people and makes sales over $85 million.
Just recently, Piston Automotive made the transfer into a “major league” auto industry supplier with the hopes of supporting global vehicle programs.
7 Wilt Chamberlain Became Commercial Man
Wilt Chamberlain by far one of the greatest players in NBA history. He was one of the first players to score more than 30,000 cumulative points and is the only player to have ever scored 100 points in just one game. “Wilt the Stilt” continuously proved he was a successful athlete during his 14 years with the NBA. After retiring in 1973, Chamberlain tried to find the same success in other careers. First, he published his own autobiography. He tried coaching, but that only lasted one season. He also became a popular pitchman for commercials, which could be his greatest post-retirement victory. Chamberlain died on October 12, 1999 from heart failure.
6 Oscar Robertson Serves His Community
“The Big O” was a renowned NBA star in the 1960s. During his 14-year NBA career, Oscar Robertson became a 12-time All-Star and one of the top-scoring guards of all time. His former teammate, Jerry Lucas described Robertson to the Indianapolis Star as, “unbelievable, way ahead of his time.” During his NBA career, Robertson became part of one of the most important court cases in NBA history. Through Robertson v. National Basketball Association, the free agency rules now used in the NBA were created. After his retirement in 1974, Robertson worked hard to improve the living conditions of African Americans in Indianapolis by building affordable housing. He also owns successful companies and serves on the board of community groups.
5 Dennis Rodman Becomes Friends With Interesting Character
The tattooed, pierced, wild child of the NBA was also a really great and skillful player. Dennis Rodman was praised for his amazing defensive skills and rebounding abilities which earned him the nickname “The Worm.” Rodman was known for disrupting games and picking fights with other players. After being suspended during the 1996-1997 season, Rodman became a serious professional wrestler.
He appeared alongside Hulk Hogan and became the newest member of nWo.
After being traded from the Chicago Bulls in 1999, Rodman ultimately lost his motivation to lead a team to wins. Since his retirement, Rodman has spent a lot of time in North Korea with their leader paving the way for sports in the strict country.
4 Michael Ray Richardson Works With Children
Sixty-three-year-old Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson played 24 years as a professional basketball player before retiring 2002. He was a four-time All-Star and well on his way to becoming an NBA legend before the NBA Commissioner David Stern banned him for life in 1986. Richardson received the harsh sentencing for violating the league’s policies. However, two years later, he regained the right to play in the NBA, but he never played for the league again. The professional baller went on to play in other leagues, including 14 seasons in Europe. Richardson went on to coach basketball for ten years. These days, Sugar is a substitute teacher in Oklahoma and runs Balls Stars Youth Camp for underprivileged children around the country.
3 Derrick Coleman Serves Up Clean Drinking Water
Derrick Coleman was picked first overall in the 1990 draft by the New Jersey Nets. The left-handed basketball player had a great rookie year and earned himself the 1991 NBA Rookie of the Year award. Coleman played in the NBA for 15 years before he faded away. During his last season with the Detroit Pistons, Coleman was involved in the infamous Pacers vs. Pistons brawl in 2004. NBA coaches and executives pegged Coleman as a lazy man with no work ethic, but nowadays he spends his time helping others. For a short time, Coleman was the Detroit Public School's Athletic Commissioner. He lost his huge fortune trying to help create jobs in Detroit. Now he hand delivers clean drinking water to people in Flint, Michigan.
2 Latrell Sprewell Made Fun Of Himself In Commercials
NBA player Latrell Sprewell’s successful basketball career was greatly overshadowed by the 1997 incident where he choked out the Golden State Warriors coach, P.J. Carlesimo during a practice. He was hit with a 68-game suspension. He managed to somewhat bounce back from the episode, but never rose to superstardom. His career ended in 2005 after the Minnesota Timberwolves offered Sprewell a contract for less than his then-current contract. He was offended and didn’t accept.
Sprewell ran into serious money problems after his retirement.
His fancy yacht was repossessed, he foreclosed on his homes, and was prohibited from seeing his own children. Now, he gets paid to make fun of himself in a Priceline commercial by standing for bad financial advice.
1 Scottie Pippen Is Still Waiting For That Comeback
Scottie Pippen was one of the NBA greats of the 1990s. When you think Pippen, you remember his amazing time with the Chicago Bulls. Pippen, along with Michael Jordan, took the Bulls into championship wins six times. Pippen is considered one of the best small forwards of all time. In 2004, he announced his retirement after 17 years with the NBA. A few years after his retirement, though, Pippen was hoping for a comeback. He spent a lot of his time working out and preparing to win a seventh championship. His return to the NBA unfortunately never came. Pippen now co-owns a livestock farm with his brother in Arkansas and at 52-years-old, Pippen still looks ready for his comeback.