Professional athletes might have more in common with the average man or woman than you might have originally thought. They might be on Twitter looking for love, ordering burgers and fries from a fast food place, and sometimes, they hold down another day job (or two) for some extra cash in their checking account. After all, everyone has bills that they need to pay or else they’ll have to deal with the inevitable consequences from the bank or credit union.
For most male and female athletes, making it into the world of professional sports is a big deal, but like employees working in other fields, some of them remain humble and remember where they came from. This isn’t the case for everybody, but some folks get their side hustle on for reasons ranging from uncertainty of the future to just simply wanting to work a job in the field in which they majored in in college. Also, don’t forget that playing a sport is kind of like a part-time, seasonal job because no league plays on a year-round basis.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an athlete who wants to make extra money, but there are some athletes who work weird jobs, which is worth mentioning because you likely don’t see topics like this being discussed in the traditional media outlets. From Olympic boxer Nico Hernandez to Major League Lacrosse star Brett Schmidt, we’re pretty sure that you’re going to enjoy this list and maybe recognize some of these athletes that we’re about to mention.
Here are 15 of the weirdest ways athletes have made extra money.
15. Rajon Rondo (Math Teacher)
Teaching freshman algebra with Ms. Oshodi at Burke high school this AM. Thx for having me pic.twitter.com/vNbD0Z3X
— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) November 6, 2012
New Orleans Pelicans point guard Rajon Rondo still plays in the NBA. Previously, Rondo played for the Boston Celtics (2006-14), Dallas Mavericks (2014-15), Sacramento Kings (2015-16) and Chicago Bulls (2016-17). He’s a four-time NBA All-Star. He’s also a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. In addition, he led the league in steals during the 2009-10 season, and assists during the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons.
Rondo seems to be a master of statistics, considering the fact he has played professional basketball since 2006. He’s not much of an efficient player anymore, but he once served as a substitute math teacher at Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, Mass. It’s a surprise that he hasn’t put up big numbers in a single season for quite a while, but as a stats marvel, he appears to know what he’s talking about when it comes to the tricky subject of math.
14. Delonte West (Ashley Furniture)
NBA guard Delonte West is currently a free agent. West most recently played for Texas Legends of the D-League. He also played for the Boston Celtics (2004-07), Seattle SuperSonics (2008-10), Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-11), Boston Celtics (2011-12), Dallas Mavericks (2013) Fujian Xunxing of the Chinese Basketball Association (2014) and Shanghai Sharks of the CBA (2015).
West certainly felt the effects of the 2011 NBA Lockout, just like the owners did. According to a tweet posted by the Gettin Buckets radio show on 91.7 WLFR Pomona, he applied to a furniture store called Ashley Furniture because he apparently needed a second job to stay afloat during the lockout.
Lmfao this is Delonte West's application for Ashley Furniture during the NBA Lockout pic.twitter.com/pKNqRbmIQv
— Gettin Buckets (@GettinBuckets91) September 20, 2013
We don’t blame West for wanting and needing a second job. At least he has a back-up plan, which may be necessary in times like these. Hopefully, he saved some of the money he made in his career as well.
13. Michael Vick (Hair Brush Company)
As you may already know, former NFL quarterback Michael Vick played 13 seasons in the league (Atlanta Falcons from 2001-08, Philadelphia Eagles from 2009-13, New York Jets in 2014 and Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015). He retired as an Atlanta Falcon on June 12, 2017.
During his NFL career, Vick was notoriously known for his reported crimes, ranging from dog fighting to distributing marijuana. This caused him to file for bankruptcy in 2008, which seemingly led him to work various jobs from a coaching intern for the Kansas City Chiefs to buying 40 percent of the hair brush company WaveMasterz. Now, he works as a studio analyst for Fox NFL Kickoff on FS1.
Vick seems to be doing just fine now, but his previous jobs off-the-field raised some eyebrows and might’ve also made some people laugh and chuckle at his resume. At least he tried to earn back the cheddar, right?
12. A.J. Francis (Uber Driver)
During the NFL season, Washington Redskins defensive tackle A.J. Francis plays football. During the NFL offseason, Francis drives an Uber.
In a video with ESPN, Francis said that despite making over $318,000 last year and $530,000 for this season, he wanted to supplement his income since he doesn’t get paid during the offseason.
“I have a workout bonus this year, but as anyone with a workout bonus will tell you, when you have a workout bonus, you don’t get that bonus until July, August,” Francis told Business Insider. “So, I decided to be my own boss.”
So if Francis’ team doesn’t make the playoffs, that means that he would only have his savings from January to July.
“Instead of just spending money that I made last year, because I’m not getting paid this offseason, I’m making it another way,” Francis told Business Insider. “I’m just out here trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents.”
11. Venus Williams (Interior Design Company)
Like her younger sister Serena, Venus Williams has her own clothing line. In case you didn’t know, Venus’ line is called “EleVen by Venus Williams.” It displays a new color-filled athletic range and features a form-fitting dresses, tops and bottoms and crop-top style bras for women as well as t-shirts and shorts for men. But things haven’t always been smooth-sailing for the line as its retailer Steve & Barry’s went bankrupt in 2008. Luckily, Venus was able to re-launch the line, which appeared to have been stable since then.
More interestingly, Venus also founded her own interior design company, V Starr Interiors, in Jupiter, Fla., in 2002. V Starr Interiors designed the set of the Tavis Smiley Show on the Public Broadcasting Service, the apartments of some Olympic athletes and properties in Palm Beach, Fla.
Before her business ventures took off, the Ladies Home Journal named Venus as one of the 30 most powerful women in America.
10. Israel Idonije (Comic Book Artist)
Israel Idonije is a retired Nigerian-Canadian NFL defensive end. He’s also an an actor.
Idonije was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns out of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He spent the 2003-04 NFL season on the Browns’ practice squad, but was released in September 2003. He subsequently signed to the Chicago Bears’ practice squad for the final six weeks of the season. He also played for the Detroit Lions (2013) and New York Giants (2014).
Like other retirees, Idonije found himself a regular job, but in this instance, his side gig is actually pretty cool. He owns a publishing company called Athlitacomics and has made several comic books, On a more creative note, he also founded Blessed Communion, which sells pre-filled cups to churches across the nation.
Idonije once told the Black Christian News Network, “It’s not about how many people I tackle each day. It’s not about how many hundreds of millions cups we sell at the end of the day. It’s about the platform.”
9. Brian Hartline (Convenience Stores)
NFL wide receiver Brian Hartline is currently a free agent. Brian most recently played for the Cleveland Browns in 2015 after spending five years with the Miami Dolphins from 2009 to 2014. The Dolphins also selected Brian with the 108th overall pick in the fourth round of 2009 NFL Draft.
Brian’s younger brother, Mike, is a former NFL quarterback who has played one year apiece for the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, respectively. Obviously, there isn’t much money for the brothers to wire to each other, but Brian took matters into his own hands. Brian owns and operates two convenience stores in Ohio.
Although Brian doesn’t always work in those convenience stores, he’s aware of his helpful investments as they help out the local communities. Brian told Donna Gehrke-White of the Sun Sentinel, “I only invest if I really understand.” Well, he seems to understand the people’s needs for 24/7 service.
8. Dwyane Wade (Tie Collection)
Yes, Dwyane Wade is a three-time NBA champion (2006, 2012, 2013) and still plays in the league as a shooting guard. As you may already know, Wade was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago and has witnessed police raids and deadly homicides in his early life. He turned things around after opting to play college basketball at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and later getting selected by the Miami Heat with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft.
Yet, Wade has a side hustle. He owns a fashion line, but not just any fashion line. It’s actually a tie line called “The Tie Bar.”
According to Adrian Nunez of Esquire, Wade wrapped up the designs for his sixth collection for The Tie Bar in Chicago in 2015. Wade told Nunez, “You always try to find inspiration from different places. Some are personal; some are just where fashion is at the moment.”
7. Russell Westbrook (Campaign Creative Director)
Russell Westbrook, the NBA’s reigning MVP, is arguably one of the best players in the league. The superstar guard is also a six-time NBA All-Star, a two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP and a six-time member of the All-NBA Team. This year, he became one of two players (the other being Oscar Robertson in 1962) in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Moreover, he set a record for the most triple-doubles in a season (42).
Like other athletes and celebrities, Westbrook has a clothing line, which is called Honor The Gift. Its first pop-up shop was recently opened at Penn Automotive in Oklahoma City, Okla. But did you know that he was named the new creative campaign director of True Religion in 2015? It’s all good if you didn’t, but yeah, he joined True Religion’s denim brand for their “Be So Bold” campaign. This appears to be the perfect fit for him as he’s no stranger to the style game. We can’t wait to see what he does next in the fashion world.
6. Carmelo Anthony (Puerto Rico FC)
NBA superstar forward Carmelo Anthony has dived into the standard business ventures like a record label and an investment firm, but he also founded the expansion club Puerto Rico FC of the North American Soccer League in 2015. Anthony reportedly saw this as an opportunity as an attempt of financial outreach and a long-term investment that could eventually become profitable.
Anthony is a Puerto Rican and African American man with some Spanish and Indigenous ancestry. Some of his roots are apparently traced back to Venezuela, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Still, it’s pretty cool to see how he tries his best to learn about one of his countries of origin. He has also made efforts to raise money for the Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts.
5. Maria Sharapova (Candy)
Maria Sharapova is a Russian tennis player who has been an American resident since 1994. Last year, Sharapova revealed that she failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. She tested positive for a banned substance called meldonium and was initially suspended for two years until the suspension was reduced to 15 months. She returned to the WTA Tour in April 2017 and won her first WTA title in two years.
Off the tennis court, Sharapova has secured plenty of endorsements that generously exceed her tournament victories. In March 2006, Forbes magazine listed her as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, with an annual salary of more than $18 million.
Sharapova also dabbled in another business venture. No, it’s not a clothing or beauty line. It’s a candy line cleverly called Sugarpova, which she works on with IT’SUGAR founder Jeff Rubin. She survived her 15 month doping ban by pursuing this unconventional idea.
4. Cullen Loeffler (Ice Sculptures)
Cullen Loeffler lost his long snapper job to Kevin McDermott during the 2015 NFL preseason, but he seemed to have shrugged it off and moved on with his life. There was nothing Loeffler could’ve done anyway. He was the Minnesota Vikings’ longest-tenured player at the time. He joined the Vikings as an undrafted rookie out of the University of Texas in 2004.
Loeffler thanked the Vikings fans that have supported him for 11 years. He told David McCoy of WCCO-TV, “Thank you for all the years. Thank you for all the support…I just want to, at some point, come back and see this team with a Super Bowl ring and trophy.”
After meeting Minnesota Ice Sculptures co-owner Robbie Harrell on an airplane, Loeffler cut his teeth on his first business venture, a start-up company with goals to mass-produce decorative carvings for a niche market. Loeffler admitted to Harrell that he knew nothing about ice sculptures, but he slowly learned what he needed to know about the business.
3. Brett Schmidt (Financial Advisor)
Professional lacrosse is far from a popular sport in the United States, despite its increasing popularity at the amateur level. The average salaries are so low that most of its athletes strive to keep day jobs.
Charlotte Hounds defender Brett Schmidt has played lacrosse since he was a third grader. He plays for the Charlotte Hounds, but like other Major League Lacrosse (MLL) players, lacrosse is like a second job to him. He works as a full-time financial adviser at BB&T Wealth. He hasn’t admitted his actual salary, but financial advisers earn around $75,000 a year, according to government data. As an MLL player, he makes only $10,000.
“It’s not like we’re negotiating for our annual salary as pros,” Schmidt told CNNMoney. “It’s more a summer part-time job. Guys are just grateful to be able to play in a league, but the money isn’t something you truly rely on.”
2. Ashley Nee (Adventure Kayaking Instructor)
Since 2004, Ashley Nee has been competing in kayaking for the U.S. Nee specializes as a slalom canoeist, which is a more competitive type of kayaking where competitors try to navigate a decked canoe or kayak through a course of hanging downstream or upstream gates on river rapids for the fastest time possible.
Most recently, Nee finished in 14th place in the K1 event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s obviously that she doesn’t compete in kayaking all, or even most, of the time. She used to work as as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in Maryland. Now, she works as an adventure kayaking instructor.
As you can see, Nee switched up her day jobs, but that’s perfectly normal as the majority of 20-somethings didn’t stay with their first jobs for a long period of time. She still has quite a life ahead of her.
1. Scott Ratliff (Youth Lacrosse Coach)
Atlanta Blaze co-captain Scott Ratliff played in the his third consecutive MLL All-Star game this year. Ratliff increased his career goals from 47 to 62, led the Blaze defense with 68 ground balls and started to re-define the role a long stick middie plays by becoming a part of the Blaze offense.
Ratliff loves to coach others. He works as a coach at LB3 Lacrosse, which operates lacrosse camps and clinics and even has its own youth club team.
“If you’re not in it full-time, it’s harder and harder to remain a professional player,” Ratliff told CNNMoney. “The dream would be to live off sponsorships, but I love coaching so even if I was making a bunch of money, I’d probably still be involved in that.”
Ratliff’s commute is kind of rough considering his schedule. LB3 Lacrosse usually has between 21 and 26 players on their active rosters. They also cover the cost of transportation and meals for all 21 players who travel, but only the 19 who are on the active roster get paid.
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