There have reportedly been many professional athletes who have been broke during their careers or shortly after their career ends and their spending habits are no longer supported by a seven figure salary. This might have been due to bad investments, spending frivolously and supporting their friends/followers in an attempt to remain loyal. Most of the time, athletes will get carried away by the enormous amount of money coming from basketball contracts. They don’t know how to manage the money and thus, end up being broke. Of course, facing bankruptcy is never easy for anyone, let alone an athlete who has seen many good financial times throughout their careers. Many professional athletes experience success by pursuing business ventures. Some will choose a business franchise while others are more innovative and will start a business from scratch. While not a lot of athletes have been successful in business due to not knowing how to handle their money, there are others who have done an excellent job. In fact, some have grown their business into huge brands while still playing basketball. These players are usually the ones who experience success even after their careers have ended.
Players like Allen Iverson lived the fast life, squandered his money and ended up flat broke, even though, he was such a talented player. No one wants to experience such dilemma. It is great to see players who use their money wisely, getting into business so that when the basketball contract ends, they can still maintain a wealthy lifestyle that they have gotten accustomed to. Many athletes are indirectly involved in their business. They will start the business, but have other people run it. This is quite normal for any business owner. For example, Tony Hawk, the skateboarder made an investment in a restaurant that is operated by James Beard Foundation. Vince Young is more hands-on. He has a steakhouse located in Austin, Texas. He even provides his brand of smoked meat to local grocery stores. There are other successful athletes who have turned into business moguls while playing or after playing professionally. Let’s take a look.
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15 Rick Mirer – Mirror Wine Company
Rick Mirer had a successful career while in college at Notre Dame. He was also the number 2 pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. He spent more than 10 years in the NFL and retired in 2004. Four years later, he joined with Rob Lawson, a winemaker to launch a wine company in California’s Napa Valley. The company is called Mirror Wine Company. Some of the sales proceeds go to the Mirer Family Foundation. The company has done so well as to sell out all vintage wines that they released.
14 Maria Sharapova – Sugarpova
Sugarpova and Maria Sharapova are one and the same brand. In 2013, Sharapova, a superstar tennis player decided to invest half a million dollars to start her company called Sugarpova. The brand is a candy line, reflecting the sweet side of the tennis star. The candy line is a unique version of prototypical candies sold at a reasonable price. In the first year of doing business, the tennis sensation made in excess of 120% on her investment.
13 Vince Young – Steakhouse
In 2005, Vince Young led his college football team, the University of Texas to the NCAA national championship. He had some successful years in the NFL, but ultimately his career didn't quite work out and as a matter of fact, he declared bankrupty a couple of years ago.One thing he does have going for him is his steakhouse in downtown Austin, Texas. His menu boasts prime beef, which is sourced locally. Patrons flock to his eatery to taste the delicious short rib chili and other house specials.
12 Brad Pyatt – MusclePharm Corp.
Brad Pyatt never amounted to much an a NFL player, bouncing around from Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers. While he was around the NFL block for four years of his career, he suffered quite a few injuries, which led him out of the game.
However, in 2008, he joined with Cory Gregory to start a nutritional supplement business called MusclePharm Corp. The goal of these two entrepreneurs was to develop and market nutritional products that were scientifically advanced and make it accessible to athletes. They succeeded. The company is now publicly traded. In the first quarter of 2014, sales went through the roof at $96.9 million.
11 Eddie George – EDGE Group
The legendary running back for the Tennessee Titans, Eddie George received the Heisman Trophy in 1995 with Ohio State. However, his business achievements are just as commendable. In 2003, with a team of qualified industry professionals, George started the business, EDGE. The business acts as collaboration for landscape architecture, planning and development. The business began in Columbus, OH, near his alma mater, but has since opened two more offices in Toledo, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee with more than 20 employees on staff.
10 Greg Norman – Australian Grille
Greg Norman is known for his prowess in golf. He is also a pro when it comes to doing business. The professional golfer opened up an Australian grille in South Carolina. Imagine that – a southern state and Australian cuisine is not a given! The grille is located near the Intracoastal Waterway in Myrtle Beach. The grille carries an open kitchen, serving the best in Australian cuisine, which includes prime rib, fettucine, vinaigrette, roasted duckling and signature meals. The golfer’s cabernets have received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
9 Venus Williams – V Starr Interiors
Tennis star, Venus Williams has won many tennis championships, but she has also done well in business. Her company, V Starr Interiors is located in Jupiter, Florida. It is an interior designing company led by five employees, in addition to the CEO, none other than Venus Williams. The company provides remodeling services to commercial and residential clients. Some of Venus’s clients include Travis Smiley, radio host and Bryant McKinnie, NFL player.
8 Cal Ripken, Jr. – Baseball Affiliate Manager
In the 80s and 90s, Cal Ripken Jr. was one of the best baseball players in the MLB. He is a household name and so is his business brand. Ripken and some members of his family manage various baseball affiliate teams. Ripken is the CEO of his company, Ripken Baseball, Inc. Also being managed are a few baseball subsidiaries. This involves affiliates of minor league teams such as Charlotte Stone Crabs and San Francisco Giants. Ripken is also a spokesperson for Energizer, State Farm, Holiday Inn and Chevrolet. He is a busy man.
7 David Beckham – David Beckham Fragrance Line
David Beckham is one of the best soccer players of all time. He is also known for his fashion modeling abilities, but that may have been before he hit the big time. David Beckham, a household name is involved in a wide range of projects including the recent bid for a soccer field in Miami, Florida to house his newly acquired soccer team. However, the superstar has also launched his own line of fragrance appropriately called David Beckham. He does charity work for UNICEF, Malaria No More and Goodwill, just to name a few. He has endorsement deals with Gameboy, Xbox, Samsung, Adidas and Pepsi.
6 Kobe Bryant – Sneaker Line
Kobe Bryant has been in the NBA for a while now. He doesn’t cease to amaze his fans with this basketball skill, but many people aren’t aware of his expertise as a businessman. Kobe doesn’t just chill at home with wife and kids. He is out creating Nike ad campaigns for his line of sneakers. His sneaker line brand has also been successfully received in the international market including China. He also has endorsement deals with Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Sprite and Turkish Air.
5 LeBron James – LRMR Marketing Agency
LeBron James is one of the wealthiest NBA players, but not all of his income is basketball related. LeBron has a great business mind that has earned him millions. His net worth has a value of $110 million and he is only in his late 20s. LeBron has a Nike contract worth $90 million. He has a partnership share in a Liverpool football team. He also has a marketing agency, LRMR, which he launched in most recently. His company handles marketing for big corporations like Upper Deck and Sprite. His post-basketball career is definitely looking bright.
4 Tony Hawk – founder of Birdhouse Skateboards
In addition to his love for professional skateboarding, Tony Hawk is a published and best-selling author and owns a skateboard company. He has a huge skating brand created by his company called Birdhouse. He has been successful as an entrepreneur as much as being a skater. Many 90s kids will also know that he had his own line of skateboarding video games, called Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. His company, Birdhouse sells everything related to skating gears, decks and clothing. He also has endorsement deals with Six Flags, Kohl’s and Adio Sirius.
3 John Elway – Restaurateur and Car Dealership
Prior to Peyton Manning, there was a certain quarterback called John Elway who played for the Denver Broncos, retiring in 1998. Now, Elway is known for his investing skills. He is the VP of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos franchise and he is co-owner of the Colorado Crush football team. He has also been an owner of five car dealerships, but in 2008, he sold all of them for $82.5 million in total. Additionally, Elway owns two steakhouses and is a founder of a non-profit organization to assist child abuse victims.
2 Michael Jordan – Shoe line and Owner of the Charlotte Hornets
Michael Jordan has never been forgotten by those who grew up watching him, and it certainly helps when you still see his name everywhere. However, Jordan knows how to play big in the board room. As owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan makes his presence known in meetings and near the court. He owns a thriving shoe company that his son inherited. He has tons of endorsement deals, even while he has been in retirement. Some say that Jordan’s brand is worth more than half a billion dollars. That is certainly believable.
1 Magic Johnson - Entrepreneur
We all know what a special player Magic Johnson was, but credit should also be given for the same accolades as an entrepreneur. Magic Johnson is a busy man. He is always coming up with new business ideas. He currently boasts part ownership for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He owns Magic Johnson Enterprises, which has an estimated worth of more than $700 million with involvement in franchises such as Burger King, Starbucks, T.G.I. Friday’s and 24 Hour Fitness, just to name a few. He is also a part of the Detroit Venture Partners that help fund potential business ventures for people.
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