Playing professional sports is an arduous task, by anyone. Some players decide to move on, to have a more dynamic job, that doesn't involve weekly doctor check ups. Also, some guys just decide to work after retirement from professional sports.
The thing is, sports isn't a job that lasts you your whole life. Most sports, have players who retire around 35-40 years old. After retirement, they can sit on the boatload of money they made as players, or do something productive with their lives. Whether it be writing or photography, these simple jobs continue to pay the bills, while some athletes live out the rest of their lives purposeless.
ESPN or other sports sites don't talk about the guys who went on to make a living from something other than sports very often, and there is something to be said on the engagement that these sites have with players while they play, and when they retire the relationships that don't continue. In other words, these sites love the players while they are in the leagues, and move on from them when they retire. This cycle continues, and it's the way sports goes on, and has been going on for a long time.
Here is The Sportster's list of The Top 20 Former Sports Stars Who Have Regular Jobs Now.
20 Adrian Cardenas- Author
Cardenas played second baseman for one year. He played briefly for the Chicago Cubs, and was a solid bench player. At the end of the 2012 season, Adrian decided he would retire to pursue other interests. He noted that he was fed up with how baseball was monopolized by companies, and had big business interests, instead of people loving the game.
“I quit because baseball was sacred to me until I started getting paid for it. The more that ‘baseball’ became synonymous with ‘business,’ the less it meant to me."
A powerful quote, which is relevant in terms of how sports are taken over by corporations with less interest in the sport, and more in making money.
19 Bryant Reeves - Cattle Rancher
Nicknamed "Big Country" Reeves was the sixth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Grizzlies. At 7 feet tall and 300 pounds, Reeves had a solid rookie season, averaging 13.3 points. In 1997 he started playing even better, averaging 16.2 PPG. He was signed to a six year, $61 million contract that year.
In 2001, he retired from the NBA, because of weight problems. Shaquille O' Neal once said Reeves was a tough guy to guard on the court.
He now owns a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, and lives with his three kids and wife. The ranch is 15,000 square feet.
18 Vince Young - University of Texas
Vince Young was a pretty solid NFL quarterback, notably for the Tennessee Titans. He filed for bankruptcy, after making over $25 million in the NFL.
Young now works at the U of Texas at the Community of Engagement Center, making around $100,000 annually. Although this is a steady job, Young was making millions in the league, which he blew away.
Vince Young is a two time Pro Bowl quarterback, and was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2006. His career began to go downhill as a backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. If Vince could go back, I'm sure he would have just saved his money and not spent reportedly $5,000 a week at the Cheesecake Factory.
17 Chris Nowinski - Author
The former wrestler is now an author, and the co founder of The Concussion Legacy Foundation. It's not surprising he is working elsewhere, considering he was a Harvard graduate.
He wrote a novel titled Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis, which was about the long term effects of concussions and brain research analysis. He now resides in Massachusetts, and was a former finalist on the WWE series "Tough Enough". His wrestling career only lasted from 2001- 2003.
With a diploma from Harvard, it's not nearly surprising he decided to be an intellect, not a meat head wrestler.
16 Luther Elliss - Play 60 Representative
Luther Ellis made the NFL Pro Bowl in 1999, and 2000. He played for the Detroit Lions, and finished his career with the Denver Broncos. In college, he was an All American, at Utah.
After his football career, he began endorsing "Play 60", which is a movement to get kids to play flag or football in general. He filed for bankruptcy after retirement, and used this as his outlet.
Luther's nickname while on the Detroit Lions was "Pass Rushing Luther", as he compiled 27 sacks in his career as a Lion. He made around $12 million in his career, but had a couple bad investments.
15 Brian Johnson - Consultant
Brian Johnson played eight years in the MLB, and is most remembered for his home run to get the Giants to the NL West title game in 1997.
Johnson was a solid ball player, who retired in 2001. He worked as a banker with JPMorgan chase, and also at Kaleidoscope. Today, he is a consultant who preps workers on diversity such as age, religion, and gender. He has interests in banking, and made that a full time occupation and a priority after retirement.
Johnson played for the Padres, the Tigers, the Giants, Reds, Royals, and the Dodgers. He finished his career in Los Angeles on September 21st 2001.
14 Jimmy Wang Yang- Truck Driver
The former WWE star worked at a pest control business which didn't really last long. He started a bus called "Jimmy's Redneck Party Bus", which is his party bus that he drives around picking up people. He charges individuals to get in. He continues to wrestle occasionally.
In 2009, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, ranked him #169 of 500 people in the PWI 500. In Japan, he was on the worlds strongest tag team with Kaz Hayashi in 2002.
Hopefully the truck continues to be a source of income for Jim.
13 Karl Malone - Wood Collector/ Philanthropist
The former NBA superstar, and Utah Jazz sensation works a couple different jobs, that he enjoys. He hauls timber from people's properties for a low wage on occasion. Notably, he worked on an ESPN radio show, and opted out of a salary. Malone has managed his money correctly, and is now giving back to the community, and having fun doing so.Karl served on the National Rifle Association, advocating for gun rights, that he believes the government is trying to strip from him.
He has a home in Alaska, and owns a restaurant in Louisiana called "The Teriyaki Grill", and an ice cream shop.
12 Dermontti Dawson - Intern Coach, Sales Executive
Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012, after playing his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The seven time Pro Bowler somehow filed for bankruptcy in the year 2010. He was $70 MILLION in debt.
The wildly successful football player is now an owner of the Washington Wild Things baseball team. He worked as an intern for the Cincinnati Bengals, and did some scouting reports for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He now resides in San Diego, where he is a sales executive for a promotional products company.
The fact that a guy of this prominence in sports went poor, is a big indicator to current players to observe how they spend their money, and not let it all go towards unnecessary luxuries.
11 Shandon Anderson - Chef
Anderson played 10 years in the NBA for a handful of teams. He was selected in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft.
He won an NBA Championship in the year 2006 with the Miami Heat.
Today, Anderson is a chef at a vegetarian restaurant called "Drink Art". Upon retirement in 2006, he attended culinary school in New York. He also interned at a couple vegan restaurants. Anderson himself is a vegan, and decided to become a chef to suit his own beliefs of not eating meat. I don't think I have ever heard of an athlete who became a chef, so this story is particularly eye balling to me.
10 Mark Wohlers - Real Estate
Upon retirement, the 1996 MLB All-Star started a real estate company in Atlanta called "Team Wohlers". He runs the business with his wife. He turned to real estate, primarily because his home burnt down in 2001 with basically all of his personal belongings. He was devastated.
Wohler won the World Series in 1995, and now focuses on selling high market value homes in Georgia. He sells upscale apartments and homes. His business is run through Keller Williams Real Estate.
9 Spike Dudley - Financial Advisor
Spike Dudley was a two time tag team champion in ECW, and in WWE, he was an eight time Hardcore Champion.
Now 45 years old, Spike works at MassMutual, which is a firm that helps people get ready for the future weather it be college, having children, or anything financially related. Dudley looked pretty crazy in the 90s, and appears to have stabilized his life.
He also helps other wrestlers, to assure they will have a financially stable future, by creating individual plans for them.
8 David Wells - High School Baseball Coach
Wells is known as one of baseball's greatest left handed pitchers. He earned the nickname "Boomer" while playing in the major leagues. He once pitched a perfect game.
Wells, who is now 52 years old, works at Point Loma High School as the head coach for the baseball program. Apparently, he has had offers to work for the MLB, but has turned them down to stay local, and help the high school achieve their goals of state championships.
Wells is a two time MLB World Series champion, and and three time all star. His love for the game of baseball, is the reason he stays local, at the high school he attended to coach.
7 Tiki Barber - Broadcaster
Barber made nearly $40 million as a primetime NFL running back for the New York Giants. He floated around a couple sports broadcasting jobs and landed a secure one at CBS. He works at a radio show, and used to work for Football America, and the Today Show on NBC.
Barber's wife is on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and he was reportedly pondering an occupation in reality television.
It's good to hear NFL players who were responsible with their riches after retirement, like Tiki.
6 Vinnie Johnson - CEO
Johnson, also known as "The Microwave" during his NBA seasons, is a two time NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons.
Upon his retirement in 1992, Vinnie discovered, and founded "The Piston Group" which is a manufacturing company. The organization is extremely successful and as made a lot of profit. Today, he continues to manage the company, and is the CEO. He is the overseer of the various partnerships with Sachs or even Continental Teves.
Johnson hit the jackpot after retirement, and I bet has made more money out of the NBA, then he did as a player.
5 Deuce McAllister- Public Speaker
Deuce played running back for the New Orleans Saints, and was very successful. He made bad investments, notably with $70 million.
He opened a car dealership which proved unsuccessful, putting him more in debt. Today he works as a public speaker, notifying people on mistakes he has made, and warning people on bad investments. He has made a modest career off of this, as he informs people to be wary of how they spend their money, and where the money is going to directly.
McAllister is a solid example of a guy who got possibly unlucky with his money, and this led him to become a social worker.
4 Adrian Dantley - Street Crossing Guard
Dantley, the NBA star who scored over 20,000 career points is now a street guard in Maryland. He decided to work part time, because he enjoys helping out the community and the kids. Although the job pays $14,000 a year, he doesn't work for the money.
The Washington Post asked him why he was working at such a low level job and here's how he replied.
"I just did it for the kids. I just didn’t want to sit around the house all day.”
Pretty good answer, reassuring fans that Dantley is an approachable guy.
3 Randy Johnson - Photographer
Randy Johnson may be the greatest pitcher in the game of baseball. He won 300 games in his career as a starter, and had 4,875 strikeouts.
Upon retirement, Randy became a photographer. Back in college at USC, he majored in photojournalism.
"As much as I enjoyed the thrill of pitching a perfect game and winning a World Series, I get similar satisfaction from using my photography skills to try and capture that defining moment in time.”
2 Terrell Owens - Model
T.O, you either love him or you hate him, or you despise him...
Terrell Owens began the T.O. show in 2009. The show was a worldwide hit and aired #1 on VH1. Additionally in 2013, Owens started a podcast which was a satirical show based on the NFL's comedic players. Roy Wood, the comedian appeared on it, so did Ron Artest.
Recently, he began modeling. He signed a contract with a modeling agency. Owens is in major debt, and at one point had a net worth of $80 million.
Hopefully modeling, can help Owens reinvent himself and gain some of his money back that he must have blew on unnecessary things. Here's an inspiring T.O Quote.
"I don't have no friends. I don't want no friends. That's how I feel."
1 Vin Baker - Starbucks
Vin Baker lands at no.1 because nothing screams regular job quite like one at Starbucks. Baker was given the opportunity to work at a Rhode Island Starbucks by the franchise's CEO Howard Schultz who was an owner of the Seattle SuperSonics in Baker's final season in Seattle.
Baker reportedly lost over $100 million in career earnings but seems to be at peace with his situation:
“When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you’re at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen. I was an alcoholic, I lost a fortune. I had a great talent and lost it... I have to take the story and show that you can bounce back. If I use my notoriety in the right way, most people will appreciate that this guy is just trying to bounce back in his life."