Two of sports most lucrative leagues, the NBA and NFL have some of the most talented athletes in the world right now. Both leagues have long, rich, celebrated histories and have had some incredible players play for them. They also pay their players pretty well. The NBA on average seems to pay a little bit better than the NFL, but we’ve seen jaw dropping contracts from both sides. Yup, all-time greats aside – there are tons of players who’ve had their big payday in either the NFL or NBA. While we don’t think about it all that much, you have to wonder what some of these guys – with their millions of dollars – get up to in retirement?
Well the answer might surprise you, as a lot of former NBA and NFL stars lose their money after their careers are over. Some waste it all while others lose it to bad investments and failed businesses. Of course, not all are like that and some happen to be very successful, even in retirement. Regardless, you’d be surprised at how many of these guys go out and find normal jobs. Some of them still have something to do with sports while others look towards completely different careers – it’s crazy. So now, let’s look at 20 NFL and NBA players who retired and found regular jobs.
20 20. Charlie Ward
Better known for his college football heroics rather than his basket ball ability, Charlie Ward was a Heisman winner in 1993 and finished his career as one of Florida State’s most celebrated alumni. But he never made it to the NFL due to him saying that he would not play for a team unless they took him in the first round. Ward went undrafted and his NFL career went up in smoke. However, he did enjoy a nice 11 year career in the NBA which he spent mostly with the Knicks. After retiring in 2005, Ward returned to his first love. He’s been coaching at the high school level for a while now. Her recently accepted the head coaching job at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida and might very well find his way to the pros in years to come.
19 19. Chris McAlister
Shut down corners are a luxury in the NFL. Teams will pay top dollar for a guy who can routinely take playmakers out of the game. Chris McAlister proved he was one during his NFL career and he got paid pretty well in that time. McAlister was once worth a cool $50 million during his playing career, but it seems as though that numbers gone down significantly. It was revealed after McAlister went to court to have his child support payments lowered that he was at that pointy living with his parents. In order to help himself out financially, McAlister took up coaching and worked briefly as a coaching intern with the Buffalo Bills throughout training camp and minicamp.
18 18. Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp had an incredibly long career in the NBA and is best remembered as an electrifying talent for the Seattle Supersonics where his play and ability on the court earned him the nickname “Rain Man.” After his career was over, Kemp returned to Seattle. Rather than stay idle and waste his post NBA career years, Kemp decided – like so many other retired athletes – to go into business. For Kemp, it was a sports bar named Oskar’s. A sports bar for retired athletes seems to be a given seeing that they know the environment well and they’re still surrounded by what they love. But things went wrong for Kemp as rent prices skyrocketed and he was unable to keep his business afloat.
17 17. Charlie Batch
Charlie Batch might not be the best known athlete on this list, but he had a solid career in the NFL – mostly as a backup QB with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Starting his career under center with the Lions, Batch was better suited for the sideline and the clipboard and so he spent the majority of his career there. It wasn’t glamorous but it was a long, good career. So you’d think he would come out of it with more than he had. All he ended up having was debt though and in order to remedy that Batch took on several different Jobs including a color commentator for preseason games as well as professional speaking.
16 16. Shandon Anderson
Shandon Anderson had a pretty decent NBA career that lasted around nine years and saw him bounce around to the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz. While most retired athletes try and find something to do with sports to occupy their time during retirement, Anderson went with a more unorthodox career choice. Being a vegetarian, Anderson went to culinary school in order to learn how to cook his unique cuisine on his own. It seems that Anderson is just as talented with a ladle as he is with a basket ball. He once interned at a famous New York vegan restaurant called Candle 79 and once he was comfortable, formed his own restaurant.
15 15. Tiki Barber
Tiki Barber was probably one of the best running backs to put on a New York Giants uniform and retired as one of the franchises best players at the position. Always outspoken, Barber decided to go into broadcasting following the end of his highly successful NFL career. Barber was a dud as a broadcaster, going from Football Night in America to the Today Show. It’s here where he ran into some problems. Barber was ultimately fired from the show after he left his pregnant wife in order to be with a 23-yearold intern – thus violating his contracts morality clause. After his divorce settlement ran him dry, Barber was desperate for money. It looks like he’s bouncing back though and is currently working on CBS Sports Radio.
14 14. Detlef Schrempf
Of all the players on this list, Detlef Schrempf seems like he knew was ahead of the curve when it came to retirement. The German-American was a three-time NBA All-Star throughout his celebrated career and retired without much to complain about. A major in International Business, Schrempf used his NBA earnings wisely and soon after he was done with the sport began a career in wealth management. Today, Schrempf is the business development officer for Coldstream Capital Management, an independent wealth management firm located in Seattle. Other than the world of business, Schrempf has taken to some more extraordinary career options such as acting. He had a recurring role on Parks and Recreation as himself and seemed pretty comfortable in front of the camera.
13 13. Luther Elliss
While a lot of the athletes on this list so far have had some sort of success, you’re going to find your fair share of cautionary tales like this one. Luther Elliiss might not be a name you all recognize but he had a pretty solid NFL career. Elliss played for nine years in the NFL, a majority of time being with the Detroit Lions before he called it quits as a Denver Bronco. A two-time pro bowl player, Elliss reportedly made around $11 million throughout his career. But after retiring, he and his family had to rely on the Churn and the kindness of others in order to get by. Elliss now works with the Fuel Up to Play 60 health initiative program which is sponsored by the NFL.
12 12. LaRue Martin
So now we look away from those who’ve had solid, respectable careers and we look at LaRue Martin. Being a top draft pick brings on a world of pressure most of us can’t even phantom. The Trail Blazers made Martin the top choice in 1972 and after four disastrous seasons, he was out of the NBA and done with basketball. Having so short of a career, Martin was in need of a new job quick following his NBA departure. He started working at for Nike in Oregon for a while until he found another position at a UPS. Luckily, the company had a policy for promoting from within and because of that, Martin was able to move up the ranks pretty quickly and has found success after basketball.
11 11. Deuce McAllister
Deuce McAlister was a fantastic talent for the New Orleans Saints throughout his career. The former Ole Miss standout was the perfect mixture of power and athleticism, showing he could contribute as a runner and receiver out of the backfield when necessary. After retiring, McAlister opted to go the business route and invested a large part of his $70 million dollar fortune in a car dealership. But things quickly got out of hand once his company went in the red. His home was put up for auction and McAlister was dealt a huge blow. It looks like he’s bounced back a little though and he’s currently working as a financial speaker. Anything to help, eh?
10 10. Mark Blount
Mark Blount didn’t have as noteworthy a career as some of the others on this list. A second round draft choice in 1997, Blount wouldn’t even play in the NBA till he was made a member of the Boston Celtics in 2001. From there, Blount went on to have a pretty respectable career before finally calling it quits in 2009. Off the court, Blount took up an unlikely profession after his basketball career had ended. He is currently the owner of two Auntier Anne’s pretzel franchises and if the picture above is any indication, he absolutely loves his new job. The franchise seems to have a thing for partnering with retired pro-athletes, as even the great Shaquille O’Neral has a store.
9 9. Mark Brunell
Mark Brunell finished his NFL career as a pretty average quarterback who had some of his most memorable and successful years as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But Brunell is most notable for his financial situation following his retirement from the NFL. Though he made a good deal of cash in his NFL career, Brunell lost it all to bad business decisions in his retirement and went bankrupt. Brunell tried to cover his losses for yeas but all that did was put him in more debt. Like everyone else on this list, Brunell is now working a regular job for his money. He moonlights as a coach for the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, and is currently working an ESPN gig.
8 8. Dan Dickau
Dan Dickau’s collegiate career went over a whole lot better than his professional one did. He was one of Gonzaga’s best players in his time and went down as an all-time great there. However his transition to the NBA would not see him continue that same level of success. After bouncing around for most of his career, Dickau was out of the NBA after a brief six year and bounced around internationally a bit before calling it quits. Since his retirement, Dickau has taken to hairdressing and has a barbershop called The Barbers is Washington. Apart from his barbing gig, he’s also done some work for ESPN radio and the Pac-12 Network. Our next player didn’t have as much luck in retirement.
7 7. Warren Sapp
As talented as he was Warren Sapp is also known for having a pretty big mouth. The antics we’re entertaining to watch throughout his 12 year career in the NFL, but after he left football there was no real reason to listen to him anymore. Still, Sapp managed to find a cozy gig as an analyst for the NFL Network after retirement. But after some run ins with the law, the network dropped him due to all the bad press he was receiving. Things only got worse from there as he soon after declared bankruptcy and the whole world found out about his massive shoe collection – which really seems like one of the key reasons as to why he lost all of his money, aside from unemployment. Though he’s likely to try anyways, any future analyst jobs for the NFL should be out of the question due to domestic violence charges.
6 6. Bryant Reeves
Bryant Reeves has the distinction of being the Vancouver Grizzlies’ first ever draft selection. While that sounds like a great honor to have, it’s also one that comes with a ton of pressure. Sadly, Reeves – as promising a talent he was – wasn’t able to live up to the expectations placed on him. Back issues limited him throughout his career and greatly affected his play. His career only lasted six years in the end, making him 27 by the time he retired from the NBA. But things seem to have worked out for Reeves. He currently owns an absolutely huge 300-acre cattle ranch in Oklahoma. Cattle raising seems to be his true calling and it really does seem to suit him pretty well.
5 5. Peyton Manning
Not too far removed from professional football, Peyton Manning was one of the greatest to ever play the game and will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. With two championships, multiple records and a multitude of impressive stats, Peyton is a sure first ballot Hall of Fame inductee. Off the field, Peyton is pretty well known for his acting chops as he’s one of the more entertaining NFLers to have tried their hand at it. He’s appeared in a number of Papa John’s commercials and in recent years has become something of a poster boy for the franchise. Peyton actually owns 21 Papa John’s franchises in Colorado right now and though he could very well find a new NFL related gig in the future, he has those restaurants in his back pocket.
4 4. Vin Baker
Though he had a long and successful career in the NBA, Vin Baker struggled with alcoholism during that time. His 13 year career ended kind of disappointingly but Baker moved on like everyone else. Baker has reportedly lost over $100 million in career earnings. But he hasn’t let that get him down, saying;
“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. For the people on the outside looking in, they’re like ‘Wow.’ For me, I’m 43 and I have four kids. I have to pick up the pieces.”
He’s worked as a minister in his father’s church but drew some attention when people found out that he was managing a Starbucks. But don’t feel sorry for him. As you can see, he looks pretty happy with his life.
3 3. Terrell Owens
One of the most polarizing players of his generation, Terrell Owens is Canton bound, though his talkative nature both on and off the field might be delaying that. Owens was a force throughout his NFL career, and even on the decline looked like a more serviceable receiver than most of the guys in the league. But life after football has not been as kind to T.O. He’s currently having some major money issues and has tried his hand at a few different ventures to help his situation. Reality TV didn’t work out, and neither did real estate. In order to alleviate his situation a little, Owens is doing some modeling on the side. If he’s as charismatic in front of the camera as he was on the field, he should be fine.
2 2. Adrian Dantley
You can’t really think up that much better of a career than Adrian Dantley’s fifteen-year NBA stint. Dantley was a force on the court for years and by the end, had scored 23,000 points. His play was good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, and at this point in life he’s pretty much accomplished more than most former NBAers have. Years into retirement, Dantley spends his time helping people. He took a crossing guard job in Maryland in order to fill up his free time and help others. The job reportedly pays out around $14,000 a year and while he’s obviously not in it for the money at this point, it’s nice to see him helping others in his spare time.
1 1. JaMarcus Russell
You all know this name. It’s impossible to be a football fan or even a casual sports fan and have not at least heard of JaMarcus Russell. The 2007 first overall pick, Russell was selected by the Raiders with the hopes of revitalizing their franchise. Though his first season had shown us some promising things for the future, the Raiders would send Russell on his way a few years later – still in search of that elusive franchise passer. They’d be the only team Russell played with in his career as after the Oakland mishap, no one wanted him. Weight, performance and attitude issues made Russell a huge red flag and so he’s known today as the biggest bust in NFL history. But Russell seems to have found some peace with it all and is currently working as a youth football coach in Mobile, Alabama.
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