Professional athletes work as hard as they can to get to the top, but the truth is that job security is not all that high in the field. When it is time to retire, there are certain people who chose to stay in the sports world. However, other athletes chose a career that will probably surprise you! These individuals decide to take their skills to the fields of acting, business, and even music. Sometimes, they end up enjoying a more lucrative career than when they were in pro sports. Read on to learn more about former athletes who dominated other fields later in life!
We all know that Michael Phelps dominated the swimming events during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Summer Games. When it comes to gymnastics, Nastia Liukin did the same thing. She was the U.S. women’s gymnastics team’s star who went on to win five medals. Among them was the gold medal for All-Around competition! The medals she won during the games put her at a tie with Shannon Miller for the most number of wins in a single Olympics. Meanwhile, her nine World Championship medals also tied her with Miller for the third-most rank in U.S. history. She later entered the television industry when she went on Dancing With the Stars in 2015 and worked as a motivational speaker for female athletes. In 2016, she and Mike Lombardi, her former hockey player husband, launched the Grander app, which connects Olympic hopefuls with role models and mentors.
George Foreman, two-time heavyweight champion, first made a name for himself by kicking butt in the boxing ring. Known as Big George, he retired in 1997 with 81 pro fights and a standing of 76-5 to his name. Of course, he featured in some of the biggest boxing showdowns ever, which includes his loss in the “Rumble in the Jungle”. We think it is nothing short of fascinating that he chose to go into the kitchen and cooking appliances after his time in the sport! Foreman now endorses what is called the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, better known as the George Foreman Grill. Apparently, the famous boxer has made a fortune of more than $200 million with this endeavor!
The face of the Showtime-era Lakers, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is easily one of the greatest ballers in the entirety of NBA history. Unfortunately, his career met its abrupt end after he discovered that he tested positive for HIV. Even though he had to end his playing days sooner than later, he already left quite a big legacy: 3x MVP, 5x NBA champ, and 12x All-Star. The magic did not stop with his retirement, however. His competitive streak translated well when he entered the world of business – at the moment, Magic Johnson Enterprises is currently valued at $700 million. His love for Los Angeles continues to appear in whatever he does. With other investors, he decided to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 as well as the Los Angeles Sparks in 2014. In 2017, he made a comeback to the Los Angeles Lakers, this time as the president of basketball operations.
When Michael Strahan was picked by the New York Giants in the second round during the 1993 NFL draft, people had high expectations of him. It was a good thing that this Texas Southern star managed to live up to them all. He was an important part of the Giants defense, even leading them in the league for two years and earning seven Pro Bowl Selections over the years. In 2007, he led the G-Men to victory at the Super Bowl. After a decade and a half, fans got to see him without the mask! The ex-Defensive Player of the Year went into the television industry after his retirement from the field. He guest starred on Live! With Regis and Kelly until he ended up taking over Regis Philbin. He was the co-host of Live! With Kelly and Michael from 2012 to 2016. While he no longer does morning television, he went on to host ABC’s The $100,000 Pyramid.
David Beckham ended up becoming one of the most famous faces in soccer since he first began playing for Manchester United during the ‘90s. He spent two decades playing for the world’s biggest clubs, although he eventually crossed the pond to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer. Nowadays, he owns his very own MLS team. In 2014, he bought a Miami-based expansion team that is set to make its debut in 2020. If the team does not prove to be successful, Beckham still has $450 million in the bank, so nothing is stopping from trying his hand at other endeavors!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
A long time before Dwayne Johnson made a killing in show business, he used to play defensive tackle for the 1991 national champs, the Miami Hurricanes. He did not end up in the NFL, which is why he decided to go up north and play in the CFL instead. Two months after he joined the Calgary Stampeders, he got cut. It basically ended his dreams of becoming a pro football player, but he was lucky enough to make it big in a different field. He decided to enter the ring and became known as “The Rock”. He was incredibly successful in the WWE, and the rest is history. He eventually left his wrestling days to go into the big screen and small screen, but he had to start out by doing bit parts and guest appearances. If his professional growth is not enough to impress you, wait until you hear that he has since worked his way up to become a producer and director! He now dominates the Hollywood scene, and we are glad for it.
Tara Lipinski impressed everyone in the world of figure skating with her performance at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. She was elevated to the level of the greats ever since she was 14 years old back in 1994, which was when she made the triple loop that earned her the youngest U.S. championship ever. During the 1998 Games, she made history once more as the youngest women’s individual Gold medalist, breaking a 70-year-old record. Despite all of her success on the rink, her biggest fame came from her perch above it all. Since 2013, she and US Figure skater Johnny Weir have formed the most famous broadcast partnership since Summerall and Madden. They worked during the 2014 Sochi games as well as the 2018 Pyeongchang games. Their fiery chemistry, elaborate wardrobe, and excellent commentary gave them a solid spot in pop culture, drawing more and more fans to the sport.
There is no denying the fact that Tony Hawk has helped revolutionize skateboarding. He is easily the most famous athlete in the sport! This vert skater was the first man to have landed a 900 and earned first place in more than 70 competitions over the years. Even after his retirement, he continues to impress. He has worked hard to promote the sport throughout the country and across the globe. He now sits on top of his own business empire as the owner of Birdhouse and the RIDE Channel. His sponsorships and video games are some of his most lucrative business decisions.
This talented point guard spent a successful 12 years in the NBA. The 7x All-Star baller earned six of these during his first nine years, when he was still playing for the Detroit Pistons. When he eventually left the court, the Pistons decided to honor Bing by retiring his jersey number: 21. After his retirement, he decided to work at a steel processing company. He eventually launched Bing Steel, his own company in the same industry. What’s even more impressive is the fact that he ran for the position of mayor of Detroit in 2009 and won! He was in office for four years before he stepped down in 2013.
Jack “The Golden Bear” Nicklaus is considered to be one of the best golfers in history. As accompanying proof, we will present to you his 117 pro wins, 73 PGA Tour victories, and 18 major championship titles. He is more than just a successful golfer, however. He has done a lot to help out the sport, as a matter of fact. He has since gone into the world of designing golf courses. With the help of his sons, he now runs the Nicklaus Design company. He has also written numerous books about anything from course designs to golf swings!
Fresh from high school, Kobe Bryant was only 18 years old when he made his way into the Los Angeles Lakers. He stayed there until he was 37 years old. During that time, he managed to earn an MVP Award, five NBA championship titles, and 18 All-Star selections. He was the biggest player of his time, so it was no surprise that the Lakers retired both his jersey numbers. He has since hung up his jersey after the 2015-2016 NBA season, but he was successful at establishing a legacy. The Black Mamba is known for his “mamba mentality”, which he has also applied in other business endeavors. In 2014, he established Kobe Inc. Aside from that, he has teamed up with his business partner Jeff Stibel to launch a venture capitalist firm and enter various investments.
Wayman Tisdale is yet another basketball player on our list. At the age of 32, he chose to retire from the court. The 6’9” power forward joined the NBA as the second pick during the 1985 draft. He spent 12 years playing in the NBA, during which he played for the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers. When his stats started to decline during his last three years with the Suns, he stepped away from the sport. He decided to return to his first true love, which happens to be music. As a bass guitarist, he went into smooth jazz. Not many people know that he released his very first record when he was still active in the court back in 1995. Power Forward, his musical group, had been performing under Motown. They made eight records before the former basketball player died in 2009.
When Terry Crews was the defensive end for Western Michigan, he earned a MAC conference championship and All-Conference honors. During the 1991 NFL draft, he was picked by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round. Before he ended up retiring from the sport in 1997, he spent time playing with the Chargers, Rams, and Redskins. He decided to go somewhere far from his first career. After his stint in the NFL, he found his true love in acting and went on to become a film and television superstar. He first made it big in Friday After Next and now stars on the popular sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine. His celebrity status is now sky-high – he was even named by TIME as the 2017 Person of the Year!
Arnold Palmer became known as “The King” for his great influence in the field of golf. The talented athlete was the pioneer “face of the sport” on the small screen. A 1953 golf tournament was the first one to be broadcasted on national television, which paved the way for his first professional appearance the following year. After he retired from the golf course, he participated in various golf-related ventures. He owns a golf course of his own in Orlando, Florida and helped design more than 300 courses. He is credited for helping out with the first golf course in China! He was also one of the founders of The Golf Channel. We cannot possibly end this without talking about the Arnold Palmer, the greatest drink ever!
Even though Roger “Captain America” Staubach got picked during the 1964 draft, he did not get to play on the field until 1969. Why? Well, he decided to serve the country during the Vietnam War in the time between those seasons. After his comeback, he led the Dallas Cowboys to two championships at the Super Bowl. He was also selected for the Pro Bowl selections six times in his 11-year NFL career. Off the field, he continued to be successful with the launching of The Staubach Company in 1977. After he retired in 1979, he became big in commercial real estate. He sold the company for $613 million in 2008.
Vinnie Jones was an English soccer player who established himself with something of a “hard man” image. During his 16-year career, he played for eight teams. However, fans best remember him for being a part of Wimbledon’s “Crazy Gang”. During the 1988 FA Cup Final, they defeated Liverpool in one of the most shocking victories in the history of the tournament. Like the athletes here, his image in the sport has been helpful with his post-athletic career. The footballer was able to transition to the entertainment career without a problem, though he generally snagged crazy characters. If you want examples, we will have you know that he played Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand and Bullet Tooth Tony in Snatch. However, we think that he was at the top of his game when he played Mad Maynard in EuroTrip.
The Pittsburgh Penguins sure got lucky when they chose Mario Lemieux as the first overall pick during the NHL draft of 1984. As part of the team, he spent 17 seasons in the league and won two Stanley Cups. However, there are more reasons they are grateful for him than his excellent play. For one thing, he already retired from the sport in 1997. However, the Pens went into bankruptcy the following year, so he bought the club as well as its minor league affiliate! After his return as an owner and player in 2000, he ended up retiring for the second time in 2006. He is still the owner of the team to this day.
Roger Penske was able to make a name for himself by racing, buying, and selling race cars. After several years on the track, he established himself as a great talent in the field. However, he made the decision to stop driving on the pro level so he can focus on his Chevrolet dealership. A year after his retirement, his racing team, then called Penske Racing, made its debut. Now called Team Penske, it is estimated to be worth $142 million! The Penske Corporation, his family business, is valued at $2 billion. Whoa.
Although the NFL journey is relatively short, Gale Sayers is definitely a remarkable athlete. Also called the Kansas Comet, he played for the Chicago Bears for seven seasons and earned All-Pro honors during the first five years. His impact as a kick returner and running back made him the youngest selection for the Football Hall of Fame at the age of 34. His final two seasons, and pro football career in general, suffer. However, his next career move proved to be a good one. He dabbled in different tech industries over the years before he launched Sayers Group LLC as well as Sayers Enterprises.
Along with George Foreman, Mike Tyson is definitely one of the boxing greats. During his prime, he was considered to be of the most talented and powerful boxers in history. Don’t believe us? Let us tell you that his 44 wins out of 50 fights were all by knockout. His post-boxing life could not have been any more different from his time as one of the scariest fighters to have ever graced the planet. This former heavyweight decided to go into the entertainment industry. He has since put on a one-man show and starred in various films. Perhaps you even remember the animated series called Mike Tyson Mysteries!
Derek Jeter had been the face of the New York Yankees for twenty years! He has five World Series titles and fourteen All-Star selections to his name, which has earned him monikers like Mr. November and Captain Clutch. The King of the Postseason was not quite done when he played his final game in 2014. After his retirement that year, he launched the website called The Player’s Tribune. This unique site ended up becoming very successful since athletes wrote pieces for the online media platform. In 2017, he teamed up with Bruce Sherman to purchase the Miami Marlins of the MLB.
Ion Tiriac, who was once among the greatest tennis players, hails from Romania. He ended up victorious during the 1970 French Open and even reached No. 8 in the world rankings when he was active in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Not unlike the other athletes here, his post-retirement career was highly lucrative. His success as a tennis player barely holds a candle to his various successful business endeavors. He was able to reach billionaire status by making investments in petroleum, real estate, and auto dealerships.
Oscar de la Hoya
Oscar “The Golden Boy” De La Hoya was a straight-up killer in the field of boxing. Although there is nothing to laugh about his career record of 39-6, we daresay that his six world championships in different weight divisions are more impressive. He last went into the ring over a decade ago. Despite this, he continues to be involved in the field by working as a promoter with his firm Golden Boy Promotions. There is no doubt that ODLH continues to bring in a fortune as the majority shareholder of what might just be the most successful promotion company in boxing.
This center fielder was once considered to be a staple of the New York Yankees when the team was unstoppable back in the ‘90s. However, the organization spent a couple of years before they figured out where he would be most useful. George Steinbrenner, the team’s owner, failed attempts to trade him ended up being more advantageous for the team. During his baseball career, he started to let his passion for music and the guitar run wild. In 2003, he released his first album while still playing pro baseball! When he decided to hang up his jersey in 2006, he focused on his music full-time.
Before Carl Weathers went on to be a sensation on the silver screen, he was a gridiron first. He did not get drafted after finishing college in 1970, although he eventually signed with the Oakland Raiders and played seven games for them over the course of two seasons. After his brief stint in the NFL, he played for the B.C. Lions in CFL from 1971 to 1974. When he went into acting, he made it big. The ex-football player bagged the role of Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise opposite Sylvester Stallone. He kept acting alongside other entertainment industry titans. He starred in Predator alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler. Quite the opposite of some people here, he managed to achieve more fame when he took on his second career.
Michael Jordan is known by a number of names: Air Jordan, the GOAT, His Airness, The Face of Basketball. He dominated the NBA court ever since his first day. We are sure numerous ballers breathed sighs of relief after he retired. Among his many glorious basketball accolades, Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championship titles and collected five MVP awards. Although he played his last game in 2003, his influence in the sport continues to stand. This legend has never gone out of style thanks to his legendary Air Jordan shoe line and Jordan Brand apparel. It seems he simply cannot stand to be away from the game. Jordan purchased a minority stake for the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006. By 2010, he was a majority stakeholder of the team, now called the Charlotte Hornets.
The Los Angeles Rams picked Bill Goldberg during the 11th round of the 1990 draft in the NFL. This defensive tackler did not get to play anytime on the field in the first two seasons. After that, he spent two years playing in the World League of American Football before he came back to the NFL. He spent three more seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. After he received a terrible injury, he had to end the NFL career early before he went into a different field. Bill joined the WWE where he became known only as Goldberg. From the late ‘90s to the early noughties, he saw success in the field of professional wrestling.
Hakeem Olajuwon, also known as “The Dream”, spent 18 years in the field of basketball. During the first 17 years of it, he was considered to be the glue that held the Houston Rockets together. The center is known for his iconic Dream Shake and his incredible defense. In 1994 and 1995, he led the Rockets to back to back titles. When his playing days were over, he decided to achieve more success in Houston. Considered to be the greatest center The Rockets ever saw, he was very successful in the real estate market as well. Olajuwon has allegedly made more than $100 million thanks to his investments in real estate. With more than $200 million in his bank accounts, he is truly living it up.
Jerry Richardson did not have the longest career in the NFL. In 1959, he joined the Baltimore Colts as a tailback/receiver but only lasted for two seasons. His career as a pro football player did not last long, although he did get an NFL championship nonetheless. After a brief career in the world of pro football, Richardson started a number of business ventures in the food and beverage industry. He was able to work his way – he started with his own Hardee’s franchise and then went on to be the CEO of Flagstar, which controls numerous food chains such as Denny’s and Hardee’s. In 1995, he bought the NFL expansion team called the Carolina Panthers. Recently, he started the process of selling it, however.
Kevin Johnson is an All-Star point guard who experienced a great career with the Phoenix Suns. He had a big role in turning the tide for the Suns. Once among the more woeful teams, they soon became one of the strongest in the Western Conference. He spent 12 seasons in pro basketball but only got to the Final once. Through the 1990s, he was considered to be one of the players to watch out for. After his retirement, he went back to his hometown of Sacramento and worked as the CEO of St. HOPE, an after-school program. He entered politics later on, winning the mayoralty race of Sacramento in 2008. He held the position for eight years before he decided to step down in 2016.
Shandon Anderson spent almost a decade playing in the NBA. He won a championship with Miami Heat, but still never really made a name for himself in the game. However, that is not the case today with his new passion. Along the way he found a love for cooking, and today is working as a chef at a vegatarian resturant. Although his new career choice appears unusuall, it isn’t entirely unrelated. All atheletes are recommended to eat a healthy and balanced diet to help their physical performance. Looks like, Anderson found an interest in this topic and decided to pursue a career in it.
Charlie Batch spent most of his NFL career as a backup for Ben Roethlisberger, yet he still managed to make a name for himself. Ever since he was a kid he was known as the one with the strongest arm, and always played quarterback. He then went on to play 11 years for his hometown team the Pittsburg Steelers and won two superbowl rings. he decided to retire and has found an interest in public speaking. Something much needed considering his backruptcy. He also has a career in broadcasting, which helps maintain his connection to the NFL in some way.
Adrian Dantley is one of the best-undersized forwards in history. After graduating from Notre Dame he led the 1976 Olympic team to gold and then began a 15-year career in the NBA. He was extremely powerful and was strong enough to compete with players of all shapes and sizes. After spending 15 seasons in the NBA, Adrian Dantley never managed to win himself a championship. However, he did make it into the NBA All-star game six times, alongside many other accomplishments. Since he retired, he has been working as an assistant coach to the Denver Nuggets and part-time as a crossguard. He thoroughly enjoys his part-time job and says it is a way to give back to his community.
David Eckstein was an infielder in Major League Baseball for ten seasons. He started out playing college baseball at the University Of Floria and then played professions. He is most associated with his 2006 World Series “Most Valuable Player Award.” Ever since then he made a major change in his life. Currently, he is working for his wife who started a fashion brand ” Her Universe.” The brand focuses on sci-fi themed trends for girls and women. This isn’t that strange seeing as his wife is also the voice of character Ahsoka Tano, from Star Wars.
Johnson was a catcher and pitcher for the Titans when he tied one national record and broke six state records. He also earned a scholarship to play quarterback at Stanford University, where he simultaneously played for the Cardinal’s baseball team. After his junior year, he was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 16th round of the 1989 MLB draft. he spent 8 years playing for the San Francisco Giants and his most memorable moment is when he hit a home-run that led his team to the National League West title game. Today, Johnson spends his days working as a banker.
Johnson was chosen as the 7th overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics and then traded to the Detroit Pistons in 1981. He will always be remembered as being part of the Pistons when they won their consecutive champions. Also, it was his performance that made those games such a success. So much that his number retired with him. Ever since retirement from the NBA, Johnson has gone into business in manufacturing. He is the chairman of the Piston Group, which employs 200 people in Detroit.
Shawn Kemp is a perfect example of a basketball legend who battled Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in their prime. He was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the `989 NBA draft and was the youngest player in the NBA at the time. His career peaked in 1995-1996 when he lead the Sonics to a record of 64 wins. During his retirement, he owns a sports bar located in Seattle called Oskar’s Kitchen. However, it closed down a few years ago.
Guy Lafleur is a former Canadian professional hockey player who is known as the first player in history to score 50 goals and 100 points in six straight seasons. He is often referred to as the Flower because of his last name. Since his retirement, he began a helicopter rental company that works out of Montreal, where he had his most infamous moments on the ice. His company specializes in assisting celebrities who need a private way to get to and from the local airport. He also is the owner of a chain of restaurants called Toujours Mikes
If you remember the Michael Jordan era, then you surely will remember Karl Malone, one of the top names on Utah Jazz. Unfortunately, he never actually won an NBA championship but his team made it to two separate playoffs. Also, he was on the winning team of an Olympic Gold. Since then, he has spent his time coaching basketball and also investing in several businesses. The most interesting of all is that he spent some time as a truck driver hauling lumber, simply because he enjoyed the experience.
Brant Reeves spent his basketball career with the Vancouver’s Grizzlies from 1995 till 2001. He claimed the nickname ” Big Country” by his college roommate after he took his first flight across the United States. In 1998 his injuries began to slow him down and his stats began to fall dramatically. Since playing for the Grizzlies, Reeves has taken on a career as a cattle rancher close to his home town Oklahoma.
Alex Rodriguez made a name for himself as one of the greatest players in the MLB during the 22 years he spent in the league. Among his many accomplishments, A-Rod boasts of two Golden Gloves, three MVPs, and ten Silver Sluggers. After his retirement, he went into the world of business by founding A-Rod Corp. The website says that the business “manages investments across a broad array of industries, including real estate, sports and wellness, media, and entertainment.” You should know, however, that he is not the only retired athlete who has made a fortune by launching a company of his own!
Ever since it was launched in 1993, the UFC has seen a boost in popularity. In 2012, Women’s mixed martial art was finally added as a category. While it is relatively new, Ronda Rousey can be credited for its incredible growth. She made her mark on history as the first ever female UFC Champion. After her retirement from the octagon, she went into the ring next. With a promising acting career and an international following, Rowdy Ronda is a great WWE addition. After several guest appearances from 2014 to 2017, she finally landed a full-time contract just last year.