It’s the sportsmen’s dilemma: what to do after playing time is over? Many sportsmen tend not to move too far away from their comfort zone and become coaches and managers, often within the team they played for, while a few others may take the less beaten path and venture into new businesses.
Here are the sports stars who managed to have great success in and out of the field.
The former New York Yankees baseball star is definitely one of the most successful former athletes in the world. After a lifetime spent playing for one of the most recognizable sports teams in the world, where he racked up five World Series and 14 appearances at the MLB All-Star Game, Jeter established himself as an amazing businessman, during his retirement.
He is the co-founder of “The Players Tribune”, a media platform that provides content written by professional athletes, and, in 2017, he became the CEO of the baseball team Miami Marlins.
On top of that, Jeter has also appeared in several commercials, movies and TV shows in the U.S., including Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld and The Other Guys.
Tony Hawk is the face of skateboarding around the world. Turned pro in 1982 but still managed to turn a humble street activity into a worldwide recognized sport. A true pioneer, Hawk is the first ever athlete to have performed a 900 degrees aerial spin during an official competition.
However, his success is not just limited to the ramps. From founding his own skateboard manufacturing company, called Birdhouse, to launching a clothing brand, to giving his name to a popular video game franchise and lobbying skateboarding into the upcoming Paris 2020 Olympics, Hawk has done just as much, if not more, in his life after retiring from the game.
Widely considered to be one of the best Canadian athletes of all time, basketball legend Steve Nash’s interests expand well beyond the court. The former Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and two-time MVP has directed several commercials for Nike while investing in his other great passion, football.
In 2011 Nash became the co-owner of Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps, with which he also trained on the pitch a couple of times, while, in 2016, he purchased a $21 million stake in the Spanish team Mallorca.
In addition to that, he also founded the “Steve Nash Sports Club”, a $5-million fitness company. He is the main man behind the “Meathawk Foundation”, dedicated to assisting underserved children – helping the health and personal development of children.
Fun fact, in 2010, he also became the first NBA player to ever participate in lighting the Olympic cauldron.
With all probability, the greatest women’s football player ever and one of the most important and recognizable female figures in the history of sports!
Hamm has had an equally impressive success after she decided to hang up her boots.
In 1999, she founded the “Mia Hamm Foundation”, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for families in need of a marrow or blood transplant. What is more, she became very vocal and an activist for the development of more opportunities for women in sports.
Hamm is also a global ambassador for FC Barcelona and the author of the national bestselling books “Go For the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life” and “Winners Never Quit”.
Moreover, in 2014, Hamm was announced as a co-owner of Major League Soccer club, Los Angeles FC and, during the same year, she joined the board of directors of Serie A club A.S. Roma, owned by American businessman James Pallotta.
Few people actually remember that, before becoming a world-famous wrestler, Dwayne Johnson, was mostly known as The Rock and he won a national football championship at the University of Miami. Back then he was considered to be one of the brightest sports stars of the future!
Since those days, The Rock has grown to be one of the most recognizable faces in the world. From the main face in the WWE, the U.S. wrestling federation, to playing in some of the most successful films in the last 15 years, including “The Scorpion King” and the “Fast and Furious” saga, where he plays the role of the tough cop Luke Hobbs, The Rock has done it all!
In 2000, the polyhedric Johnson published his autobiography, titled “The Rock Says..”, which topped The New York Times Best Seller list for several weeks, and, in 2012, he founded his production company, “Seven Bucks Productions”.
Magic is a true sporting legend. Back in the ’80s, he helped a historical but depressed franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers win an astonishing five NBA titles, of which the three featured him as the MVP. In addition to that, Johnson also was included in the NBA All-Star Game 12 times and had his iconic n.32 retired by the Lakers.
What more can one person want?
Well, in his case … a lot!
Since his retirement, Johnson has had an unbelievable success as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, broadcaster and motivational speaker.
After announcing his HIV infection in November 1991, Johnson created the ”Magic Johnson Foundation” to help combat AIDS and other deadly diseases.
Throughout the years, he also became the chairman and CEO of the “Magic Johnson Enterprise”, which helped him in his ventures to successfully acquiring the Major League Baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers, WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC.
Former Romanian top 10 tennis player Ion Tiriac is the perfect example of a sportsperson who went on to have more success, once his days on the court were over.
By all means, Tiriac had a very respectable tennis career with many achievements to his name. Nevertheless, he failed to win a Grand Slam title in over 25 years on the pro circuit. However, he represented his country as an ice hockey player at the 1964 Winter Olympic Games.
His real success, though, came later in his life. After the collapse of communism in his country, he started several businesses and investments back home.
In 1990, he founded his own bank, the first-ever private bank in post-Communist Romania. Thanks to that and to the many other enterprises he ventured into, ranging from retail to insurance, to auto dealerships to airlines, he is now one of the richest athletes of all time, with a net worth of $1.17 billion, according to Forbes.
Alex Rodriguez is mostly known for his fabulous accomplishments in the baseball field that made him one of the best and, indeed, well-paid, athletes in the world.
He is a 3-time Major League Baseball MVP, a 14-time All-star and a 2009 World Series Champion with the New York Yankees.
While his career as a player has also divided many fans, due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs, in his life after baseball, he established A-Rod as a top international businessman.
While still breaking records on the field, Rodriguez started a real estate investment and development firm. Following its huge success the “A-Rod Corp” expanded to other areas such as media and entertainment.
Today, Rodriguez’s company is a fully integrated investment firm, that employs more than 500 people.
David Beckham is one of the most recognizable football players of all time. Known for his unparalleled crossing and free-kicking abilities displayed at Manchester United and at Real Madrid, he is also a true fashion icon around the world.
Life after football has proven to be just as sweet for him, as his household name has helped him in his numerous ventures off the pitch.
In 2014, the Major League Soccer announced that Beckham exercised his option to buy an expansion team for $25 million, which he had received as part of the contract he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.
After five years, in 2018, his team, Inter Miami had finally been approved and will likely debut in the 2020/21 season.
Beckham is also an ambassador for UNICEF and Goodwill and has endorsement deals, worth millions of dollars, with companies such as Xbox, Adidas, and Pepsi.
Tennis star Venus Williams has not yet technically retired, but, at 38 years of age, we can definitely say that her best days on the court are over.
Throughout her unbelievable career, during which she rewrote the sport’s history along with her sister Serena, she won Wimbledon five times, the US Open twice and topped the world ranking in 2002.
Williams also found the time to start her interior design firm “V Starr Interiors”, located in her native state of Florida. Her company designed the Olympic athletes’ apartments as part of New York’s failed bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
In 2009, she and her sister became part-owners of the NFL team Miami Dolphins, and in 2010, she released her first book, “Come to Win; on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession”, which ranked in the Top 5 of The New York Times Best Sellers list.
Ask any ice hockey fan around the world who is the greatest ever player and 99 times out of 100 you will get the same answer: Wayne Gretzky.
Nicknamed “The Great One”, Gretzky took more than 60 National Hockey League (NHL) records, including most points, most goals, most assists and most goals in a season. He is also a member of the Order of Canada, a Canadian national order and the second highest honor for merit in the country, rarely awarded to sportspeople.
Gretzky’s popularity and good looks made him perfect as an endorser and, in fact, in the 90’s he was one of the best-paid athletes in the world thanks to his several sponsorships deals with giants such as Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza and Sharp. In 2017, Gretzky also launched “Wayne Gretzky Estates”, a venture into winemaking that is proving to be just as successful as he was on the ice rink.
Where to even begin with Michael Jordan? He is perhaps the most famous sportsperson of all time and was a key figure in the growing popularity of basketball during the ’80s and the ’90s.
His accomplishments include six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVP, five NBA MVP awards, 14 All-star appearances and an Olympic gold medal in 1996.
His name is also such a powerful brand that people often camp outside stores just to get their hands on a pair of “Air Jordan” sneakers.
Even after having retired, Jordan has a multitude of endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Wheaties, and many others, and, according to Forbes, he is worth $1 billion.
As that was not enough already, Jordan is the majority owner of the NBA franchise Charlotte Hornets and a minority owner of the NFL team Miami Marlins.