Let’s face it, athletic careers do not last as long as normal careers do. Most NFL players retire in their 30s, NBA and MLB players when they are closer to 40 or in their 40s. Many of them find they have a lot of time on their hands, and some run out of money, which means many former players build new careers, either for fun or for the paycheck. What do they do? Take a look:
“The Mailman” found himself several job paths after retiring from the NBA, and no, none of the jobs actually involve delivering mail (someone else on this list did). He has ownership in about a dozen businesses, but also does a lot of different things to give back to his community. The 14-time All Star and 2-time MVP Hall-of-Famer at times hauls timber from properties, just because he reportedly enjoys trucking, and hosted an ESPN radio show – refusing to accept a salary.
The former New York Yankees catcher started his career as an author even before he retired. He published a children’s book titled Play Ball! in 2006, and co-authored Fit Home Team, a manual for family health, with his wife, as well as the book The Beauty of Love: A Memoir of Miracles, Hope and Healing, which describes how they dealt with their son’s condition. Jorge and Laura’s son has Craniosynostosis, and Posada also established the Jorge Posada Foundation, which helps with support and funds research for the condition.
Tiki Barber had somewhat ventured away from the game since his playing days with the New York Football Giants. The former running back was a correspondent for NBC’s Today Show and Sunday Night Football. He’s co-hosted Fox and Friends on Fox News, filled in for Willie Geist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe while he was on vacation. He even helped with the 2008 Olympics. He is currently a co-host on Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Radio Network, and also helped found the company Thuzio.
Charlie Ward may have played 12 seasons in the NBA, but football was arguably his real talent. Ward played quarterback for Florida State University, leading them to a National Championship in 1993. He was also named the Heisman Trophy winner that year. But Ward’s professional football career never flourished, and he turned his attention to basketball. After his successful NBA career, Ward returned to his true sport, and is now the head football coach at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida.
Vince Young recently announced that he is back in the game, and looking for a team to play with again in the NFL. But for several years, Young was out of the league. He filed for bankruptcy and got a job at his alma mater, the University of Texas, in their Community Engagement Center. The job description included working with programs that support first-generation college students. The job doesn’t pay too bad, $100,000 annually. Not an NFL quarterback salary, but a paycheck the most Americans dream about.
The NBA Champion shooting guard retired in 2006 after playing only ten seasons with various teams. Shandon Anderson was only 32 years-old, and after he realized he couldn’t cook a meal for himself, he decided to go from the NBA to culinary school. After completing his training at the Living Light Culinary Institute and the National Gourmet Institute, and interning at New York’s Candle 79, Anderson opened his own Vegan Thai restaurant in Atlanta, called Drink Art. Unfortunately, Drink Art shut its doors in 2015.
The two-time World Series Champion and two-time All Star shortstop built himself quite the business after officially retiring from the MLB in 2012. Eckstein, whose entire career was seen as miraculous, founded a fashion business with his wife Ashley in 2010. The business, called Her Universe, specifically targets women. The company produces accessories and fashion for women science-fiction fans and turned into a multimillion-dollar business pretty quickly.
The Big Unit has a degree in photojournalism, and since retiring from the MLB in 2009, Johnson has built himself a career as a photographer. On his website, www.rj51photos.com, Johnson explains that “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.” Johnson photographs concerts, wildlife, extreme sports and travel. Take a look at his website, the photos are stunning.
The World Series Champion turned turned to real estate after he retired from the majors. Wohlers and his wife Kimberly opened their own real estate company called “Team Wohlers,” working with buyers, sellers and investors. During his career, Wohlers pitched a combined no hitter in September of 1991. He had a 3.97 ERA for his career over more than 550 innings pitched.
During a time when NBA players didn’t have to go through universities (and they still don’t need to complete their degrees) Seattle Supersonics’ Detlef Schrempf graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in International Business. And Schrempf used his degree for private equity investments even before he retired from the NBA in 2001. But after officialy retiring, Schrempf dove right into the business world and has never looked back. He is now the Director of Business Development for Coldstream Capital Management.
The former catcher has made quite a career for himself away from the baseball diamond. After eight seasons in the majors, Johnson retired and went to work as a banker for JP Morgan Chase. Since, he has moved on to work as a consultant, preparing workers on issues such as age, religion and gender.
Byung-Hyun Kim may be known for choking during the 2001 World Series, when he blew saves in both Game 4 and Game 5. The somewhat shamed South Korean continued playing baseball after leaving the MLB, but is now also the co-owner of a restaurant called Umi Sushi in San Diego, California. The restaurant’s sports connection is felt and seen with jerseys and memorabilia hung on the walls, between paper lanterns and aquariums.
Walton averaged 13.3 points and 10.5 assists in the NBA before retiring with a back injury. But that back injury also arguably opened the door to a great post-playing career in the TV industry. The former NBA player has made a name for himself as a broadcaster across several channels, including NBC, ESPN, ABC and the Pac-12 Network. He has several catch phrases he is credited with, including “Throw it down, big man!” Unfortunately, in recent years, Walton doesn’t call as many games.
Deuce McAllister is probably best known as the New Orleans Saints’ running back, or maybe because he filed for bankruptcy in 2009 for his Nissan dealership and was caught in a row with Nissan for several years. After spending much of his riches, McAllister worked as a public speaker, using personal experience to educate others about financial decisions. Something he probably wished he had heard before he spent his millions on failed businesses. In 2016, McAllister also joined New Orleans Saints Radio network as a color analyst, replacing Hokie Gajan.
Bryant Reeves went from the Grizzlies to the ranch. The big man had chronic back issues, which cut his NBA career pretty short. Reeves retired from the Association after only six years, at the age of 27, averaging 12.5 PPG. But he was able to save some money while playing, which he likely used to purchase his current cattle ranch. But he hasn’t completely let go of basketball, Reeves’ 300-acre “Big Country” cattle ranch includes a full-size basketball court.
Tom Chambers is part of a long list of former athletes who retire their jerseys and pick up a sports coat and tie and settle down in the broadcaster’s chair. After spending 16 seasons in the NBA, Chambers, who is eligible for the Hall-of-Fame (he is the only player with 20,000 career points not yet inducted), settled down at Fox Sports Arizona, co-hosting pregame and halftime shows for the Phoenix Suns. The former power forward also owns Shooting Star Ranch in Utah, a facility used for horse training.
Dan Dickau spent less than a decade in the NBA, jumping from Atlanta to Portland, Dallas to New Orleans, Boston back to Portland, to LA and eventually to the D-League. Though the former WCC Player of the Year eventually found himself a career he’s stuck to. Dickau, who some may remember for his unruly hair, opened a barber shop in Spokane, Washington called The Barbers. The former point guard also works as a broadcaster for the Pack-12 Network and co-hosts a show on ESPN radio.
In 1972, LaRue Martin was selected number one overall by the Portland Trailblazers, ahead of Julius Erving and Bob McADoo, both hall of-famers. But Martin’s NBA career didn’t play out like most top draft picks’. He played four mediocre seasons, averaging 5.3 PPG and 4.6 rebounds. Martin turned to drinking, but then began working as a UPS delivery guy. After years of work, Martin managed to quit drinking and became an executive with the company, working in public relations and community affairs.
The lifelong Yankee only recently retired from the game. But he couldn’t sit still long, and since leaving the diamond in 2014, Jeter became the founding publisher of The Players’ Tribune, a media company that provides athletes with their own platform to connect with fans. Several big-time players already published their own stories and essays in the Tribune, including deputy publisher Kevin Durant’s essay “My Next Chapter,” in which he announced his decision to leave Oklahoma City.
Jack McDowell is all about the arts. Even when he was playing in the major leagues, McDowell played guitar in various bands, playing gigs during the off-season. McDowell already has a long list of achievements including the AL Cy Young Winner, to which he can add musician. McDowell’s band stickfigure, which consists of Michael Hamilton, Mike Mesaros and Frank Funaro, is known for songs such as Ape of the Kings and Memonto Mori
Pop quiz: is Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson a better baller of businessman? I’m not sure there’s a right answer to this question. Vinnie Johnson made a name for himself on the court and in the professional business world. When Johnson retired in 1992 after 14 seasons in the NBA, most of them with the Detroit Pistons, he founded a manufacturing company called “The Piston Group.” He continues to work as the group’s CEO, overseeing partnerships such as those with Continental Teves and Sachs.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier
Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s career started on the court, and you can still find him on the court. The two-time NBA champion and seven-time All Star spent ten years in a New York Knicks uniform, and eventually joined MSG network as a color analyst for Knicks games. He’s loved by fans and known for his funky clothing and rhyming tag lines, such as “dishing and swishing” and “slicing and dicing.” His no. 10 jersey was retired by the Knicks, and his college no. 52 jersey was retired by Southern Illinois.
Brett Schmidt is a 27-year-old professional lacrosse player. But, since lacrosse is not one of the top earning sports in the country, it is impossible to make a living off of playing alone. According to reports, players make only $10,000 a year. Which is why Schmidt has a full-item career as a financial adviser while also playing as a defender for the Charlotte Hounds. A financial adviser can earn up to $75,000 a year. Some lacrosse players see the game as a part-time job, while focusing on other careers.
Chris Nowinski is another case of an athlete turned author. The former wrestler, who played football during his college days, is a Harvard graduate, and published his first novel Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis in 2006. The book tells of how Nowinski worked to bring the issue of concussions and head injuries in sports into the spot light, and is at times credited as being the first book dealing with the subject. Nowinski is also a public speaker.
David Wells was once one of baseball’s greatest pitchers, and more specifically one of the best left handed pitchers in the game. He was a 3-time All Star, 2-time World Series Champion, and on May 17th, 1998, Wells pitched a perfect game. Now, the 53 year-old has decided to share his wisdom with the next generation of baseball players. Wells is the head baseball coach at his alma mater Point Loma High School in San Diego, California. He reportedly turned down several gigs in the majors to stay with the high school.
Adrian Cardenas spent only a single year in the majors, playing for the Chicago Cubs. After that season, 2012, Cardenas retired, but not because he wasn’t good enough. Cardenas decided that he wants to pursue other interests, and voiced his frustration with the monopolization of baseball by big companies. Cardenas swapped the glove for a pen, or perhaps a keyboard, and attended New York University to pursue a degree in creative writing. He is currently a contributing writer for The New Yorker.
The Filipino boxer has held the lineal welterweight and WBO titles since 2016 and is the WBO welterweight champion for the third time. He is also a senator. Pacquiao began his move into politics in 2007 and was elected as a congressman from the district of Sarangani in May of 2013, in a landslide victory. In 2016 he ran for Senate under the United Nationalist Alliance and in May of last year was proclaimed the winner, officially receiving a seat in the Senate.
The two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver finished his NFL career and started an extremely successful business career. Even while playing football, Muhammad was looking ahead and he became the co-founder of a private equity firm. The company invests in the food and beverage sector as well as education. Several years ago, they also purchased Wild Wing Cafe, a 32-restaurant chain with 11 corporate-owned locations and 21 franchises. Needless to say, he’s living the life even after football.
Have you ever driven around Silver Spring, Maryland, and thought for a second that you spotted NBA legend Adrian Dantley helping kids cross the street? If you made that double look, it’s not for no reason. Adrian Dantley worked as a crossing guard outside Eastern Middle School, before and after school. The job earns him less than $15,000 a year, but Dantley doesn’t necessarily need the money, he says he does it because it’s meaningful and for the health insurance, since the NBA doesn’t offer health insurance to retirees.