15 Athletes Who are Brilliant Businessmen

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Businessmen Athletes

Source: JD Mercer- USA Today Sports

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how a lot of athletes turn into amazing actors after they retire from the world of professional sports. Not every athlete has the best acting skills or the looks to be seen on the big screen. Other athletes work behind the scenes, or having nothing to do with the entertainment business at all.

These guys are the smart ones, the ones that spend their money wisely and have a decent background when it comes to finance. They become businessmen, and they begin to earn even more money than before. Whether they become entrepreneurs and start their own business or invest in larger corporations, these guys definitely know what they are doing.

Many athletes waste their money and go bankrupt a couple of years after retirement but these guys are an exception. A couple of them are still playing their respective sport, but let’s just say that they are on the right track to be making even more money after they retire.

We even have a couple of women that made this list. Can you guess who they are? You may not even know that they own their own companies and have invested in other professional sports leagues.

It’s hard to believe that athletes can make more money after retirement than they do during their career but it has definitely happened before and these guys will be featured on this list. I’m sure that you can predict a couple of big names that you will see on the next 15 slides, but others may surprise you. Enjoy!

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Tony Hawk

Source: Jake Roth- USA Today Sports

Tony Hawk is perhaps one of the most successful sports figure that has built a financial empire. He began his business career by starting his own skateboarding company, BirdHouse. Thanks to him, the skateboarding business stayed together as a whole, even though the sport was decreasing in popularity. Then he launched a video game series that included 16 game titles by the end of it. Allegedly he still rides a skateboard around the office on a daily basis.

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Oscar De La Hoya

Source: Brett Davis- USA Today Sports

Oscar may be the top pay-per-view earner in the world of boxing but he also has endured a major business venture. He owns a management company, Golden Bay Promotions, which consists of over 40 fighters and multiple businesses. Oscar over 50% of the large company that brings in over $100 million annually. Back in 2000, he also released a Grammy-nominated album in English and Spanish.

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Roger Staubach

Source: Douglas Jones- USA Today Sports

Staubach helped build the success of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970's but he didn't just stop there. After his football career, he quickly took an interest in realty and became a huge success. The Staubach Company is a multi-billion dollar business and he served as the CEO for over 30 years. It is a worldwide partner with a British company and there are over 70 offices open today. He didn't have to own numerous businesses to become successful unlike most former athletes.

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Venus Williams

Source: Presse Sports- USA Today Sports

Williams' biggest business venture is her interior design firm, V Starr Interiors, located in Florida. She went to school for interior design and feels like that is more important to her than her tennis career. On top of that, she also has her own fashion line EleVen, with the Steve & Barry's chain. in 2009, she became the first african-american woman to take part-ownership in an NFL team, the Miami Dolphins. On top of that, she also released a book in 2010 about how sports can help you succeed in your profession.

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Serena Williams

Source: Susan Mullane- USA Today Sports

That's right, Venus wasn't the only successful female athlete in the business world. Serena is also a part-owner in the Miami Dolphins with her sister. She has her own clothing and jewelry line with the Home Shopping Network. Although the sisters took two different paths in the design industry, they have both become very success with their business ventures. Serena has also been featured in numerous modeling photo shoots on top of her fashion lines.

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Nolan Ryan

Source: Tim Heitman- USA Today Sports

Ryan is most well-known as the CEO and president of the Texas Rangers. He also owns two minor league baseball teams and has co-written six different books about his career. Previously, Ryan was a majority owner in Express Bank of Alvin but sold his interest in 2005. He owns a restaurant in texas and has been a spokesperson for Advil for many years. On top of all that, Ryan owns his own beef company, Nolan Ryan All-Natural Beef.

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George Foreman

Source: wikimedia

Needless to say, you've probably used a George Foreman Grill at some point in your life. The former heavyweight champion has one of the most successful marketing techniques that we have seen. He went from a popular boxer to a true-entrepenuer. His net worth is now more than $250 million and the "lean, mean grilling machine" has turned into a family business.

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Source: Kirby Lee- USA Today Sports

Shaq is one of those guys that has invested in numerous companies in order to boost his financial stability. After retiring from the NBA, Shaq set out to assist with real-estate development projects; he made little profit but was helping citizens that needed a good home. Shaq owns fitness centers, car washes, Five Guys Burgers and Fries Franchises, nightclubs and his own shoe brand. Just a week ago, it was announced that Shaq will be teaming up with Arizona Beverages to come up with an all-natural line of soft drinks. He also holds equity in larger companies such as Google and Vitamin Water.

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LeBron James

Source: Soobum Im- USA Today Sports

I know that everyone is wondering about this one considering he is still a young and active player. But LeBron is one of the few athletes that has used his money wisely. His goal is to eventually break the billion-dollar mark, just like Tiger Woods. Sure, a lot of his earnings have come from his salary and endorsements but he has invested this money wisely. He has part-ownership in the Liverpool FC, one of the most successful sport franchises in the history of the world.

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Arnold Palmer

Source: Jake Gruber- USA Today Sports

A lot of people are loyal Arnold Palmer drinkers but do they even realize that he was a professional golfer? He is now the president and owner of his hometown Country Club, as well as a principal owner of Bay Hill Club in Orlando, which is where the Arnold Palmer Invitational is held every year. Arnold Palmer, Inc is a company that he started that designs golf courses and invitationals. His most recent business venture was in 2012 when he opened up a new hotel in Pennsylvania.

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Magic Johnson

Source: Kirby Lee- USA Today Sports

Magic was one of the NBA stars that invested his money wisely. He was a former part-owner for the L.A. Lakers and now is a stakeholder for the L.A. Dodgers. On top of that, Magic runs Magic Johnson Enterprises which has a net worth of over $700 million. This includes movie theaters, promotional brands and even a movie studio. He has also invested in fast-food chains, fitness centers and a deal with Sodex, the largest food and facility management company in the world.

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Dhani Jones

Dhani Jones
Source: Mark J. Rebilas- USA Today Sports

Jones didn't exactly have a successful career in the NFL but his post-retirement ventures are quite unique. In 2010, he opened up the Bow Tie Cafe in Cincinnati, which serves coffee, drinks and sandwiches. He also has his own company that sells high-end bowties and he is a partner with VMG Creative, a company that works closely with high-end businesses such as Michael Kors and Estee Lauder.

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Dave Bing

Source: Rick Ostenoski- USA Today Sports

This former NBA player launched Big Steel in Detroit after his retirement. This steel bill was bringing in about $61 million annually and was the 10th largest African American-owned industrial company in the nation. Later on, he founded Superb Manufacturing, which brought in $28 million in metal stamping. Lastly, he is the chairman of Bing Group, which is an automotive supplier that brings in over $200 million in sales annually. This may be one of the most unique set of business ventures for a former professional athlete.

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Roger Penske

Source: Mark J. Rebilas- USA Today Sports

Clearly, Penske is the founder of Penske Racing and Penske Automotive Group. These two companies account for his massive success in the financial field, especially considering Penske Auto Group operates more than 300 dealerships worldwide. He owns a NASCAR and IndyCar team as well. Penske is also a part-owner in Deer Valley Ski Resort, as well as a director for GE and Universal Technical Institute, Inc.

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Michael Jordan

Source: Sam Sharpe- USA Today Sports

Last but not least, I don't know if I even need to describe the financial success of Michael Jordan. It is estimated that Jordan is is still making approximately $80 million per year. He has corporate memberships with Nike, Hanes, Gatorade, 2K Sports and UpperDeck, just to name a few. On top of that, he owns 80% of the Charlotte Bobcats, six restaurants, a car dealership and a motorsports team. Needless to say, it's pretty obvious how he is making more now than he was back in the NBA.