By Andrew Pappas @AndrewPappas24 on July 16, 2014
We hear the story more and more as years go by: athletes going broke. Books have been written on it, documentaries have been made, but it continues to happen. That is why the athletes who handle their money properly should be praised; this list consists of 15 of those athletes-turned-businessmen.
After retiring from his NBA career, Johnson founded Piston Automotive. The company, now called The Piston Group, has more than 200 employees and sales of over $ 85 million. Johnson became a member of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Minority Business Development Council. Crain’s Business Magazine has also honored Johnson by choosing him to be part of the Black Business Leadership 100.
Webber is active in investment companies representing athletes, real estate and film projects. He currently owns a real estate development company which focuses on redevelopment efforts in Chicago. He also opened his own restaurant in the city he played in, Sacramento. He is a music producer and is featured on numerous hip-hop tracks. Webber won’t be calling a timeout on his business portfolio anytime soon.
De La Hoya is the top pay-per-view earner in boxing history, bringing in more than $ 600 million. In 2000, he released an album in both English and Spanish that was Grammy nominated. De La Hoya’s management company, Golden Boy Promotions, consists of more than 40 fighters and businesses, generating more than $ 100 million annually. With a versatile portfolio that spans the globe, De La Hoya is an impressive businessman.
The Staubach Company is a multi-billion-dollar business and Staubach has served as the CEO for over 30 years. It is a worldwide partner with a British company and together they have over 70 offices open today. Unlike most other people on this list, Staubach has made the majority of his wealth in one business, a testament to his savvy.
As chairman and CEO of Ripken Baseball Inc., he helped build a baseball complex in his hometown of Aberdeen, Md. He owns two minor league baseball teams, the Augusta GreenJackets and Charlotte Stone Crabs. Ripken is a best-selling author and has contributed to authoring three books total.
Hawk is the founder and owner of Birdhouse, one of the largest skateboarding companies in the world, and he started his own clothing line, appropriately named “Hawk Clothing” which can be found in Kohls stores across America. His partnership with Activision helped put together the “Tony Hawk” video game series which had a 16-game career. Hawk revolutionized skateboarding and has enjoyed continued success is his other ventures.
Four-straight Finals appearances and MVP awards have made LeBron James the face of basketball. Sales of his signature Nike shoes were tops among active players at $ 300 million in American sales in 2013. James also had a stake in Beats headphones, which recently sold to Apple. LeBron loves riding his bike, and has part ownership of Cannondale bicycles. At only 29 years old, James’ portfolio is only just beginning.
Over 100 million George Foreman Grills have been sold across the world. He sold the marketing rights to his grills in 1999 for $ 137 million. His other business ventures include a clothing line and cleaning product line.
“The Great One” bought the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Junior Hockey League and sold it seven years later for three times as much. He has partnered in the ownership of two teams before becoming a partner in the Phoenix Coyotes. In 1992, Gretzky partnered in an investment to buy a rare Honus Wagner T206 cigarette card for $ 500,000. It most recently sold for $ 2.8 million. He also owns his own restaurant, as well as his own winery.
Shaq’s success on the court led him to seek equal prosperity when his career was over. He was a pre-IPO investor in Google, and owns dozens of fitness centers, car washes and restaurants across the country. O’Neal has stakes in Muscle Milk and Vitamin Water, as well as the social media start-up, Tout. Shaq has always had an eye for good opportunities, and his business empire will continue to grow for years to come.
Everyone knows about his Arnold Palmer beverages, but Arnie’s portfolio expands much further than the lemonade-iced tea refreshment. Palmer is the owner of multiple golf courses including the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, where his own tournament is held each year. He also owns multiple hotels across the country. I think it is safe to say that his business savvy is as on-point as his golf game.
Since retirement, Elway has owned several businesses and has founded The Elway Foundation, a non-profit organization for the prevention of child abuse. He is also the owner of two restaurants in the Denver area. He once owned five car dealerships which he sold to AutoNation in 1997 for $ 82.5 million. He is still in the car dealership business.
In 1980, Bing launched Big Steel in Detroit. Within a decade, his steel mill was pulling in $ 61 million in annual sales, making Bing Steel the 10th largest African American-owned industrial company in the nation. Bing Steel would transform itself to the Bing Group, a comglomerate that works closely with the automotive industry. Bing later became the Mayor of Detroit.
Magic runs Magic Enterprises, a chain of movie theaters he has built from the ground up. His foundation has awarded more than $ 1.1 million to community organizations that focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention. He and his partners are also known for bringing big business to urban commercial areas. Magic and those partners now own the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he remains a positive public figure in the community.
Venus is currently CEO of her interior design firm “V Starr Interiors.” She also has her own fashion line which she launched in 2007. She is part owner of the Miami Dolphins with her sister Serena. Her first book “Come to Win” was No. 5 on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2010. Venus and Serena often do business together.
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