You have to be tough to make it to the league. You have to be even tougher to make it outside of the league.
It’s been reported that about 60 percent of former NBA players go broke within five years of retirement. This can be attributed to players funneling money into bad investments, bankrolling the lifestyles of those around them (mostly extended family), being faced with medical problems, and living beyond their means.
Fortunately, many NBA players have grown savvier over the years and have leveraged their athletic talents into developing strong personal brands worth multimillions.
These are a few of the most successful NBA players turned businessmen.
With flagship brand endorsements like Sprite, Nike, and McDonald’s among others, Lebron has charted a path of incredible business success. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for him, though. A smart investor, he’s had early buy-in on brands like Blaze Pizza, Fenway Sports, and Beats by Dre.
The former Boston Celtics point guard invested his NBA salary and reportedly purchased 30 Wendy’s locations in 2013. Now, he is the head coach for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association.
Johnson is one of the original NBA players-turned-moguls. His stunning success of his large-scale urban development projects including Starbucks locations and movie theaters. He’s also a fast food franchisee and part owner of sports teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Sparks.
The ever-business-minded former Knicks small forward now owns more than 30 Outback Steakhouses, nearly 50 Papa John’s stores, and investments in horse racing, real estate, and auto industries.
The ultimate NBA goat’s business profit is the stuff of legends. As history’s first-ever billion-dollar athlete, his likeness and name are synonymous with Nike, and have completely architected the modern sneaker industry. Outside of that, he’s owned restaurants, made his foray into the Metaverse with a web3 platform co-owned by his son Jeffrey and is the proud owner of the Jordan the Charlotte Hornets.