BUSINESS

Who Are The Best Athletes Turned Entrepreneurs?

You might be surprised!

GREY Journal

Do you have an interest in both business and sports? If so, it can be motivating and exciting to learn more about businesses run by your favorite athletes. Professional sports is just as much a business as it is a source of entertainment, so it should come as no surprise that a number of athletes are also entrepreneurs. Of course, we all know about Michael Jordan’s work with Nike and the Charlotte Bobcats, but who else is out there making waves?

LeBron James

LeBron James NBA Finals 2018
LeBron James NBA Finals 2018

Since he’s possibly the most famous active NBA player, it is only fitting that LeBron James’ name would make the list. According to a 2019 Forbes article, James is the highest paid player currently working in the NBA with a total salary of about $89 million—more than half of which is earned off the court. This is attributed not just to shoe deals, but also to his own Hollywood production company, SpringHill Entertainment. In addition, James has served as an investor with a pizza chain known as Blaze Pizza, and helped launch a health and wellness company called Ladder.

Venus Williams

Venus Williams with Mike Bauer GM of Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium and Sonya Haffey VP of V Starr Interiors
Venus Williams with Mike Bauer (GM of Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium) and Sonya Haffey (VP of V Starr Interiors)

Next up is the professional female tennis player Venus Williams. Much of Williams’ business dealings have been in fashion. In 2002, she started a business called V Starr Interiors in Jupiter, Florida. She also has an athletic clothing line called EleVen, which aims to provide comfortable clothing for men and women. Outside of the fashion industry, Venus and her sister, Serena Williams, also bought a stake in the NFL’s very own Miami Dolphins in 2009. This made them the first African American women to have an ownership stake in an NFL team.

Drew Brees

NFL quarterback Drew Brees
NFL quarterback Drew Brees

Speaking of the NFL, another athlete worth mentioning is Drew Brees. Off the field, Brees owns multiple franchises with places like Dunkin and Jimmy John’s, and has invested in the food delivery service known as Waitr. According to Forbes, he also leads all NFL players in sponsoring money ($16 million), and his foundation donated roughly over $25 million to various academic institutions and causes throughout places like New Orleans and San Diego.

Barry Word

Retired NFL player Barry Word
Retired NFL player Barry Word. Photo courtesy of Black Enterprise

Barry Word may be lesser known than the other examples listed, but he is still relevant, nonetheless. Though he was a former NFL running back, Word is currently the president of the printing company known as SpeedPro Imaging of Centreville. According to his bio, Word’s business experience also includes owning a restaurant in Richmond, VA, and a 20-year career as an owner of a contracting company.

And So Many More

As one might expect, there are countless other examples of athletes who are also entrepreneurs. While these people may primarily be known for what they do in front of an audience, there is often more going on in their lives beyond that. If you have a passion for both sports and business, always remember that the two are not mutually exclusive.

Who else is an athlete-turned-entrepreneur? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.

Adam Abuelheiga
I am a U.S. citizen who lives in Houston, Texas. I graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown with a Bachelor’s Degree in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences/Technical Communication. Throughout my time at UHD, I have had experience in writing in plain language, proofreading documents, and conducting usability tests for professional websites.

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