Ten Athletes that Dominate in Business


Brad Pyatt featured as one of the most successful athletes turned entrepreneurs and has built multiple award winning brands

A version of this article was first published on the smallbusinessloans.com

1. Venus Williams

Sports around the globe inspire people to come together regardless of race, religious beliefs and gender. The greatest athletes use their perseverance, work ethic, and pristine focus to enamor the world on the field. However, as athletes retire, they often drop out of the mind of sports fans and become a distant memory. Luckily for athletes, the lessons learned in sports can be used as a foundation throughout life. Here are ten famous athletes that used the lessons they learned in sports to become successful entrepreneurs.

2. Magic Johnson

While it’s hard to keep tabs on Magic Johnson’s business life, it’s clear that this business savvy superstar is making a killing in business. Magic Johnson is currently known as the Lakers’ Presidents of Basketball Operations, but he is part-owner in other franchises. He currently partly owns the Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s also an investor in the LACF and Xiomatic Esports.

Magic also currently owns Magic Johnson Enterprises. It’s a company that’s valued at one billion dollars. The company has owned Starbucks stores, movie theaters, and 24 Hour Fitness facilities. The company also has a hold direct investments and marketing for renowned companies. It’s safe to say that Magic Johnson is just as gifted in business as he was in basketball.

3. George Foreman

George Foreman became a household name during the 1968 Olympics. He secured a gold medal by knocking out Soviet Union’s Jonas Čepulis.

Luckily for George, his legacy didn’t end there. The boxing champion went on to launch a wide range of products. He had a successful clothing line, and he even created cleaning products that were focused on going green. However, his most famous business came during the launch of the Lean Mean Grilling Machine and the follow-up of Foreman grills ever since. Currently, George is worth an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s also a boxing commentator who owns a German Shepard breeding business.

4. Brad Pyatt

Brad Pyatt was a wide receiver in the NFL for four years. While playing, he spent time on the Colts, Dolphins, Steelers, and the Rams before his career was cut short. He suffered devastating injuries that forced him off the field, but Pyatt used resilience to make the most of his situation.

Brad reflected on his career and believed that his injuries were likely a result of the supplements he had been taking. As a result, he set out to change the face of the industry. With some savviness and confidence, Brad teamed up with Cory Gregory to found MusclePharm. After some hard work, the company became one of the most trusted names in the sports and supplement world.

5. Michael Jordan

While Michael Jordan earned ninety million dollars in salaries playing basketball, this business savvy athlete has amassed a fortune that’s worth more than a billion dollars. While Jordan isn’t known for being an independent business owner, he is a brilliant marketer. He has generated his fortune through using his marketability to secure endorsements from the most famous powerful sports businesses in the world.
MJ also currently owns most of the Charlotte Hornets franchise. The team’s value has risen almost six hundred million dollars since Jordan bought the majority stake in the team.

As a result of his marketing charm and his savviness, Jordan is now considered a champion both on and off the court.

6. Roger Staubach

While most people know Roger for his incredible career as the quarterback of the Dall Cowboy’s, he’s also an incredibly gifted real estate man. After he hung up his cleats, he secured a position as a real estate agent for the infamous Henry Miller Jr. real estate company. After working hard for six years, Roger left the giant to form The Staubach Company.

While the company was started out as a small business with five employees, the business expanded incredibly quickly due to Staubach’s vision and leadership. In 2008, Staubach sold the firm for the astounding amount of six hundred million dollars. It’s safe to say that Staubach is another professional athlete that has used his skills to dominate business.

7. John Elway

John Elway is renowned for leading the Broncos to multiple Superbowls, but he’s a beloved business owner in Colorado. Since retirement, John Elway has purchased an arena football team, successfully launched five auto dealerships, and even owns his own steakhouses.
It’s an amazing feat for a man who is still known as one of the faces of the Broncos franchise. As the general manager of the team, he has once again used his business skills to lead his team to the Superbowl by securing an incredible defense and another Hall of Fame quarterback.

It’s amazing John still has time to run his businesses in the process, but his businesses remain successful while he focuses on winning in football.

8. Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is known for his endorsement deals and commercials across the country, but very few people know that the future hall of famer has a knack for business.
Firstly, Peyton Manning owns two Anheuser-Busch distributors in Louisiana. And while everyone enjoys watching him in pizza commercials, he has a vested interest in the Papa John’s franchise. Peyton Manning inked a deal to own dozens of Papa John’s franchises across Denver, Colorado, and his pizza joints have seen a pleasant boom in business since he joined the Broncos before retirement.

All in all, Peyton Manning’s total net worth is valued close to two hundred million. That’s a pretty nice value for a man who’s just starting in a new life after football.

9. Tom Brady

Tom Brady has been making splashes in the headlines recently due to his insane diet. Brady is an avid fan of healthy nutrition, and he maintains a strict diet to ensure that he stays healthy in the most dangerous sport.

After dedicating over a decade to optimal performance, Brady has officially published what many athletes consider as an athlete’s bible to staying healthy. It features an incredibly strict diet, but his knack for business doesn’t stop there.

Tom Brady also sells a variety of gear on his website TB12. It includes resistance bands and even features mental training software for people to take advantage of.
While it’s too early to tell how profitable this business will become over the next couple of decades, it seems like Tom Brady is prepared to put his reputation on the line when it comes to staying healthy.

If Tom Brady adds another couple of rings to his resume, his business may become a staple in the sports world.

10. David Beckham

David Beckham has been a global icon for what seems like an eternity. The gentleman is a fashion image, and he’s married to icon in Victoria Beckham.

Even though he retired from sports long ago, David has built a net worth valued well above four hundred million dollars. He’s successfully embarked on an astounding number of business ventures. David Beckham is an ambassador for L’Oreal, and he has own line of signature fragrances. He licensed his name to Trinity International for a clothing line, and he often teams up with H&M to launch a line of clothing. He’s even dabbled in the alcohol business by aiding in the launch of Haig Club.

This group of entrepreneurs is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to athletes that have successfully transitioned into business. It’s clear that being an icon is beneficial when acquiring assets, but taking advantage of opportunities is a common trait among athletes.

Athletes can be used a perfect example that leadership, vision, confidence, perseverance, and hard work are crucial ingredients for success in any industry. What many athletes have that others lack is funding – they have access to their own capital, as well as the ability to seek out large investors with ease. Their fame provides a platform for receiving capital, while other small business owners may need to get a working capital loan to grow beyond where they are currently at. You shouldn’t see this as an obstacle, but instead as another challenge you will need to overcome as an entrepreneur.

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