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After finding fame in the sports realm, many professional athletes trade in their jerseys and cleats for entrepreneurship. By capitalizing the business opportunities and endorsements on offer, numerous avenues like fashion to private equity investments exist to keep their unique work ethic and perseverance alive. Transferring the determination and competitive spirit to the business world, here are four former athletes, running profitable businesses.
Venus Williams – Tennis
The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion didn’t wait to retire to launch her own company. Tennis player Williams boasts a business portfolio featuring her athletic clothing firm EleVen and interior design company, V Starr Interiors. With her best-selling book titled Come to Win, the 39-year-old also has the author title attached to her name.
Kobe Bryant - Basketball
Kobe Bryant retired in 2016 as the NBA's third all-time leading scorer behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Since 2013, Bryant has started a $100 million venture capital fund as well as investing in 15 companies including sports media website The Players Tribune, legal-services company Legal Zoom, mobile game designer Scopely, Alibaba Group and others. He is also an essential part of Bryant Stibel, which was founded to provide strategic, financial and operational support to businesses with a focus across technology, media and data.
Michael Jordan – Basketball
Michael Jordan was the NBA's highest-paid player for only two seasons during his 15-year playing career. Regarded by most as the NBA's greatest all-time player, Jordan won six titles with the Chicago Bulls. The 56-year-old billionaire bought a majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets in 2010 for a grossed-up value of $175 million. The Hornets are now worth $1.05 billion, with Jordan owning 90% of the team.
George Foreman – Boxing
After heavyweight champion George Foreman took the boxing world by storm, his best-selling George Foreman Grills made him a household name. To date, more than 100 million of the units have sold worldwide. Foreman also spent over a decade promoting Meineke Car Care Centers and grew the business to over 1,000 franchises. He has now successfully launched a line of environmentally safe cleaning products, exclusive line of personal care products, a prescription shoe for diabetics to prevent amputations, a restaurant franchise called UFood Grille, 10 books, and the list continues to build.