Is it really that surprising that many athletes go on to have even more fruitful post-sports careers? After all, to become a successful pro athlete is not just a physical endeavor. It requires inhuman discipline, focus, strategy, and oftentimes, pure savvy, all skills which translate wonderfully to the business world.
Success is just a natural part of life when you’re a demigod who’s good at everything.
For Mario Lemieux, the game of hockey is the gift that just keeps on giving. There are very few athletes that can claim to have dominated their sport quite as thoroughly as this superstar on skates. While his wildly successful career as an NHL hockey player led to him to earn back-t0-back Stanley Cup wins for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the victories continued long after “Super Mario” hung up his skates for good. How so, you ask? In retirement, he bought the team, rescued it from financial distress, and eventually led them to claim a third championship title in 2009.
How so, you ask? In retirement, he bought the team, rescued it from financial distress, and eventually led them to claim a third championship title in 2009.
Charles Barkley never earned a championship ring during his long (and otherwise successful) career in professional basketball, though you wouldn’t know it based on how much press coverage the “Round Mound of Rebound” still receives today.Whether he is making headlines for his brazen political commentary or his hilariously inept golf swing, the broadcaster, author, spokesperson, and 11-time NBA All-Star always manages to maintain the same coziness with publicity that he was known for decades ago. It’s as though retirement only makes Barkley busier!
Whether he is making headlines for his brazen political commentary or his hilariously inept golf swing, the broadcaster, author, spokesperson, and 11-time NBA All-Star always manages to maintain the same coziness with publicity that he was known for decades ago. It’s as though retirement only makes Barkley busier!
In his native England, Vinnie Jones is known as the soccer sensation that dominated the field all throughout the late 20th century. Across the pond, the ball-playing bloke is known for his work in an entirely different (though equally glamorized) industry: acting.
“Hard Man” Jones retired from professional soccer in 1999 following a long career of leading teams, winning championships, and head-butting men in the testicles in pursuit of victory. The former athlete then moved to the United States, where his interest in the silver screen soon led to him appearing in a wide variety of films, including such recognizable titles as X-Men: The Last Stand and Juggernaut.
Yes, you read that correctly: The Gerald Ford really qualifies as an item on this list. Before taking on the fun little retirement gig of becoming the leader of the free world (amongst other diplomatic achievements), Mr. Ford was making national headlines for a completely different reason: he was a college football superstar.
Though he never made to the professional level, the diplomatic linebacker led the University of Michigan to two consecutive national championships during his time as a student, prompting the school to eventually retire his number. The never-ending adoration was mutual, and Ford remained a notorious supporter of the team all throughout his presidency.
During his time in the NBA, soft-hearted superstar Hakeem Olajuwon was nicknamed “The Dream” for his demeanor on and off the court (though the simplified spelling probably helped too).
While others in his position may have seen retirement as a wake-up call, Olajuwon’s separation from the sport only led him to an even more dreamlike existence: real estate. Sure, it seems hard to believe that buying and selling high-end Houston homes could possibly be as glamorous as being an NBA All-Star, but the $100 million fortune Olajuwon has amassed through his practice is truly the stuff of fairy tales.