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Top Athletes Who Are Also Successful Businessmen

Written by Contributor, on 31st Jan 2019. Posted in General

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The competitive nature of leading professional athletes leads many of them to venture into the world of business.

There are plenty of high-profile stars who have dabbled in business while still involved in sport, before embarking on a new career when they retire. Many of them go on to generate even more money than when they were in sports.

Read on as we look at five top athletes who are also successful businessmen.

Jordan skyrockets to billionaire status

Michael Jordan made less than $100 million in the NBA, but he is now estimated to have a net worth of $1.65 billion.

Despite retiring from basketball 20 years ago, Jordan still makes more money than LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant or any other active player.

He reportedly makes $100m per year from Nike royalties alone, with his Jordan brand one of the most recognisable in the sportswear industry.

Nike founder Phil Knight called signing Jordan the best decision he ever made, with the brand now generating more than $3bn in revenue each year.

Jordan used his wealth to buy the Charlotte Hornets for $275m in 2010. They're now worth more than $1bn and he owns 90% of the club.

McGregor aiming to milk the whiskey industry

Conor McGregor made almost $100m between June 2017 and June 2018, with most of his income coming from fights and endorsements. However, he has other projects like clothing collaborations and digital properties that contribute to his wealth.

The Irishman’s latest venture is ‘Proper No. Twelve’, described by the UFC star as “Proper Irish Whiskey, from a Proper Irishman!”

He'll be promoting the product across a six-fight deal he signed with the UFC, with the liquor firm set to be a sponsor in every event in which McGregor competes with the company.

Each bottle costs $29.99 and McGregor is confident it will be included in the world’s top whiskey lists in the near future.

Other deals with the likes of Burger King, Beats by Dre and Anheuser-Busch are guaranteed to keep the cash rolling in for years to come.

Brand Beckham marches on

David Beckham was hugely popular during his playing days and that has continued since he hung up his boots.

The former Manchester United and England star still outstrips many top Premier League earners, with ‘Brand Beckham’ infiltrating numerous areas of business.

It is estimated that Beckham earns around £300,000 per week from his various commercial interests, placing him above most current players.

Always popular with advertisers, Beckham has branched into fashion, food and drink, television, entertainment and more, helping to swell his bank balance.

His most successful recent campaign was with clothing retailer H&M, for whom he has appeared in a number of ads with comedian Kevin Hart.

He recently launched another new project — a Miami-based Major League Soccer franchise – and he has made it clear that he wants to make it one of the best teams in America.

Foreman boxes clever

George Foreman made a name for himself at the 1968 Olympic Games when he knocked out Jonas Cepulis to secure a gold medal.

He went on to win the world heavyweight title with a second-round knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973, before making two successful title defences.

Foreman suffered his first professional loss to Muhammad Ali in the infamous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in 1974 and after being unable to secure a rematch he retired three years later.

In 1994, at the age of 45, Foreman became boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion after defeating Michael Moorer.

He claimed that his success was due to healthy eating, which made him a perfect fit for Salton, Inc., who were looking for a spokesperson for its fat-reducing grill.

The George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine has become a feature of many modern kitchens since then, shifting over 100m units.

Bryant bags sports drink windfall

Since walking away from basketball after 20 years and five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant has been busily proving he has the talent to be even more successful in business.

A $200m windfall for a shrewd investment of $6 million in sports drink BodyArmor perfectly demonstrated his commercial acumen.

In 2013, he formed Kobe, Inc., a multimedia content-creation company intended to help young athletes learn how to maximise their potential. Since then, the company has completed numerous film projects.

He also started an investment platform with Bryant Stibel. The $100m venture capital fund provides strategic, financial and operational support for start-up businesses.

Bryant’s latest venture is with Art of Sport (AOS), a new range of skincare products designed specifically with the needs of athletes in mind.

The former NBA star is now estimated to be worth around $500m and that figure seems sure to rise over the coming years.

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