Although professional athletes are known for having one of the highest paying professions in the world, this doesn’t stop many of them from pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. In fact, a few of these athletes end up making more from their business ventures than from their time as an athlete.
Learn more about a few notable Black athletes turned entrepreneurs who’ve made the most of their careers:
Michael Jordan is one of the most successful and recognizable athletes of all time. Not only was he the first NBA player to become a billionaire, he’s also only the third Black American basketball player to reach this feat. On top of acting as current chairman and majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, the hall of famer has also made his fortune through partnerships with brands such as Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, and Coca-Cola. However, Jordan earns most of his money from Nike’s Jordan Brand, which after launching in 1997, has become one of the most popular sports brands in the world.
Currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, this NBA superstar has a wide endorsement portfolio which includes brands such as Nike, Cola-Cola, Beats by Dre, and Kia Motors. In fact, his Nike signature shoes are the highest selling sneaker among current NBA players. James also recently entered the entertainment industry, launching SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted media. Another notable investment James has made over the years is his acquired stake in Liverpool Football Club, which is now reportedly worth $32 million.
Venus Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam tennis champion who has made some powerful investments over the years. She is the founder and CEO of the clothing brand EleVen, as well as an interior design company V Starr Interiors. Williams has also invested in Ellevest, an app that empowers women to invest their money and helps them save from retirement. However, it doesn’t end there. Williams is also part-owner of the Miami Dolphins, alongside her sister Serena. And on top of that, she also has a best-selling book, plus endorsement deals with companies such as Electronic Arts, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Kraft.
The former heavyweight champion may be one of the most notable Black athletes turned entrepreneurs thanks to George Foreman Grills. Since 1994, he’s sold over 100 million grills worldwide; the grill earnings actually turned out to make him more money than his boxing career did. Foreman went on to sell the marketing rights for the grills in 1999 for $137 million. But he didn’t stop there. He has also started his own clothing line (Casual Male) as well as a line of cleaning products (Knockout).
The Los Angeles Lakers legend has had many successful entrepreneurial endeavors since retiring from the NBA. As the acting CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, not only does Johnson invest his fortune, he also donates it. Over the years Magic Johnson has donated millions to organizations which support the HIV/AIDS community. As for his investments, Johnson purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 in a $2 billion deal. He is also an owner of MLS’ Los Angeles Football Club, an investor in The Marvel Experience, and still maintains a partnership with brands such as Burger King and Sodexho.