We view professional sports names as absolute superstars due to their rare talent to perform in the games we so dearly love. Most of us enjoy one or many sports from childhood that become part of who we are and it shapes our passions in adulthood. The love for a sport or a sports team will create the idolization for one of the better players on the court, ice or field. They do unbelievable things with their athletic ability and lucky genetics that seem impossible for the mere mortal. This causes us to lose sight of how just human even the most rich and famous athletes are.
The story has unfolded far too many times. Rich athlete makes millions of dollars in a short time period. Athlete spends all of the money on frivolous things and loses it all. The athlete’s body is no longer in peak condition with the process of aging and is forced to retire with debt. That tale has been shared numerous times with many greats in just about every professional sport. The ones that end up having to get normal jobs like the rest of us are rarely reported. Quite a few athletes have moved on to completely different career paths than the ones we remember them from.
There have even been some athletes that just have passion in other fields of work and have moved onto that after leaving their sport. Considering an athlete likely has to retire before the age of 40 in most sports, it is naturally healthy for one to enter another line of work to continue to have a day to day purpose. The athletes to have normal jobs range from superstars to sob stories to role players to those with a new desire in life. We’ll look at all of the sides as we break down the top fifteen retired athletes to find regular jobs.
15. Terrell Owens – Model
The most controversial NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens was recently snubbed from entering the Football Hall of Fame on the first ballet. Owens is likely going to get in eventually for his spectacular NFL career but a significant money loss after poor financial decisions has forced him to enter another line of work. You can find T.O. modeling in various ads to make a living with his playing days over. Owens has a legendary smile and the good looks of a model so it makes sense for him to start another career in the public eye. Maybe Owens will walk down a runway shirtless to make his long awaited Hall of Fame speech when inducted.
14. Byung-Hyun Kim – Restaurant Owner
Byung-Hyun Kim will always be remembered for blowing back-to-back games in the 2001 World Series as the Arizona Diamondbacks closer against the New York Yankees. Arizona would bounce back to win it all in a classic seven-game series but Kim’s career was never the same and following his MLB retirement, he entered the world of cuisine. The South Korean pitcher owns a restaurant named Umi Sushi in San Diego and adds a baseball feel to the dining location with baseball memorabilia serving as part of the décor. Kim apparently has a “hands on” approach to running the business and has done a nice job building a new career.
13. Deuce McAllister – Public Speaker
The NFL career of Deuce McAllister was quite promising in his early years with the New Orleans Saints. McAllister unfortunately made terrible business decisions that landed him in serious debt. Between his playing career and the financial struggles that has harmed him after, McAllister currently works as a public speaker. The former running back is trying to work his way back into a decent living after his home was put up for auction following the debt caused by investing in a car dealership. McAllister’s story has gone from rags to riches back to rags and we are rooting for him to get his life on a healthy path through public speaking.
12. Mark Wohlers – Realtor
Mark Wohlers was a very reliable relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves in the 90s and helped them win the 1995 World Series along with years of regular season dominance. Relievers are rarely appreciated and Wohlers is the example of that as he’s forgotten today as he has started a new journey outside of baseball. Wohlers runs a real estate business with his wife and it’s aptly named Team Wohlers. The couple tries to broker deals for upscale housing in the Northern Atlanta section of Georgia. If you’re looking for a home in Atlanta, you may as well talk to a former MLB All-Star while trying to get a great deal.
11. Shandon Anderson – Restaurant Owner
The Utah Jazz drafted Shandon Anderson in 1996 and you may remember him trying his best at defending Michael Jordan during the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals. Anderson served as a role player for various teams during his NBA career but could never become a star caliber player. Following his retirement from basketball, Anderson went on a completely different career path by running his own vegan restaurant in Atlanta. Anderson was a vegetarian throughout his entire NBA career and used his passion for non-animal based foods to become a chef while running the “Drink Art” establishment. The restaurant unfortunately closed in 2015 but it received overwhelmingly positive reviews when active.
10. David Eckstein – Clothing Line Owner
David Eckstein broke all the stereotypes when he won the 2006 World Series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals despite being just 5’7’’ and 175 lbs. Baseball’s biggest little man had a very successful career during his peak years and left an impact on any fan base he played for. Eckstein has actually become an entrepreneur in the world of fashion with his wife. The couple launched a sci-fi women’s clothing line called “Her Universe.” Many athletes would stay far away from such a risk but Eckstein believed in his wife’s vision and it has become a multi-million dollar business. This is another case of Eckstein proving you can’t judge a book by its cover with his surprising success in each field.
9. Detlef Schrempf – Business Development Officer
The NBA career of Detlef Schrempf created a cult legend to die-hard basketball fans due to Schrempf’s fun playing style and wonderful name. Following a very successful NBA tenure, Schrempf entered a career in wealth management. Schrempf works for Coldstream Capital Management as a business development officer. The real world life of Schrempf has become quite successful after retiring from basketball but he still enjoys his fame from time to time. Schrempf appeared a few times on NBC’s hit show Parks & Recreation playing himself and had a song named after him by the group Band of Horses. Detlef lives a great life.
8. Muhsin Muhammad – Wild Wing Café Owner
Muhsin Muhammad spent a few years in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears as a speedy wide receiver but was unable to become a big star like everyone dreams of when entering the league. Muhammad underwent the depressing tale of being another athlete that purchased too many expensive items on credit and it ended up financially hurting him to the point where he was forced to sell his home. The life of Muhammad has luckily turned around as he has become a franchise owner of Wild Wing Café. While it may not be the once glamorous life the NFL player lived, Muhammad is seemingly happy with the modest joys of life.
7. Adrian Dantley – Crossing Guard
Many of the stories of players having to get regular jobs after playing in professional sports are depressing but Adrian Dantley’s tale is one of the feel good examples. Dantley had a successful 15-year playing career in the NBA but currently works as a crossing guard in Maryland. While he makes just $14,000, Dantley claims it isn’t about the money for him and he just does it because he wants to do something to help out others instead of sitting at home all day. Dantley’s road after the NBA has to be one of the most heartwarming considering athletes are frequently viewed as selfish beings.
6. Vinnie Johnson – CEO of The Piston Group
Vinnie Johnson is one the very rare NBA players to retire from the game and achieve greater success in another field off the court. “The Microwave” was a part of the Detroit Pistons teams to win two NBA Championships and added a very valuable role off the bench. Johnson founded a small-corrugated pallet manufacturer named The Piston Group but it blossomed into a massive success. The former basketball talent now serves as the Chairman and CEO of the business leading distribution deals with many large brands. Johnson is the shining example that life doesn’t have to end when a star retires from a pro sport and the right vision can lead to success.
5. Vin Baker – Starbucks Worker
Vinnie Johnson may have been one of the better stories of how life can go for a player after the NBA but Vin Baker is among the worst that turned into a happy ending. Baker blew the dozens of millions he made as an NBA star due to alcoholism and poor decisions. The big man currently works at Starbucks in a situation many would find a disaster but Baker has shown great humility. Vin enjoys the job of having conversation with customers and is working towards becoming a manager through experience and seeking a degree. Baker is a great example at how to overcome your mistakes by accepting the bad moments and moving on with positive steps.
4. Vince Young – College Employee
The NFL career of Vince Young never panned out with the hopes of becoming a superstar quarter after his massive success in college. Young’s personal issues and lack of on-field results led to him leaving the NFL much quicker than anyone would have anticipated. The former Texas QB is now working for his former college with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement fields. Young has definitely fallen from being one of the most popular faces in sports to just another guy working a 9 to 5 but the consistent money and helping a school he genuinely loves has to be a nice living.
3. Derek Jeter – The Players’ Tribute Publisher
Derek Jeter’s MLB career ending felt like the entire sport was changing forever. Jeter retired in 2014 and decided to tackle a new project he has been thinking about for years. The Players’ Tribute was launched with Jeter as the official publisher giving other athletes the opportunity to break their own news or share stories rather than having to go through the media. Many stars have used the website but Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement was the highlight showing how much athletes respect Jeter and want to support the message of his new job. The website has become a huge success and Jeter is once again sitting pretty.
2. Karl Malone – Business Owner
Most of the athletes on this list weren’t big stars, wasted their money on poor decisions or are sitting in a cushy job where they don’t have to do too much work. Karl Malone is one of the rare exceptions to putting himself to work despite being one of the greatest NBA superstars of all time. The Mailman has his hands in various businesses as a backer but he puts all of his work into them to show how strongly he believes in his investments. Malone does the grunt work harvesting trees and has been seen lugging the timber with his own hands rather than just delegating the work elsewhere. We know Malone is one athlete that doesn’t mind a hard day’s work.
1. Randy Johnson – Photography
Randy Johnson is one of the greatest pitchers of all time but he has always been a bit of a recluse when it came to his personality. Very few got a glimpse into the mind of The Big Unit due to his aggressively quiet demeanor. Johnson does work as a photographer these days for love of the art rather than desperately needing the money. Considering Johnson majored in photojournalism during his college days in between striking out opponents on the field, it was an obvious fit to show his artistic side and capture others doing amazing things now. It’s also funny to know Johnson is working behind a camera these days as he once made headlines in New York for pushing a cameraman out of his face. We now know which side of the lens he prefers to be on.