The 12 Richest Retired Sportsmen

Many top players who are finished with the game often become successful businessmen. They know how to sell their images in order to make money off the field or court and also know how to use their status to their advantage. Their contracts can go from shoes, advertisement spots or even exclusive contracts with brands.

Regardless of how well they performed during their sporting careers, they unfortunately can't be top dog on the court forever. So when their skills begin to fade, yet their mind is still sharp, what is a man to do? Many of these retired players have taken the bull by the horns and continued on their paths to success by taking various avenues in business ventures. From restaurants to brand ambassadors, here is what some of the richest retired sportsmen are up to.

12 Roger Staubach

Roger Staubach is a former quarterback of the NFL (National Football League). Staubach was born on February 5, 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1964, one year earlier than the legal age to draft youngsters at the time. In eleven seasons in the NFL, he finished with an impressive 75% of wins and won two Super Bowls with Dallas. He entered the Football Hall of Fame in 1985. After his retirement, Staubach created his own real estate company simply called Staubach. In 2011, he sold his company to John Lang Lasalle for $613 million, yet Staubach is still the executive chairman of the company. In 2013, his earnings were estimated at $8.5 million.

11 Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar is a former Indian cricket player. Tendulkar was born on April 24, 1973 in Bombay, India. The cricket player is believed to have been one of the best batsmen in the history of the sport with his fans even giving him the nickname “God of Cricket”. This player holds numerous records in the cricket world like; scoring more than 30,000 runs in all forms of international cricket, being the first Indian to score 50,000 runs in all forms of domestic and international recognised cricket, and scoring 1,894 runs (the record for the highest number of runs scored by any player in a single calendar year for One-Day Internationals). He received the highest Indian award for sportsmen in 1998, and the highest Indian civilian award in 2014. As a businessman, Tendulkar used his celebrity status to his advantage. He has owned two restaurants, launched a healthcare centre, and a sport fitness product brand with Future Group and Manipal Group. It is believed that the young retired cricket player earned $9 million last year.

10 Pelé

This former Brazilian soccer player is known as one of the best players who has ever existed. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, his real name (most Brazilian soccer players use nicknames), was born in October 21, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil. As a player, he won three World Cups, the only player to have done so thus far. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Brazil national team, and won the Copa Libertadores twice.

Off the field, Pelé is as influential as he was on the field. Time magazine named him on their list of the 100 most influential personalities of the 20th century. He is also a UN ambassador. With the world cup in Brazil around the corner, Pelé's influences will not stop there. He is also a great business man and he has scouted for professional soccer teams, helped Ubisoft with soccer games, and has multiple contracts with international brands like Emirates Airlines, Volkswagen, Hublot, Subway, and Procter & Gamble. His earnings for 2013 are believed to be around $11 million.

9 Greg Norman

Greg Norman is a former professional golf player. Norman was born on February 10, 1955 in Mount Isa, Australia. The Australian has been the number 1 golfer in the world during 331 weeks in the end of the 20th century, and has won 85 tournaments. The golfer is nicknamed the Shark or the Great White Shark, which could also represent his entrepreneurship skills. In fact, he used his nickname for his company as well; Great White Shark entreprise. He also developed Greg Norman Golf Course Design Enterprise, which designs golf courses all around the world. He also develops residential estates, does some branding development/creation, has a turf company (for golf courses of course), has a wine estate, produces beef, has an investment company, and a gold academy! A lot of different companies or venture, all under the name of the Great White Shark company. His earnings in 2013 were around $11.5 million.

8 Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Douglas Gretzky was born January 26, 1961 in Brantford, Canada. As a player, he played 20 seasons professionally. He won three Canadian cups with Canada and finished second in the 1996 world cup. His lists of awards as a player are impressive and too numerous to mention them all, but a few worth mentioning as that he scored in 50 streak games, won four Stanley Cups (all with his former team the Edmonton Oilers), and one of the records that still holds is his 1.921 point average by game. As a businessman, Gretzky owns a couple sports teams and still owns the Phoenix Coyotes, a hockey team. He owns the Wayne Gretzky restaurant in Toronto and has a couple other ventures like First Team Sports as well as a wine estate. His earnings for 2013 are estimated at $12 million.

7 Gary Player

Gary Player was born November 1, 1935 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This former golf player is considered one of the greatest players to ever play golf. He won 165 tournaments and was introduced in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. After his sporting career, he began to design golf courses. He has designed more than 325 gold courses over the world and co-wrote more than 30 golf books. His earnings for 2013 are believed to be around $13.7 million.

6 Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal was born in March 6th 1972 in Newark, New Jersey. As a basketball player, Shaq won multiple awards: NBA rookie of the year in 1993, and was called to be in the All Stars the same year, a first since Michael Jordan. He won four championships in the NBA (3 with L.A and one with Miami), two gold medals with the US team in the olympics in 1996 and in the world cup in 1994. His number, 34, is retired from the L.A Lakers roster.

An interesting fact is that during his career, his big weakness was his free throw. Opponents were told to foul him as much as possible, “Hack-a-Shaq”, in order to reduce his number of points; his free-throw average during his career was 52.7%. However, as a businessman he barely has any weaknesses with diverse accomplishments under his belt from being a rapper to US Marshall. He is actually a successful real estate entrepreneur, owning a part of the Sacramento Kings basketball team, and with the help of AriZona Beverage Co., he created his own soda drinks, Soda Shaq. In 2013, his earnings were about $14 million.

5 Magic Johnson

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr. was born August 14, 1959. This former basketball player is famous for his passing, and mostly his blind passing. He is actually at the top of the news right now because of the racist comment the former owner of the L.A Clippers, Donald Sterling, made toward him. As a player, he was Rookie of the year in 1990, won five championships all with the L.A Lakers for which he played his whole career, and won the gold medals in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with what was called the "Dream Team". He retired when he publicly announced his seropositivity. As a businessman, he owns a part of the L.A Lakers, and the L.A Dodgers baseball team. His earnings for 2013 is about $16 million.

4 Jack Nicklaus

Jack William Nicklaus was born on January 21, 1940 in Upper Arlington, Ohio, USA. This former professional golfer was very selective in which tournaments he played. He won 25 major tournaments over a career of 25 years. As a businessman, Nicklaus does some gold designing, writes books, and creates golf games. He also created his own golf equipment company Nicklaus Golf Equipment. He is also long time ambassador of the Rolex company. In recent years, he created, with the help of AriZona Beverage Co., his own flavored lemonade. He partnered with a wine estate to create his own wine as well. In 2013, he earned $22 million.

3 David Beckham

David Robert Joseph Beckham was born on May 2, 1975 in London, England. This retired soccer player have been famous throughout his entire career as a player, but also as one of the first players to sell his image extremely well. As a player, he was famous for his crossing and free kicks. He played in four championships and won all of them at least once (England, Spain, USA, and France). He also won one Champions league with Manchester United. As a businessman, he created his own soccer academy in 2005, David Beckham Academy. With numerous brand contracts like Emporio Armani, H&M, Adidas, Samsung, and coca cola, David Beckham earned more than $27 million in 2013.

2 Arnold Palmer

Arnold Daniel Palmer was born on September 10, 1929 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, USA. The former American golf player is considered by most as the greatest male golfer in history. His nickname was “The King”. He is one of the big three in golf history with previously named Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. During his career, he won 108 tournaments. As a businessman, he became famous when he created his flavored lemonade with AriZona Beverage Co. and  he also created his own clothing brand. In 2013, he earned $29 million.

1 Michael Jordan

Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born on February 17, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. This former basketball player revolutionized the sport so many know and love. His nickname “His Airness” or Air Jordan in reference to the fact that he appeared to be flying across the court are written in the history of basketball. He won 6 NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, being the MVP of the finals every time. He also won two olympic gold medals with the US team.

The Nike shoes created under his name are very popular worldwide, and the brand (Nike) even created a sub-division called the “Jordan Brand” that generates over a $2 billion in earning for Nike every year. He has sponsorships with other brand as well like Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2k Sports, Presbyterian Healthcare and Five Star Fragrances. He also own 80% of the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, six restaurants, a car dealership, and a motorsports team. His earnings for 2013 are more than $80 million making him one of the most paid retired sportsman in the world.

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