What do athletes do when they retire? If they are lucky, and depending on the sport, they can play into their 40s. Once their careers are finished they need to transition into something else, as they hopefully have at least half their lives in front of them. Athletes have many options, one of which is to remain in the sports world. Some decide to become coaches in their respective sports and enjoy great success. Phil Jackson is a great example of a former athlete who became a successful coach. Others, such as Jerry West or Billy Beane go into management. Countless athletes become analysts on TV. While some such as Charles Barkley are great in this role, it does seem like every former athlete is on TV in one capacity or another. A select few former athletes become owners of professional franchises.
There are precious few athletes who become team owners. Some of these athletes purchase minority shares in a franchise while others were successful enough to become the principal owners. The following list mentions ten former athletes who currently own a stake in a sports franchise. Three people in this article are still active athletes yet they still own a stake in teams in different sports. Unbelievably, one of these owners played for the franchise he owned simultaneously. A few of these individuals have an ownership stake in multiple franchises. Here are ten former athletes who own a stake in a professional sports franchise.
10 Dale Hunter - London Knights
9 Warrick Dunn - Atlanta Falcons
8 The Williams Sisters - Miami Dolphins
7 LeBron James - Liverpool
6 Oscar De La Hoya - Houston Dynamo
5 Michael Jordan - Charlotte Bobcats
4 Magic Johnson - Los Angeles Dodgers
3 Jerry Richardson - Carolina Panthers
2 Mario Lemieux - Pittsburgh Penguins
1 Mike Ilitch - Detroit Tigers and Red Wings
Mike Ilitch is the founder and owner of Little Caesars, an international fast food chain that specializes in Pizza. Before founding a pizza restaurant that would balloon into what it is today, Ilitch played baseball. Ilitch signed a $3,000 contact with the Detroit Tigers to play minor league baseball from 1952-1955. He started his Pizza business in 1959 and after enjoying considerable success, he ventured back into the sports world. Ilitch briefly owned a professional softball team called the Detroit Caesars in the late 1970's. Then in 1982, he purchased the Detroit Red Wings. Prior to his ownership, the Red wings had made the playoffs twice in fifteen seasons. Since Ilitch took over the team, they have won fifteen division championships and four Stanley Cups. In 1992, Ilitch purchased the Detroit Tigers, ironically from the owner of Domino's Pizza.
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