As Charles Barkley continues to expand his ESPN career, and other former athletes such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Michael Strahan expand their brands with hosting gigs, shoe releases and network TV deals, it’s important to note that there are many athletes who work to make a name for themselves outside the game. From NFL players to tennis stars and Olympic gold medalists, below are four sports figures who are making business boss moves:
Vernon Davis: Although the San Francisco 49ers star couldn’t help lead his team to a Super Bowl victory, the D.C. native proves that a winning football career isn’t the only thing he has going for him. Aside from opening his own art gallery called Gallery 85, Davis has signed a two-year deal with smoothie company Jamba Juice that will allow him to open two new franchises in Santa Clara, Calif. Additionally, he’s the CEO and co-founder of an interior design company called Modern Class Design, letting us all know that he’s serious about establishing himself as more than just a baller.
James Blake: Known as one of the top tennis players in the world, Blake proves that he knows how to make money off more than just his athletic ability alone. In 2012, he signed a global sponsorship agreement, for an undisclosed amount, with Aspen Technology where the former Harvard player will wear the company’s logo on his clothing during all tournaments and make public appearances on behalf of the company at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. In addition to striking a winning endorsement deal, Blake is also lining himself up to see if a reporting job is in his near future, as he served as a sports analyst with the Tennis Channel team for this year’s Davis Cup competition.
Gabrielle Douglas: At just 17, Gabby continues to show she’s more than just her Olympic gold medals. Aside from appearing on Corn Flakes boxes right after her Olympic win and having an endorsement deal with Kellogg, Douglas has her own gymnastics leotard collection coming out and a book titled Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith. Sports marketing experts say with several companies offering the teen gymnast partnership deals, the Virginia native could earn anywhere between $2 million to $3 million in endorsement opportunities.
Sanya Richards-Ross: Four-time gold medalist Richards-Ross is expanding her brand and showcasing her business chops with a new reality show, “Glam and Gold,” set to premiere on WEtv this summer, starring her and husband, NFL player Aaron Ross. As owner of a hair extension line called Gemini Strands and part-owner of a hair salon in Austin, Texas, we’re sure the television series will show Ross as more than just an Olympic track star.