The career of a professional athlete on the field doesn’t last forever. The shrewd ones know that, and for those who want their money to work for them beyond age 40, having a solid plan B is of paramount importance. So they start thinking about ways to invest their money wisely to make it last a lifetime.
Often, athletes will put their money back into sports. After hanging up his jersey, Michael Jordan invested his money in the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, and although LeBron James is still very much an active part of the Miami Heat, he’s already become a minority stakeholder in the Premier League football club Liverpool F.C.
Some athletes, however, have invested their money in endeavors that have nothing to do with sports. By now, most people have gotten the memo that there’s money to be made in technology, so some athletes have chosen the tech sector as the place to invest in.
Read ahead to see the athletes who have chosen the tech sector as their next arena of competition.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 16 May 2012
Steve Nash plays for the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns. In 2010 he joined forces with Michael Duda, a 12-year veteran on the Deutsch Inc. advertising firm, to found Consigliere, a company that invests in startups.
Among the companies in which it has invested are such online retailers as Birchbox, Chloe + Isabel and Kiwi Crate. It has also invested in Stella Service, a customer review aggregator for online retailers.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson may have retired from professional sports over 20 years ago, but he’s never left the spotlight. He heads Magic Johnson Enterprises, a multimillion-dollar company with subsidiaries in the entertainment industry. In 2012, he joined an ownership group that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers from former owner Frank McCourt for $2 billion.
In 2011, Johnson teamed up with Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that backs “seed and early-stage technology companies who have a purpose.” One such tech company is Sociocast, which helps companies target advertising on the web and on mobile devices.
Cyclist and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong retired from professional sports in 2011, but he has no plans to spend his retirement cultivating a beer gut on a La-Z-Boy recliner.
He continues to be a tireless advocate for cancer research, and in January, he became the newest investor in Mobli, the company’s publicist said by e-mail. Mobli is a photo- and video-sharing social media platform. The sum he invested in the startup is undisclosed.
Harris Barton, Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana were members of the San Francisco 49ers football team. After leaving the gridiron, they formed HRJ Capital, an investment firm that took its name from their first initials, in 1999.
The company invested in a wide range of investments, but one that was probably closest to the hearts of HRJ’s partners was YOUbeQB, which created online fantasy football games. The venture capital firm, which Montana left in 2005, struggled to stay afloat, and four years later, the Swiss firm Capital Dynamics AG took over management of HRJ Capital’s accounts.
Baron Davis is a member of the New York Knicks, but his tenure with the NBA team has been remarkable mainly for its brevity. He made his team debut on February 20, 2012, and in a May 6 game against the Miami Heat, he suffered a knee injury that is likely to keep him off the court for a year.
Luckily for Davis, he has other interests to keep him busy while his knee heals. He is an investor and co-founder of ibeatyou.com, a website where users can compete in such rigorous disciplines as karaoke, cutest dog competitions and celebrity lookalike contests.
Gale Sayers played for the Chicago Bears during the 1960s and 1970s. His friendship with the late Brian Piccolo served as the inspiration for the 1971 movie “Brian’s Song.” He ended his professional football career in 1971.
Rather than simply invest in someone else’s tech company, he started his own and named it Sayers. According to the company’s website, Sayers is “an industry-leading IT services and solution provider, offering the latest and most sophisticated technologies.”
Courtney Hall is a former member of the San Diego Chargers. He retired from the NFL in 1999, but rather than rest on his laurels he earned an MBA and a law degree at University of Chicago.
Business acumen in hand, he co-founded Hillcrest Venture Partners, where he is currently one of its managing directors. The company invests in tech startups, such as FastSoft, GenieDB and Nprogress.