Some athletes who made more money after retiring

It is well-known that high performance athletes, especially the ones that go to win it all, make too much money in their career years. Prizes, endorsements, advertisement deals and contracts give them the fortune of having the world in their hands and having fortunes that most normal people just cannot even dream of.  But what happens to them when they retire from sports? Do they still make the same amount of money? Do they fall into depression to never appear again in the public spotlight? Or do they take advantage of their image and skills and move on to a “normal” five to nine job?

As the answer to all of these questions is yes, there are some athletes that stand out because they have made more money after retiring than they made when they were part of the sports world. Here are some that you may know very well and others that you never expected to be an athlete when they were young.

Let’s start with the most expensive athletes with the most expensive endorsements of them all, Michael Schumacher.  Michael Schumacher was one of the most successful formula 1 drivers in the world. He won 7 world championships and earned the Constructors Title for Ferrari in 1999. He retired in 2006 and went to make a total net worth of 800 million dollars after endorsements and advertisement. It is said that Shell paid him 10 million dollars per year just to wear a cap with their logo on it.

Arnold Palmer was one of the best golf players of all time.  In his career he won the total of 1.9 million dollars on prizes only. But his real wealth comes from designing golf courses and the Arnold Palmer line of drinks which represent more than 25% of revenues for the Arizona Beverage Co. His biggest earnings come from the Asian market where he has more than 400 stores with his name on them. His total wealth goes up to an incredible 675 million dollars.

On the basketball side, Michael Jordan is known as one of the most entrepreneurial athletes of his time. He earned almost 100 million dollars in salary when he played for the Chicago Bulls and the Wizards in the NBA. Some of the brands he represented while he played the most amazing basketball were Nike, Gatorade, Wheaties, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Ball Park Franks, Rayovac, Hanes, and MCI. Although the most well-known deal was the one he made with Nike that led to the creation of the iconic brand Air Jordan which still give Nike 1 billion dollars in sales around the world.  His fortune goes as high as 650 million dollars and getting better with the Bob Cats team and his 80% stake.

Another basketball player who made it big in the court and outside of it is Magic Johnson. His original contract with the Lakers was for 25 million dollars and for 25 years. His total earnings in the NBA go up to 45 million and that is nothing compared to what he made after retirement.  He founded the Magic Johnson Enterprises which has a portfolio of investments, urban revitalization and purchasing of teams that earn him the staggering 500 million dollars that make up for his total wealth.

The most famous of all golfers, Jack Nicklaus,  won the  PGA 73 times, the Champions Tour 10 times and was a part of World Golf Hall of Fame. His biggest earnings are not directly related to golf tournaments or unofficial tournaments. In fact they come from endorsements, appearance fees, corporate outings, speaking engagements, licensing fees for video games, and product lines such as clothing and wine.  In fact, Golf Digest, a golfing magazine, states that almost all of his income comes from these activities to add up to 280 million dollars.


George Foreman_careers for post athletes_jason hanold

Image courtesy of Ed Schipul at

 has been one the few boxers that has made a name for himself after retiring. After fighting until the age of 45, becoming one of the oldest boxers to win the heavyweight crown and becoming the boxer with the most time between one world championship and the next, he retired  to make more money by appearing in  infomercials marketing the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine, a  company that has sold more than 1 million units around the world. In addition, he promoted the  Meineke Car Care Centers brand and has launched branded products such as a line of environmentally safe cleaning products, an exclusive line of personal care products, a prescription shoe for diabetics , a restaurant franchise called UFood Grille and has written 10 books. No wonder his fortune is around 250 million dollars.

The previous proves us that athletes are also entrepreneurs and they can apply that discipline and talent to other areas  in life and still be as successful, or even more, as they were in their sports.