Household names such as Tony Hawk and Magic Johnson are great athletes, but sports aside, these moguls have not only made a pretty penny on the field but in the business world as well. We’ve put together a list of athletes who are important, influential, and powerful in the world of sports, business and philanthropy.
Known as the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan forever changed the way basketball was viewed. Jordan played most of his career for the Chicago Bulls, followed by a short stint with the Washington Wizards. Jordan is not only an amazing athlete, but a savvy businessman. He owns a professional basketball team, the Charlotte Bobcats, and is the face of Nike Air Jordan sneakers. Jordan is also endorsed by Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Wheaties, Chevrolet, Hanes, Rayovac, and McDonald’s. This mogul’s net worth is estimated at $500 million dollars.
Tony Hawk rose to the forefront of the skateboarding scene at the young age of 14, and forever changed the face of the skateboarding world. Hawk has won 73 pro contests and placed second in 19 of them. Not only has Tony Hawk set records in his profession, he has built an empire that ranges from owning his own company to topping the New York Times bestseller list with his popular autobiography, Tony Hawk: Professional Skateboarder. His skateboarding line, Birdhouse, is one of the largest skateboarding manufacturing companies in the world, and his clothing line, “Hawk Clothing” is becoming increasingly popular. He has endorsement deals with Activision, Kohl’s, Six Flags, Adio shoes, Sirius Satellite Radio, and Jeep. If this isn’t enough, this mogul also has his own Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game that became the No. 1 best seller in 1999.
LeBron James was drafted into the NBA to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers right after high school and arguably has the same level of talent as Michael Jordan. Now playing for the Miami Heat, Lebron has a $90 million dollar contract with Nike. He also owns his own marketing agency, LRMR, which has endorsements from Sprite, Nike, Glacéau, Upper Deck and Bubblicious. On or off the court, LeBron is destined for greatness.
Venus Williams has redefined the world of women’s tennis. She is currently ranked number three in the world in singles and number two in the world for doubles. She has also made a name for herself in the business world with her interior design firm, V Starr Interiors. In 2007, she launched her own fashion line and is a co-owner of the Miami Dolphins with her sister, Serena. Her book, Come to Win was number five on the New York Times bestseller list and ranked 83 on Forbes 2010 top celebrities list. Venus Williams is nothing short of a tour de force on or off the court.
Magic Johnson is ranked as one of the Top 10 Basketball players in NBA history. The famous LA Lakers point guard was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004. Basketball is just one of his many feats, as the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, he is estimated to have a total net worth of $700 million dollars. His company subsidiaries include Magic Johnson theaters, his own production company and movie studio. He is also the founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation which focuses on the prevention of HIV/AIDS. He has partnerships with TGI Fridays, Starbucks, and AMC Theaters. Whether it’s basketball, business, or philanthropy, this well-rounded mogul refuses to accept defeat.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Known as baseball’s all-time Iron Man, Cal Ripken Jr. played 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played (2,130) in 1995. Although his name is in countless record books, he also is an Iron Man in the entrepreneurial world. He serves as CEO of Ripken Baseball, Inc., and owns the Augusta Green Jackets (affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) and the Charlotte Stone Crabs (affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays). He is the spokesman for Holiday Inn, Energizer, State Farm Insurance and Chevrolet. Not only does this mogul have many accolades under his belt from his on-field career, but his illustrious career off-field is hard to match.
Englishman David Beckham is an international soccer star who has played for teams such as Manchester United, Preston North End, Milan, Real Madrid, the England national team, and most recently for the LA Galaxy. He holds the all-time appearance record for an outfield player and is third all-time leader in assists. Off of the field, he has made a name for himself in business and philanthropy. Deals with Pepsi Co., Gameboy, XBOX, and EA Sports make his name easily recognizable throughout the world. Endorsements aside, Beckham has his own fragrance called David Beckham Instinct as well as his popular fashion line he owns with his wife, Victoria Beckham. He is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, supports Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS, and Malaria No More.
John Elway started his football career at Stanford University before being drafted by the Denver Broncos, where he spent his entire professional career. Elway led the Broncos to six AFC National Championships and five Super Bowls. By the time of his retirement in 1999, he had recorded the most victories by a starting quarterback in the NFL. Now serving as the executive Vice President of football operations for the Denver Broncos, his vast empire spans far and wide. He is currently the co-owner of the arena football team, Colorado Crush and owns two steakhouses appropriately named Elway’s, both located in Denver. Elway owned five car dealerships in the Denver area but later sold them for $82.5 million in 2006. He is also the founder of the non-profit organization, The Elway Foundation whose sole mission is to prevent child abuse.