Making it to the NBA, playing among the greats while making million of dollars is the dream that each man on this list has achieved. Unfortunately, everything must come to an end, meaning that at one point every player must face retirement. Returning to reality can be extremely difficult for some as they adjust to civilian life. For others, a new start is exactly what they need. Whether it’s starting a cupcake business, buying a cattle ranch or becoming an attorney – these basketball stars each go through an incredible journey as they overcome the challenge of leaving behind fame and fortune for a 9-5 job.
During his career in the NBA, Shawn Kemp was a six-time all-star and was even named All-NBA Second Team three times. He eventually retired in 2003, but after so many years playing it was difficult for him to leave the game behind. So, he opened up a sports bar called Oskar’s Kitchen in Seattle. Sadly, he couldn’t afford the rent and ended up closing the bar in 2015. Remaining invested in the hospitality service, today Kemp works as a co-owner of Amber’s Kitchen in Seattle.
When he first entered into the NBA world, everyone believed that LuRue Martin was destined for great things, especially being first overall pick in the 1972 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, that potential didn’t live up to its expectations, and after four years, Martin was out of the league. With his chances in NBA shot and needing a way to make money, Martin took an entry-level job at UPS. After a tough start in his career, Martin was eventually named Community Services Manager in 2005.
After a much-anticipated debut, Mark Blount joined the Celtics in 2001 after entering into the NBA in 1997. His career as a basketball player was . . . lackluster, to be perfectly honest, but after retirement in 2009, Blount invested his money and bought two Auntie Anne’s Pretzel franchises. So, next time you are at the mall ordering a hot pretzel, keep an eye out for who is working. You never know!
Dan Dickau was one of the greatest basketball players of all-time at Gonzaga University. Apparently, Dickau peaked in college and had nothing left to give when he joined the NBA, which is why after six years he was forced to go. As a result of his sudden termination, Dickau opened The Barbers in Washington. Since its opening, it has done well and has become a neighborhood staple. When he has time to take a break from the hair business, Dickau makes guest appearances on ESPN Radio and the Pac-12 Network
After sustaining multiple injuries, Bryant “Big Country” Reeves left the NBA after six seasons. It is clear that Reeves wasn’t meant for sports, but, one thing is for sure, he certainly knows his way around a farm. Today, Reeves owns and operates a 300-acre cattle ranch in Oklahoma. As luck would have it, Reeves nickname ended up fitting him perfectly.
Vin Baker enjoyed an amazing 13-year career in the NBA. When he retired, it was expected that he would be able to live out the rest of his days in luxury. Unfortunately for him, Baker lost his fortune to his alcoholism, forcing him to find employment in order to make a living. Baker, after getting right, is now a minister at his father’s church and manager at Starbucks. Today, he knows what he has lost and has come to terms with that, saying, “I was an alcoholic, I lost a fortune. I had a great talent and lost it. For the people on the outside looking in, they’re like ‘Wow.’ For me, I’m 43 and I have four kids. I have to pick up the pieces.”
Instead of choosing to slow down in his retirement, Tim Duncan instead found a new passion in MMA fighting. His hopes now are for him to begin his MMA career. Until then, he keeps busy running an auto body shop called BlackJack Speed Shop that he opened in 2013. The shop has since done great work, including organizing delivery of supplies to Hurricane Harvey victims in 2017.
Greg Oden was another young basketball star that was expected to be the new face of the Portland Trailblazers franchise. That all changed when Oden suffered a variety of injuries, including chronic foot pain, ending his career after only 23 games. Needing help to prepare for a second career, Oden returned back to his academics and took a job as the student managers of the men’s basketball team at Ohio State.
Adrian Dantley experienced a successful career in the NBA, which spanned 15 years and ended with him scoring 23,000 points. This led him to being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He turned to coaching after his retirement, but left in 2010 to pursue a career as a crossing guard. Only being paid $14,000 a year, it is clear that Dantley is in the job for more than the money. When asked, Dantley simply said that he just enjoyed helping people . . . and the health benefits aren’t bad either.
Having majored in International Business, Detleft Schrempf had a strong plan B when he retired from his 16-year long career in the NBA. He now works for Coldstream Capital Management as a business development officer. When not dominating the business world, Schrempf is busy with his acting career. He is best known for his recurring role on the hit television show Parks and Recreation.
Sadly, Brandon Roy’s career was another one that was cut short due to an injury. On his way to being inducted in the NBA Hall of Fame, Roy suffered knee injuries that left him incapable to continue in basketball. Afterwards, he tried his hand at broadcasting, but it didn’t quite work out in his favor. He did, however, find success in coaching, and was awarded the Naismith High School Basketball Coach of the Year Award from his efforts at Nathan High School.
Returning to an ordinary life after a successful basketball career, especially one where you win an NBA Championship as a role player for the 2006 Miami Heat, can be difficult. For Shandon Anderson, he chose to completely start over. He went back to school and chose the culinary route, dreaming of opening up a vegetarian restaurant one day. After a lot of hard work, Anderson finally achieved his dream and opened up Drink Art, located in Atlanta. Unfortunately, the dream didn’t last long and Drink Art closed one year later.
For Scottie Pippen, the reality of life after the NBA was hard for him to handle, to say the least. Considered one of the greatest Chicago Bulls of all-time, Pippen retired in 2004. Almost immediately, he regretted his decision and tried to make a comeback, hoping to win a seventh ring. After many failed attempts, Pippen finally gave up and joined his brother in co-owning a livestock farm in Arkansas.
Starting out in the NFL, Charlie Ward turned to basketball where he played 11 seasons in the NBA league with the New York Knicks. His career finally came to an end in 2005, giving him the opportunity to pursue another one of his passions; coaching. Avoiding college and professional coaching, Ward decided to coach high school and became the head coach at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida.
After a legendary career in the NBA, Karl Malone made enough money to never have to work another day in his life. Evidently, Malone was not aware of this because he is currently working as a truck driver part-time for a timber company. He has become so passionate about the company that he has even invested money into the business, along with several other companies on the side.
Vinnie Johnson played with the Detroit Pistons and won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. In 1992, the “Bad Boy”, which his fans fondly referred to him as, retired. Instead of being depressed over leaving the league, Johnson found his calling being the CEO of Piston Group, which he started, and has grown into a multi-million-dollar asset. Johnson proves that success isn’t only earned on the court.
Known for jumping around the league, even Dark Milicic admits that he was one of the biggest NBA drafting mistakes. He finally gave up on the NBA altogether in 2012. Afterwards, he tried the life of a kickboxer, but it eventually proved too intense of a sport for his taste. Milicic preferred the easy, simple life, which is why he went into the apple growing business, settling quietly in Serbia.
Chris “Birdman” Anderson first entered the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in the 2016-17 season. Now a year later, Anderson is ready to get back on the court. He continues to stay in top physical form so that if he is ever called to join the NBA, he would be ready. So far, his current full-time job is waiting around for that one phone call that would bring him back on that hardwood floor.
Oscar Robertson has gone down in NBA history as being one of the highest scoring guards in the league. He also was named an all-star 12 times and had a career that went on for 14 years. Though he certainly made a name for himself in basketball, one of his most memorable contributions was to his community, creating affordable housing for African Americans in Indianapolis. In 2007, the University of Cincinnati honored Robertson with an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters.
Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson started his career in the NBA, but ended up being banned by the commissioner for life in 1986. The incident didn’t stop Richardson from pursuing his career, which he continued by playing across the globe. Once he retired in 2002, after a career spanning 24 years, he tried out coaching but eventually fell in love with teaching. Now in his 60s, he currently works as a teacher in Oklahoma and runs a youth camp for underprivileged children.
Known by his coaches as being lazy, Derrick Coleman, after 15 years in the NBA, proved his coaches wrong by working hard after his retirement. Since witnessing the lack of clean water, Coleman was heartbroken. “That’s what I’m seeing,” he says, “Distress. I’m seeing people who need help. I’ve seen the rust and everything that’s in their water. Flint is like a ghost town, and it’s sad . . . How can this happen here in America?” Since then, Coleman made it his obligation to drive around Flint, Michigan, giving out clean water to those in need.
After nine NBA seasons, Steve Francis wanted to pursue other passions besides basketball, leading him to start a music career. He formed Mazerati Music, with an attempt to start a hip-hop record label. Sadly, for him, it didn’t work out, causing him to try his hand at the fashion industry. Francis started a clothing line called We r One. Like the first attempt, it was another failure, and now Francis is busy trying to sort out through his financial problems.
There are some people who are born to stay in the spotlight, and Dennis Rodman is definitely one of those people. After his career in the NBA, Rodman went on to professional wrestling. After that, he decided to became a political ambassador, with his first trip in 2013 being to North Korea. Apparently, he really enjoyed his experience because when he came back home, he called Kim Jong Un a “friend for life.” He loved the country so much, that he even made a return trip to North Korea in 2017.
Being in the NBA industry can definitely come with its set of drama, but things took a turn for the worse for Latrell Sprewell when he violently attacked Warriors head coach, P.J. Carlesimo in 1997. Leave it to karma to strike back – after retiring in 2005, Sprewell was forced to foreclose his multi-million-dollar house. In addition, he crashed his yacht. After some major humbling, Sprewell admitted to making some pretty bad life choices. Only time will tell if he truly learned his lesson.
Wilt Chamberlain was one of the greatest players to ever step on the court. Unfortunately, all good thing must come to an end. Chamberlain retired and it took him a while to figure out what he wanted to do with his life after leaving the league. Eventually, he settled on life as a pitchman. Sadly, Chamberlain passed away from heart failure in 1999, leaving behind a legacy that we will not soon forget.
When he first entered in the NBA scene, no one expected great things to come from Gilbert Arenas, which was why he was drafted 31st pick in the 2001 Draft. Little did anyone know that Arenas would end up earning $163 million during his career. After his retirement, instead of taking time off and enjoying a life in luxury, he took on a full-time job as a sport analyst for Complex. Currently, he hosts a YouTube channel for the company.
After his retirement, Kenny Anderson was content living the life of a high school basketball coach. Unfortunately, things took a tragic turn in 2013 when he was arrested and charged with a DUI. This inevitably got him fired from his job and his reputation was ruined. He is now working hard on rebuilding his career by running basketball camps in Florida. He hopes to one day get back into high school coaching, but he knows that it will take a while before people can look pass his mistake.
When Jay Williams was drafted by the Bulls, there was major hype around the young star as many expected great things from him. Sadly, Williams was never able to show his full potential because before he even stepped onto the court, he got into a motorcycle accident which ended his professional basketball career. It took a while for Williams to get over the loss of his much-anticipated career, but he eventually overcame the disappointment and became a spokesman. Currently, he is the facet of Visions Federal Credit Union and works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst on the side.
With 13 seasons under his belt and $100 million in his wallet, it is hard to believe that someone could blow through all that cash in a short period of time. Well, that is exactly what happened to Antoine Walker, who ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2010. Though it wasn’t looking good for Walker, he eventually got it together and paid off his debts, giving him the ability to take a job with Morgan Stanley Global Sports and Entertainment, teaching financial literacy to up and coming stars. Judging from his past experience, Walker seems like the perfect man to caution young people on spending their money wisely.
Things changed for Adam Morrison when he tore his ACL in 2007. He eventually returned to the court, but the injury left its mark and he was never quite the same player afterwards. Once he retired, he enrolled at Gonzaga and took a position on the coaching staff of the basketball team while he finished his degree in sports management.
Rony Seikaly was a natural on the court, with an 11-year NBA career, and, after retirement, he was a natural when it came to being a DJ. Though many retired stars have attempted and failed to join the music industry, Seikaly breaks the mold and has became a full-time DJ, playing in clubs in Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Ibiza. To be honest, Seikaly never dreamed of being a DJ, he said, “the opportunity came organically and it seemed like it would be fun and it grew from there.”
John Stockton was known as being a team player, and was even a part of a dynamic duo with Karl Malone. He expected to leave the NBA behind him once he retired in 2003, but fate would have it that he would become the assistant coach for the Montana State University Women’s Basketball team.
Bill Walton started his basketball career off with winning two national titles in the 70s while he played for the UCLA Bruins. He was quickly drafted in to the NBA after school and played for the Portland Trailblazers winning MVP and two NBA Championships. In 1987, after retirement form the league, Walton was able to overcome his speech impediment by becoming the NBA commenter for CBS, NBC, the Los Angeles Clippers, and ABC/ESPN. After a short break, Walton returned to sports broadcasting where he now works full-time.
Known as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan has dominated the NBA as the powerhouse of the Chicago Bulls. When he retired in 2003, Jordan certainly had no want for money. In total, he has accumulated $90 million during his NBA career. Since then, his net worth has jumped to a whopping $1.3 billion. Certainly, he could have lived an easy life with no worries, but Jordan’s work ethic is something that can’t be stopped. Today, he owns the Charolette Hornets. In addition, he also works with massive companies such as Hanes, Gatorade, and more. As if that wasn’t enough, he also owns a car dealership and seven restaurants.
Hakeem Olajuwon is best known for playing for both the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets between 1984 and 2002, with back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995. With such a memorable career, it is no wonder that he went on to mentor other basketball stars of today such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Dwight Howard. With making some investments during and after his career, Olajuwon felt that he could spend his money more wisely, prompting him to become a real estate dealer.
Shawn Bradley started playing in the NBA for the Philadelphia 79ers, going on to later join the New Jersey Nets. However, the majority of his time was spent playing for the Dallas Mavericks. No matter what team he was on, one thing was sure, Bradley is best known for his amazing height, being the tallest player on the NBA during his time in the league. He retired in 2005, and after a star appearance in the popular film Space Jam, Bradley packed up his basketball shoes for some boots to work on a cattle ranch which he bought.
Maceo Baston had an admirable career playing for both the Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers. He even traveled the world playing the sport that he loved. After his retirement from the NBA, Baston took a route in the cupcake business. He and his wife opened up Taste Love Cupcakes, located in Michigan, and even competed in Cupcake Wars, winning and taking home $10,000. It is clear that Baston is living a pretty sweet life!
With a score of 20,000 and the NBA All-Star four times during a 16-year career with six different teams, Tom Chambers was eligible for the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make the cut and had to deal with just being a major basketball legend. Today, when he is not broadcasting for Fox Sports Arizona, he breeds horses in Utah. However, he would consider that part of his life more as a hobby than an actual job.
During his 12-year career in the NBA, Junior Bridgeman played for the Bucks and the Lakers, and, after retiring, was worth $600 million. Instead of buying yachts and cars, Bridgeman decided to buy some restaurant franchises with his money – about 450 restaurant franchises, consisting mostly of Wendy’s and Chili’s. Recently though, Bridgeman has taken a slight step away from food and is focusing more on drinks – Coco Cola to be more specific. Today, he is now a distributor of the famed soda brand and the third independent bottler.
When Chris Washburn entered on the court in 1986 for the Golden State Warriors, he became one of the biggest names to play in the NBA. Unfortunately, like so many stars, drugs got in the way of his success and eventually ended his basketball career. As if the termination of his career wasn’t enough, Washburn was punished with a lifetime ban from the league after failing three drug tests in three years. In 2000, he finally woke up and started to get his act together. One way to make his life better was by opening up a fried chicken business with his girlfriend. The business only lasted for about a year, but Washburn had a backup plan and now works for a home mortgage company.
Evan Eschmeyer played for the New Jersey Nets for four years after being drafted into the NBA in 1999. Meanwhile, he suffered from knee problems, but that didn’t prevent him from playing in 153 games and scoring 421 points. Unfortunately, the pain got up to him and Eschmeyer had to retire in 2004. Like so many before him, he returned to college where he earned a law degree and MBA. Since graduating, he as worked as an attorney, entrepreneur, and director of finance for Atlas Tower. So, even though his career in sports ended sooner than he expected, Eschmeyer seems to be doing just fine in his retirement years.