A member of the famed "Purple People Eaters" in the 1970s, Page laid the groundwork for his post-NFL career even before he retired. While with the Vikings, Page attended University of Minnesota Law School, and in 1992 he was named Associated Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He is currently a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, winning re-electing in 98, 2004 and 2010. He will turn 70, the mandatory retirement age, in three years.
2 of 20Walter Iooss Jr., Lane Stewart/SI
The former NBA all-star was a Rhodes scholar and won two NBA titles with the Knicks. He settled in New Jersey, was elected to the Senate in 1978 and served three terms. In 2000, Bradley ran for president, eventually losing the Democratic nomination to Al Gore.
3 of 20Donna Terek/SI
The Detroit Pistons guard, a Hall of Famer, started dreaming of business ideas while he was still in the NBA. In 1980, two years after his retirement, he created Bing Steel, a tiny manufacturing company in Detroit. Bing convinced General Motors to work with him and within five years the company was making millions. Bing Steel grew to become the tenth largest African-American-owned industrial company in America, and has since evolved into Bing Group, a massive conglomerate that has racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. Bing was also elected mayor of Detroit in 2009.
4 of 20Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Though he was just the promoter of the George Foreman Grill created by Russell Hobbs Inc., the former champ became the face and soul of the franchise. He accepted the endorsement offer in 1995 after he'd won his second heavyweight title, at age 45, and began emphasizing that the health benefits of eating grilled food had helped him get into championship shape.
5 of 20Joe McNally/SI
The dominant Houston Rockets center of the '90's found another area in which to tower over his competition: real estate. Olajuwon got into the business while he was still playing, and his 25-plus transactions since then have totaled more than $100 million. Only buying and selling land and eschewing the use of credit, he has become nearly as well-known in Houston for his real estate work as he was for his Hall-of-Fame hoops career.
6 of 20AP
Jesse "the Body" Ventura seamlessly transferred from a life of pro wrestling to the governor's house of Minnesota. He served from 1999 to 2003 and didn't seek a second term.
7 of 20AP
As a pitcher for the Tigers and Phillies, he blew away opponents and became the second player in history to win 100 games in both the American and National leagues. In 2010 he was the oldest Republican in the Senate and did not seek re-election.
8 of 20Drew Hallowell/Icon SMI; Mel Evans/AP
Not even one year after retiring, Runyan found himself enroute to Washington. In 2010 he defeated incumbent John Adler for a U.S. House of Representatives' seat in New Jersey's 3rd District.
9 of 20Fred Prouser/Reuters
In 1994, the former Lakers great created a movie theatre chain called Magic Johnson Theatres because he believed that many urban communities were not being well served. Johnson teamed up with Sony Pictures entertainment and Loews Cineplex Entertainment to open theatres across the country, including one in Harlem, N.Y., and one in Los Angeles. Johnson's initial goal wasn't to make money, but to provide a safe place for entertainment in troubled inner-city communities.
10 of 20Robert Beck/SI
In November 2009, the hard-hitting Filipino became the first boxer in history to earn world championships in seven different weight classes. Six months later, Pacquiao upset heavy favorite Roy Chiongbian in the race to represent the southern province of Sarangani in the Philippine Congress.
11 of 20Steve Marcus/Reuters
Many argue that this iconic NBA star revolutionized the business of sports endorsements. As his stardom on the court soared, Jordan became world famous as the front man for Gatorade, Coca-Cola and Nike as well as dozens of other major brands. Nike famously developed a popular sneaker called "Air Jordan" that has since spawned a company that sells shoes and other basketball apparel. According to Forbes, Jordan Brand has generated over $1 billion in sales for Nike. Not exactly hard up for cash, Jordan bought the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats for $275 million in February 2010.
12 of 20Lane Stewart/SI
The former Yankees hurler (right), who turned baseball upside down with his 1970 tell-all book Ball Four , created Big League Chew bubblegum with former Class A teammate Rob Nelson (left) in 1977 as a safer alternative to chewing tobacco. Bouton designed a tobacco-type pouch and Nelson cooked up the glycerine-softened gum, which was then shredded. With Bouton providing the seed money and business direction, the gum was developed, promoted and eventually picked up by a novelty company in Illinois. Big League Chew made its national debut in 1980 and sold $18 million worth in its first year. In 2001, Nelson bought out Bouton's share of the business.
13 of 20Donna Terek/SI
While many pro athletes and coaches have restaurants attached to their names, few are as immersed in the business as Porcher. The former Lions defensive end, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, is the brains behind three successful Motor City eateries -- Detroit Breakfast House and Grill, Grand City Grill, and The Woodward -- that were opened by Southern Hospitality Restaurant Group, a company he co-owns as Vice President with CEO Frank Taylor. Procher helps choose the music and decor, handles most of the business deals, and even learned to cook thanks to his being in the kitchen so often. His company also teamed up with Aramark Corp. to co-manage food-services for 231 public schools in Detroit.
14 of 20AP; Michael O'Neill/SI
He has proven to be a winner on and off the field. Largent was the NFL's all-time leading receiver with the Seahawks (his records have since been broken by Jerry Rice) and then went on to a prosperous career in politics. He was elected to serve in Congress as a representative from Oklahoma in 1994, and he was narrowly defeated in a bid to become the state's governor in 2002.
15 of 20Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
Labeled by Gordie Howe as "hockey's strongest man," Horton spent 22 seasons in the NHL as a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. While playing for the Leafs in 1964, he opened the Tim Horton Donut Shop in Ontario. By 1967 it was a million dollar brand, thanks to its combination of cheap donuts and Horton's immense popularity in Canada. The seven-time All-Star was killed in a car crash in 1974, but his business grew ever more successful under the stewardship of his partner, Ron Joyce. Today there are over 2,700 Tim Hortons outlets across Canada and in the US. Horton was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977.
16 of 20Robert Rogers, Michael O'Neill/SI
Osborne became an icon on the sidelines at Nebraska, averaging 10 wins in his 25 seasons and leading the Cornhuskers to bowl games every year. He's been nearly as popular in politics, where he served six years as a U.S. representative in Nebraska's 3rd District.
17 of 20Nousha Salimi/AP
Easily the most famous skateboarder in the world, Hawk is likely better known in the sports business world for his work off the ramp. He teamed up with Activision to create the ultra successful "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" video game series, a game that has had 15 spinoffs and is the No.1 rated action-sports video franchise of all time. Hawk is also the creator and owner of Birdhouse, one of the biggest skateboarding companies in the world.
18 of 20Jean-Marc Bouju/AP
The world champion tennis star is also the CEO of Vstarr Interiors, an internationally successful interior design firm. Along with sister Serena, Venus is also a part-owner of the NFL's Miami Dolphins -- the first African-American females to buy a stake in a pro football team.
19 of 20J. Dennis Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images
"The Microwave" was the high-scoring sixth man on Detroit Pistons' championship teams of 1989 and 1990. After his retirement, Johnson jumped right into the business world by founding Piston Automotive in 1995. This small auto supply company later turned into the Piston Group, a larger, more lucrative enterprise that still operates out of Detroit.
20 of 20AP; Michael O'Neill/SI
After an accomplished NFL career in which he led the Bills to a pair of AFL championships and was the league MVP in 1965, Kemp was a Buffalo representative in the House for 18 years. He would also go on to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under George H. W. Bush, and the 1996 Republic Party nominee for Vice President. He passed away in May 2009.
You May Like
More More Sports
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!