For many athletes, injuries signal the end of a career. For Alec
Kessler, they are a career. After the Miami Heat signed him to a
six-year, $7.4 million deal in 1990, the 6'10" forward-center
floundered on the court. His rebound average (3.6) was lower than
his grade point average at Georgia. After being released by Miami
in '94, Kessler decided a radical change of career was in order.
He took part of the $3 million remaining on his contract and used
it to put himself through medical school at Emory in Atlanta and
residency at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Kessler, 37, fixes broken bones, replaces hips and treats trauma
patients in his fifth and final year of orthopedic residency. "We
invested conservatively," he says of himself and his wife, Rhea,
whom he married in 1991. They traded in their Porsche 911 Turbo
for a minivan after their sons Christopher, 10, and Nickolas, 9,
came along. The rest of the basketball money that's not in stocks
and bonds is in the more than two dozen houses the Kesslers have
bought, refurbished and sold. "It's not a big business," Alec
says. "It's more of a hobby."
Like basketball. Kessler doesn't play much anymore, although he
sometimes misses the game. "There are a lot of rewards to be
gained from it," he says. Especially the paychecks. --M.S.