Walker has more oars in the water than the entire field of the
Henley Regatta. It has been that way since his days as a
record-breaking tailback and valedictorian at Johnson County
High in Wrightsville, Ga., and later as a Heisman Trophy winner
at Georgia and an NFL running back-receiver-kick returner. When
he retired in 1997, after 14 seasons with the Cowboys, Vikings,
Eagles and Giants, he ranked second alltime in career
all-purpose yards with 18,168--not counting the more than 7,000
he amassed in his first three seasons as a pro, in the USFL.
Walker has found time to dance with the Fort Worth Ballet, serve
as a brakeman in a two-man U.S. bobsled at the 1992 Olympics and
earn a fifth-degree black belt in taekwondo.
It helps that on a daily basis he still sleeps only four hours,
eats but one meal and cranks out 1,500 push-ups and 3,000
sit-ups. "I never read that you're only supposed to play
football," says Walker, 40, who lives in Irving, Texas, with his
wife of 18 years, Cindy, and their 2 1/2-year-old son, Christian
Alexander. "That was just me living. I wasn't trying to impress
These days, though, Walker is looking to impress customers with
his three-year-old company, the aptly named Renaissance Man
International. Sole owner of the business, which grossed more
than $500,000 in 2001, he envisions its becoming a Fortune 500
conglomerate. His biggest-selling food products, a line of
chicken wings and other appetizers called Herschel's Famous 34
(his uniform number), are sold to restaurants, cafeterias and
other food-service companies. Renaissance Man also sells
mesquite wood chips, a line of women's apparel featuring
silk-screen artwork primarily by minority artists and dinnerware
imprinted with the same images. What's more, Walker is venturing
into medical supplies and health drinks; he has spun off his
aloe-based beverage, Aloeluya, and plans to take the company
public this summer. "I want to make this a huge, huge company,"
says Walker, whose ventures employ more than 60 people. "I want
to put people to work."
He's off to a good start, displaying business savvy and
boundless energy. To produce and distribute Herschel's Famous 34
Appetizers, for instance, Walker has teamed with ConAgra and
Sysco, two food industry giants. He works tirelessly at the
commercial food fairs where his products are sold. "He's at the
show when it opens at eight and when it closes at five, and he
rarely leaves the booth," says Robert Thurber, a Sysco vice
president. "He's great at making customers feel good and selling
them products. For a new product, the appetizers have been an
To Walker, his varied business pursuits aren't so different from
his do-everything football career. "Whatever I did, I tried to
be one of the best at it," he says. "I'm doing the same thing
now. I focus on everything I do and try to get the right people
together to do it well. I want to be a force."
Byun Jong Il
The man whose behind was behind the most incendiary sit-in since
the '60s turns out to be a stand-up guy. Byun, the South Korean
boxer who set an Olympic record for sulking by sitting in the
ring for 67 minutes after he lost at the 1988 Games in Seoul,
now runs a popular health club in that city and starred in an
aeroboxing video that sold faster than kimchi. Byun, 34, is
genuinely sorry about all the trouble he caused.
The brawling bantamweight's first-round loss to eventual silver
medalist Alexandar Hristov of Bulgaria set off a riot in the
Chamshil Students Gymnasium. Referee Keith Walker had twice
deducted points from Byun for persistent butting. When Walker
raised Hristov's arm as the winner by a 4-1 judges' decision,
outraged South Korean boxing officials piled into the ring and
assaulted the ref. Byun simply sat in his corner in silent,
disconsolate protest. His vigil ended only after the lights were
turned off and he was told the arena would be closed for the
For unsportsmanlike conduct Byun was barred from amateur boxing
for two years. "Overnight," he says, "I became a social
outcast." Countrymen called him Ring Rebel. However, after Byun
turned pro in 1990, his nickname changed to Handsome Boxer. He
was easy on the eyes in winning a '93 title bout with WBC champ
Victor Rabanales. But eight months later he lost his second
defense, to Yasuei Yakushiji of Japan, on points. Shortly after
starting a mandatory two-year hitch in the South Korean army,
Byun got a rematch but fared no better. He retired from the ring
How does the sit-down sit with Byun today? "When I sat, I had
nothing on my mind except that the result was unfair and that
all my hard training had gone down the drain," he says. "Looking
back, I think it was a childish thing to do."
Before a recent Little League game in Kirkland, Wash., a father
took his son to shake hands with the opposing coach. That coach
was Webster, who threw a two-hitter against Taiwan to give
Kirkland the 1982 Little League World Series title. "Things like
that are nice," says Webster, 32, who works at a home-supply
store in nearby Woodinville. "Every day it seems what we did in
1982 gets more special." Though he could throw the ball 75 mph
as a 5'7", 175-pound 12-year-old, Webster never threw it much
harder and quit playing before his sophomore year at Eastern
On March 4, 1990, Loyola Marymount senior Hank Gathers knocked
down a two-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass against Portland
and a moment later collapsed near midcourt, dead of heart
failure. In that month's NCAA tournament, his close friend and
teammate Kimble honored Gathers by shooting his first free throw
of each game lefthanded. Ever since, the two--Bo and Hank--have
been inseparable in the public's mind. "I'm glad he's part of my
legacy, and I'm glad I'm part of his," says Kimble, 36, who led
the nation that season with a 35.3-point scoring average. Since
retiring from pro basketball in '99, Kimble has carved out his
own identity in his hometown of Philadelphia, where the
nonprofit Bo Kimble Foundation turns rundown buildings into
affordable housing for low-income families. "I help a kid get
his first room," says Kimble, whose foundation owns 10
apartments and hopes one day to house 25 to 50 families per
year. "Every kid should have his own room."
Of all the football mementos that fill the Hollywood home of
Kopay, the most treasured are the clippings he keeps in a manila
folder. They detail the fallout from Dec. 11, 1975, the day
Kopay--a star running back from the University of Washington who
played for five NFL teams from 1964 through '72--became the
first athlete from a major team sport to publicly announce that
he was gay. After he came out in an article in the Washington
Star, Kopay became a celebrity within the gay community, and his
1977 autobiography was a New York Times best-seller. Yet his was
a solitary voice: No flood of revelations by other pro athletes
ensued. "Everyone talks about me as if I'm the only gay football
player who ever lived. Well, trust me, I'm not," says Kopay, 60,
who is a floor manager and buyer at Linoleum City, a company
that does flooring for movies, TV shows and individual clients.
"I still get letters from people telling me that they appreciate
what I did, that I made things a little easier for them. Would I
do it again? You bet. It was my way to make a difference."
Changing Their Stripes
These former players still suit up for games--as umpires,
referees and officials.
Bruce Benedict, MLB CATCHER ACC and SEC basketball official
Jeffrey Clark, ST. JOSEPH'S POINT GUARD Atlantic 10 basketball
Kerwin Danley, SAN DIEGO STATE OUTFIELDER MLB umpire
Bernie Fryer, NBA-ABA GUARD NBA official Sequim, Wash.
Gary Lane, NFL QUARTERBACK NFL replay assistant Kampsville, Ill.
Kevin Maguire, NHL FORWARD NHL referee Woodbridge, Ont.
Bill McCreary, NHL FORWARD NHL referee Guelph, Ont.
Paul Stewart, NHL FORWARD-DEFENSEMAN NHL referee Walpole, Mass.
Leon Wood, NBA GUARD NBA official Mission Viejo, Calif.
Tracy Woodson, MLB INFIELDER Ohio Valley Conf. basketball
Covering the Spread
They were world champions or Hall of Famers as athletes, but can
these former jocks cut it in the kitchen? We asked Maile
Carpenter, food editor for Time Out New York magazine and a
graduate of The French Culinary Institute, to put a lineup of
retired pros' signature food products to the test.
George Foreman Hot Links
[3 1/2 out of 4 stars]
CULINARY CAVEAT Ex-heavyweight champ also hawks his "lean, mean"
grill; health-conscious attitude is all wrong for serious
THE VERDICT By George, they're tasty! The crisp skin snaps open
to reveal a spicy interior packed with 20 juicy grams of fat.
Tony Dorsett's Creamy Peanut Butter
[3 out of 4 stars]
CULINARY CAVEAT Ex-Dallas running back's product line also
includes barbecue sauce and assorted marinades; probably best to
focus on one eponymous condiment at a time.
THE VERDICT Surprisingly smooth, sandwich-worthy stuff.
Randy White's Hall of Fame Fajitas
[4 out of 4 stars]
CULINARY CAVEAT Former Cowboys defensive tackle also makes
sausages and is national spokesman for Smokey Mountain Snuff; is
he serious about fajitas or just hard up for cash?
THE VERDICT The meat's so tender and flavorful, no wonder he
slapped his huge, grinning face on the package.
Nolan Ryan Texan Style Steak Sauce
[1/2 out of 4 stars]
CULINARY CAVEAT Fireballing pitcher had double-bypass surgery
two years ago at 53, making him a questionable front man for
THE VERDICT The sauce looks and tastes like highly concentrated
prune juice; the only good news is it's billed as a limited
Lynn Swann Super 88 Honey Nut Toasted Oats
[2 out of 4 stars]
CULINARY CAVEAT Former Steelers wideout never appeared on a
Wheaties box; cereal could be just a ploy to get back at General
THE VERDICT It ain't Honey Nut Cheerios, and there's no prize
inside--just a box covered with Swann's stats.
Junior Johnson Brand Old Fashioned Sugar-Cured Country Ham
[3 out of 4 stars]
CULINARY CAVEAT The last time the 71-year-old NASCAR great
pushed a local product was when he ran moonshine on the Carolina
THE VERDICT All those years in hog country paid off; the man can
cure a ham.
Here's a sampling of former sports figures who have gone on to
careers in banking and finance.
Rick Carey, OLYMPIC SWIMMER
First vice president, Merrill Lynch, Hopewell, N.J.
Clark Gillies, NHL FORWARD
Financial adviser, Raymond James Financial Services, Melville,
Terry Hanratty, NFL QUARTERBACK
Senior sales trader, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., New York City
Kathleen Horvath, TENNIS PLAYER
Investment professional, Goldman, Sachs & Co., New York City
Chris Jacobs, OLYMPIC SWIMMER
Vice president, high yield sales, J.P. Morgan, New York City
Dave Maloney, NHL DEFENSEMAN
Partner in institutional sales, Weeden & Co., Greenwich, Conn.
Gail Marquis, OLYMPIC BASKETBALL FORWARD
Financial adviser, U.S. private client, Merrill Lynch, Jersey
Bill North, MLB OUTFIELDER
Financial adviser, Raymond James Financial Services, Kirkland,
Denis Potvin, nhl defenseman
Financial adviser, Raymond James & Associates, Weston, Fla.
Richard Todd, nfl quarterback
Managing director, fixed income sales, Bear Stearns, Atlanta
The Next Stage
These former athletes have gone on to careers in the movie and
Matt Battaglia, NFL LINEBACKER Actor Los Angeles
Dean Biasucci, NFL KICKER Actor Los Angeles
Dick Butkus, NFL LINEBACKER Actor Malibu
Bernie Casey, NFL WIDE RECEIVER Actor, director, writer
Fred Dryer, NFL DEFENSIVE END Actor, owner of production company
Bo Eason, NFL SAFETY Actor, writer Santa Monica
Greg Goossen, MLB INFIELDER Actor Sherman Oaks
Mike Henry, NFL LINEBACKER Actor, producer, writer
Alex Karras, NFL DEFENSIVE TACKLE Actor, owner of production
company Los Angeles
Ray Mancini, BOXER Actor, owner of production company
Sky Rondenet, SNOWBOARDER Owner of production company
Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Reggie Theus, NBA GUARD Actor, choreographer Los Angeles
Mike Warren, UCLA POINT GUARD Actor Woodland Hills
Fred Williamson, NFL CORNERBACK Actor, director Beverly Hills
Presumably fueled by a drive to succeed, these former athletes
now sell cars.
Al Atkinson, NFL LINEBACKER Operator, Ford dealership,
Mike Clark, NFL DEFENSIVE LINEMAN Salesman, Pontiac dealership,
John Cullen, NHL CENTER Manager, Chevrolet dealership, Atlanta
Joe Jacoby, NFL OFFENSIVE lineman Owner, Chrysler dealership
Johnny (Lam) Jones, NFL WIDE RECEIVER Salesman, Mazda
Lee Kemp, OLYMPIC WRESTLER Owner, Ford dealership, Forest Lake,
Floyd Little, NFL RUNNING BACK Owner, Ford dealership,
Federal Way, Wash.
Jamie Macoun, NHL DEFENSEMAN Owner, Ford-Lincoln dealership,
Sidney Moncrief, NBA GUARD Co-owner, Hyundai dealership,
Pine Bluff, Ark.
Darrell Walker, NBA GUARD Co-owner, Hyundai dealership,
Pine Bluff, Ark.
Curt Warner, NFL RUNNING BACK Owner, Chevrolet dealership,