Imagine the crowd cheering, the bright lights shining, and the excitement as these former NBA stars gave their all on the court. But what happens when the final buzzer fades and the basketball court becomes a distant memory? Some have found success after the NBA, while others have chosen more traditional paths, working regular jobs. From Maceo Baston surprising everyone with his cupcake business to Bryant Reeves becoming a cattle rancher, these champions have moved on from the court and embraced new adventures in the real world. So, grab your favorite jersey and explore how these ballers navigate life beyond the NBA.
Darko Milicic Is an Apple Farmer in Serbia
Darko Milicic, known for being drafted right after LeBron James in 2001, had a disappointing NBA career compared to his high expectations. The 7-foot-tall Serbian didn't enjoy playing in the NBA and decided to retire in 2012. Selling his Pistons Championship ring, he donated the proceeds to charity. Feeling lost, Milicic developed a distaste for basketball and longed for a different life. Returning to his homeland in Serbia, he discovered his true passion as an apple farmer.
He invested $8 million into a 125-acre apple farm, he studied orchard farming in Italy, and now produces over 10,000 pounds of fruit annually!
Derrick Coleman Delivers Water to Residents in Flint, Michigan
Former NBA player Derrick Coleman, known for his impressive Rookie of the Year performance and All-Star selection, faced a setback in his career due to his involvement in a notorious on-court brawl. After 15 seasons in the NBA, he was released by the Pistons in 2005. Today, Coleman dedicates his efforts to a cause close to his heart: delivering clean water to the residents of Flint, Michigan. He even drives 65 miles a day to provide fresh water supplies.
As a Flint native, he returned to his hometown and has made it his mission to help build up the city and create job opportunities.
Shawn Bradley Runs a Ranch in Utah
Shawn Bradley, a giant among giants, dominated the court with his towering 7-foot-6-inch frame. This Philly 76ers draft pick from Brigham Young University showed off his skills as a shot-blocking force for the Nets and the Mavericks, leading the league in blocks in '97. When he retired in '05, Bradley tackled new challenges. He took a shot at politics, running as a Republican candidate but lost. Now his day-to-day looks completely different than his NBA days.
Off the court, Bradley traded his sneakers for cowboy boots, running a ranch in Utah. He even runs his own heavy equipment rental company called Mammoth Machinery.
Karl Malone Drives Trucks and Owns a Vape Shop
NBA Hall of Famer Karl "The Mailman" Malone dominated the court during his 19-year career, amassing over 36,000 points and earning two MVP titles. After retiring, Malone seamlessly transitioned into the world of entrepreneurship. He now owns various businesses, including car dealerships and a deer-hunting venture called Malone Outfitters. Not one to shy away from hard work, Malone is actively involved in his enterprises, even taking on the role of a truck driver to haul timber from his properties.
He has even expanded his entrepreneurial pursuits in Louisiana, where he owns a range of establishments, from a Cigar and Vape Shop to a restaurant and a clothing store.
Latrell Sprewell Became a Pitchman for Priceline
Latrell Sprewell's basketball career was marked by moments of brilliance and controversy. While his on-court talent earned him accolades and All-Star appearances, his volatile behavior often overshadowed his skills. After a physical altercation with his coach, Sprewell found himself suspended and without a contract. He was given several chances to sign with different teams and a multi-million dollar contract but turned it down, demanding more money. That and a high-profile custody lawsuit led him to financial hardship.
Sprewell went from a successful 13-year career in the NBA to losing his fortune. He reinvented himself as a pitchman for Priceline, a far cry from his days on the court.
Kevin Garnett Hosts the Show, Area 21
Kevin Garnett, regarded as one of the most incredible power forwards in NBA history, had an illustrious career before retiring from professional basketball. He played for teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Boston Celtics, bringing the Celtics an NBA championship during his first year with the team. Garnett's dominance on the court earned him numerous accolades, including 15 All-Star selections and being named the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Defensive Player of the Year.
Since retiring from the NBA, Garnett has transitioned into a new chapter of his life. He now serves as the host of the TNT show Area 21. In this role, Garnett engages in lively discussions about NBA games and current events
Adrian Dantley Became a Crossing Guard
Former NBA superstar Adrian Dantley has taken an unexpected turn in his post-basketball career. After retiring from the game in 1991, Dantley found purpose and fulfillment as a crossing guard at a local school in Maryland. This two-time NBA scoring champion and six-time All-Star with the Utah Jazz now devotes his days to ensuring the safety of children as they navigate the streets. This may be the least-expected job from a former NBA star.
In addition to his crossing guard duties, Dantley also spends time refereeing youth basketball, keeping his love for the game alive.
Detlef Schrempf Now Works With Business Development and Finances
Detlef Schrempf chose the most practical career path possible after retiring from the NBA in 2001. As a financial advisor, he learned how to best manage his wealth, and he’s done a great job! His net worth is $5 million. He hit the NBA shortly upon migrating from Germany to the U.S. and racked up scoreboards for the Dallas Mavericks, the Indiana Pacers, and the Seattle SuperSonics for 16 years.
Post-retirement, Schrempf continued his involvement in the league as an assistant coach for the SuperSonic and then became a Business Development Officer.
Hakeem Olajuwon Dominates the Houston Real Estate Market
Hakeem Olajuwon, an iconic figure in NBA history, has successfully transitioned into a new career as a real estate mogul. Although born in Nigeria, Olajuwon's impact on American basketball is unparalleled. His journey began at the University of Houston, and in 1984, he joined the Houston Rockets in the NBA. Olajuwon made an immediate impact, winning numerous accolades, including NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA Finals MVP. He led the Rockets to back-to-back championships.
He retired 18 seasons later and decided to take the real estate world by storm. Living in Houston, his real estate skills generate over $100 million in profits through his company, Palladio Development Ltd.
Dennis Rodman Became a Wrestler, Actor, Model and Friend to Kim Jong Un
Dennis Rodman, a legendary NBA player, made a name for himself as a dominant force on the basketball court. With five NBA Championships under his belt, Rodman's rebounding skills are unparalleled, contributing to the success of the Pistons, Spurs, and Bulls. Though his skills on the court were undeniable, his attitude seemed to get him into a lot of trouble off the court. He struggled with run-ins with the police and his teammates.
Life after the NBA for him has looked like dabbling in acting, taking brand deals, and even finding himself in the unlikely role of a quasi-ambassador, forming a connection with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Bryant Reeves Lives in Oklahoma as a Cattle Rancher
Bryant Reeves, the former NBA center known as "Big Country," has found his bliss in retirement. After a promising collegiate career at Oklahoma State University and a stint with the Vancouver Grizzlies, Reeves was forced to leave the NBA due to persistent back pain. Embracing a new chapter in life, he invested in a 300-acre cattle farm in Oklahoma, where he now resides in a sprawling 15,000-square-foot ranch far from the spotlight.
Reeves enjoys coaching his son's T-ball team and hasn't ruled out future involvement with Oklahoma State's basketball program. While he admits missing the NBA, his priority is now his family and the joys of a peaceful life at home.
Maceo Baston Owns a Cupcake Bakery With His Wife
A former NBA player, Maceo Baston, had an eventful basketball career that took him across different teams and leagues. After being drafted by the Bulls in 1998, he eventually found his place in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers. Following his NBA journey, Baston transitioned to the Israeli League, where he achieved great success, winning three Israeli League championships. In 2011, he decided to retire from professional basketball.
He ventured into entrepreneurship with his wife, establishing a popular cupcake business called Taste Love Cupcakes in Royal Oak, Michigan. Their delectable creations even earned them recognition on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars.
Shandon Anderson Pursued Work in the Food Industry
Former NBA player Shandon Anderson had a successful 10-year career in basketball, playing for teams like the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, N.Y. Knicks, and Miami Heat. He even won a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006 before retiring. Apart from his basketball achievements, Anderson is known for his vegetarian lifestyle. In 2010, he pursued his passion for food by taking culinary courses and opened a restaurant called Drink Art.
Though his restaurant closed only three years after opening, he doesn't regret it because his absolute dream was always to pursue the restaurant business.
LaRue Martin Began Driving for UPS Before Becoming a Manager
LaRue Martin's basketball journey took an unexpected turn, but it didn't stop him from finding fulfillment in a new career. As the number one draft pick in 1972, Martin's NBA dream with the Portland Trail Blazers faded quickly. Determined to provide for his family, he transitioned to the corporate world, starting as a driver for UPS. Today, he holds an esteemed position as the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager.
Not only does he excel in his professional role, but he also gives back to the basketball community through his involvement with the National Basketball Retired Players Association.
Kenny Anderson Runs Youth Basketball Camps
Kenny Anderson, the former NBA point guard hailing from Queens, New York, had an impressive career playing for teams like the New Jersey Nets and the Boston Celtics. After making a name for himself at Georgia Tech, leading them to the Final Four in 1990, Anderson quickly made his mark in the NBA, earning All-American honors and becoming an All-Star in 1994. After leaving professional basketball, Kenny Anderson turned to high school coaching. However, a DUI halted his coaching career.
Undeterred, he now runs basketball camps in Florida and coaches a youth travel league. But Kenny Anderson is just one example of NBA stars who chose to leave the glitz and glamour behind, opting for a more fulfilling and laid-back career path—find out which other basketball legends traded the court for a simpler life
Brandon Roy Now Coaches High School Basketball
Brandon Roy, the former Portland Trailblazer shooting guard, was hailed as a future Hall of Famer and three-time NBA All-Star before his career was cut short by knee injuries. Although it seemed Brandon wasn't ready to turn in his jersey, his injuries wouldn't let him continue. After retiring from the NBA, Roy found solace as a high school basketball coach at his alma mater, Garfield High in Seattle, and has found fulfillment in shaping young talents.
Being back on the court has brought him a sense of peace, and he cherishes the opportunity to be with his family without the demanding NBA schedule and the relentless glare of fame.
Wilt Chamberlain Was a Jack Of All Trades
Wilt Chamberlain was a legendary figure in basketball history and left an indelible mark on the sport. With a staggering average of 30 points per game and a record-breaking 100-point game, he cemented his status as one of the greatest players of all time. Chamberlain's career spanned from the Harlem Globetrotters to the Philadelphia Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers, where he led the team to an NBA championship in 1972.
After retiring, he ventured into various endeavors, including real estate, investments, writing, promoting brands, coaching, and even acting. Though he passed away in 1999, his legacy as a versatile icon lives on.
Tim Duncan Is Apart of the Coaching Staff for San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, known for his legendary NBA career, is considered one of the greatest basketball players ever. During his time with the San Antonio Spurs, he secured five NBA championships, three Finals MVPs, and two league MVPs. After almost two decades, he decided to call it quits. Instead, he pursued martial arts and decided to help coach basketball. He couldn't stay away for long as he joined the coaching staff of the San Antonio Spurs.
Keep reading to discover the surprising careers of NBA stars who now embrace regular jobs instead of balling up.
Michael Ray Richardson Runs a Basketball Camp and Substitute Teaches
In the late 70s, Michael "Sugar" Ray Richardson set the NBA ablaze with his undeniable talent. A prolific scorer, skilled playmaker, and persistent defender, he was destined for greatness alongside basketball legends like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. However, his promising career came crashing down in 1986 when his struggles with drugs led to a lifetime ban from the league. Determined to turn his life around, Richardson found solace on European courts before returning to his roots in Oklahoma.
Today, he's traded the hardwood for the classroom, serving as a certified substitute teacher for preschool children while running a youth basketball clinic for underprivileged kids.
Dan Dickau Owns Multiple Barber Shops
After bidding farewell to his NBA career after only six seasons, former Gonzaga University star Dan Dickau found a new arena to dominate: the world of hairstyling. While coaching and commentating on college basketball kept him connected to the game, it was his foray into owning barber shops that truly scored big. Alongside his wife, Dickau launched The Barbers, a thriving franchise with three locations in Spokane, Washington. Step inside, and you'll be greeted by walls adorned with sports memorabilia.
From ranchers and entrepreneurs to coaches and barbers, their stories are as diverse as their on-court skills. But that's just the tip of the iceberg! Buckle up and keep reading to explore the unexpected adventures of these basketball icons.
Charlie Ward Coaches High School Football, Basketball and Is a Motivational Speaker
Charlie Ward was a sports icon with the world at his feet after playing professionally for the NFL, NBA, and MLB! He became a New York Knicks point guard, wowing fans with his three-point expertise for over a decade. Off the court, Ward's dedication to charity work earned him NCAA recognition and the prestigious John Wooden Keys to Life award. Today, he continues to inspire as a motivational speaker, sharing his wisdom and uplifting others.
But that's not all—Ward's passion for coaching shines through as he molds young minds on the basketball court and football field in various high schools.
Vinnie Johnson Owns a Largely Successful Auto Parts Supplier
Vinnie Johnson, a former NBA star and the CEO of Piston Group, has transitioned from the basketball court to the automotive industry. Best known for his clutch performance during the Detroit Pistons' Championship runs in the late '80s and early '90s, Johnson's winning mentality propelled him to success off the court. Since retiring in 1992, he has focused on building his automotive supply empire, the Piston Group, which has experienced remarkable growth.
Vinnie Johnson remains connected to the sports world as a respected mentor and advisor for aspiring athletes but mainly focuses on his business.
Rony Seikaly, DJ Turned Real Estate Developer
Former NBA player Rony Seikaly has traded in his basketball shoes for the DJ booth, pursuing his passion for music. From a young age, Seikaly showed a talent for spinning disks and hosting parties for friends. After a successful basketball career, including an NCAA championship and an NBA Most Improved Player Award, Seikaly shifted his focus to his true love. Starting as a hobby, he honed his skills and eventually became a professional DJ, performing at clubs across the globe, from Los Angeles to Ibiza, Spain.
Later in life, he decided to pursue real estate and has been doing so ever since his days of basketball and music were gone.
Junior Bridgeman Owns Hundreds of Fast Food Restaurants
Former NBA stars prove that life after basketball can be just as rewarding. Take Junior Bridgeman, for example. Known for his forward and shooting guard skills, Bridgeman's success on the court was only the beginning. After retiring from the NBA and playing for the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, he found a new passion in the fast food industry. Investing in three Wendy's franchises, Bridgeman learned the ins and outs of the business by working at a local Wendy's himself.
Today, he owns an impressive empire of over 160 Wendy's burger shops and 120 Chili's restaurants. It's safe to say that his retirement savings are only going up.
Tom Chambers Breeds Horses and Is a Sportscaster
Tom Chambers, a basketball legend, began his NBA journey in 1981 as a key player for the Phoenix Suns. Throughout his remarkable 16-year career, Chambers showcased his incredible shooting ability, amassing an impressive 20,000 points. His talents earned him numerous accolades, including the All-Star MVP in 1987 and four All-Star selections. After retiring in 1998, Chambers found a new calling in the world of sports broadcasting. Today, he graces the airwaves as a sports announcer for FOX Sports Arizona.
When he's not behind the microphone, he's on his ranch, which he owns located in Utah. He's even developed a knack for breeding horses.
John Stockton Coaches Basketball Now
John Stockton, the renowned point guard from Gonzaga, made a lasting impact on the Utah Jazz throughout his entire NBA career. He was known for having an impressive amount of assists every game. A street was even renamed after him as "John Stockton Drive" in Salt Lake City. But what is he up to these days? Although he retired his number 12 jersey, he never said goodbye to the game of basketball.
Following his retirement, Stockton turned his attention to coaching, initially working with youth basketball teams. He even joined the women's basketball program at Montana State University for a period of time!
Steve Francis Launched a Music Label and Clothing Brand
Steve Francis' life has been a rollercoaster ride, from the tough streets to the glamour of the NBA and now to the world of entrepreneurship. His early experiences with the dark side of his city shaped him, but he managed to escape and find success on the basketball court. Over the nine seasons he played, he was a three-time All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year. However, transitioning out of the NBA proved challenging, leading Francis down a destructive path of heavy drinking.
When he regained control of his life, he channeled his passion into various business ventures. From launching a hip-hop label, Mazerati Music, to creating his clothing line, We r One, Francis embraced his entrepreneurial spirit.
Mark Blount Flips Homes
Mark Blount, a former NBA center, has successfully transitioned into a new career as a real estate investor. With a ten-year NBA career under his belt, Blount understands the importance of planning for the future beyond basketball. After retiring in 2010, he wanted a career change that would let him live a luxurious lifestyle. Blount ventured into flipping residential real estate and even ran Cinnabon shops. However, it was the real estate business that truly sparked his passion.
Evan Eschmeyer Works as an Attorney
Evan Eschmeyer played for the Net and the Dallas Mavericks before his basketball journey took an unexpected turn. His persistent knee problems forced him to retire from the NBA. However, he didn't let that setback define him. Eschmeyer returned to Northwestern University to pursue a law degree, using his tenacity and intellect in a new arena. As an attorney, he now navigates the complexities of business law while also managing his family farm in Ohio.
This former basketball star has found fulfillment and success in the legal profession, proving that life after basketball can be just as rewarding.
Shawn Kemp Is a Restaurant and Bar Owner
Shawn Kemp's electrifying presence on the basketball court made him a fan favorite during his time with the Seattle SuperSonics. Known for his awe-inspiring dunks and fierce competitiveness, Kemp played a pivotal role in the team's success in the mid-'90s. After retiring from the NBA, Kemp turned his attention to the restaurant and bar industry. While his first venture, Oskar's Kitchen, unfortunately, closed its doors, Kemp didn't let that setback deter him.
Today, he is a part-owner of a trendy restaurant named Amber Seattle, located in the heart of downtown. He went from dominating the court to making his mark in the culinary world.
Chris Washburn Works in Mortgage Collections
Chris Washburn's basketball career was once filled with promise, but his struggles off the court threatened to overshadow his talent. Despite being selected in the NBA draft, his battle with drugs led to a lifetime ban from the league. Washburn hit rock bottom and couldn't shake it in time to turn his career around. He played only 72 games before his career was cut short. However, he found the strength to overcome his addiction and pursued a different path.
Today, Washburn works in the collections department of mortgage companies while caring for his elderly mother. While his basketball career may have been cut short, Washburn's determination to rebuild his life serves as a testament to the power of resilience.
Michael Jordan Is a Billionaire With Several Different Business Ventures
Michael Jordan's legacy in the NBA is nothing short of legendary. With the Chicago Bulls, he soared to new heights, leading the team to an unprecedented six NBA Championship titles. His gravity-defying dunks and scoring mastery solidified his status as an icon, forever immortalized by the famous Nike brand. Jordan's ten-year reign as the league's top scorer during his time made history books. Throughout his career, he retired three times, even trying his hand at professional baseball.
Today, Jordan's net worth stands around $1.65 billion, thanks to his investments and successful business ventures. He's also the main owner of the Charlotte Hornets and 23XI Racing, a team competing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Adam Morrison Is a Stay-At-Home Dad
Adam Morrison, once considered an NBA bust, has embraced a different path in life after basketball. After a promising college career at Gonzaga University, Morrison was drafted third overall in the 2006 NBA draft. However, his professional career didn't live up to expectations, and he eventually stepped away from the sport in 2012. Since then, Morrison has explored various endeavors. He pursued brand endorsements, studied sports management, and even tried his hand at coaching. But above all, Morrison prioritizes being a father.
He has two daughters and a son with his girlfriend and puts his children's daily schedules as his top priority.
Antoine Walker Is Now a Financial Advisor
Antoine Walker's basketball career was filled with success and promise. As a standout player at the University of Kentucky, he helped lead the Wildcats to an NCAA championship in 1996. During his NBA career, Walker played for multiple teams, including the Boston Celtics, D las Mavericks, and Miami Heat. Known for his ability to score from anywhere on the court, he became a three-time NBA All-Star and played a crucial role in the Miami Heat's championship run in 2006.
Despite earning a staggering $108 million during his basketball career, Walker's lavish lifestyle, gambling habits, and excessive generosity led to his financial downfall. He became a financial advisor to help people learn the importance of financial literacy.
Scottie Pippen Owns a Ranch in Arkansas
Scottie Pippen, the legendary Chicago Bulls forward, is a basketball icon. With six NBA Championships alongside Michael Jordan, he's one of the greatest players in history. Pippen, a seven-time All-Star, retired in 2005 after a remarkable 17-season career. Now, he enjoys family life and owns a ranch in Arkansas with his brother. Although he admitted, he prefers to operate from afar with his family in Florida while his brother remains in Arkansas.
In his spare time, he works as an NBA analyst for ESPN and collaborates with renowned brands like Nike and the Chicago Bulls.
Jay Williams Is a College Basketball Analyst and Motivational Speaker
Jay Williams' promising NBA career was tragically cut short by a devastating motorcycle accident. Despite the setback, Williams has found success in other areas. His impressive college basketball journey with Duke led to a top draft pick by the Bulls in 2002, but his dreams were shattered in the same year. Since then, Williams has transitioned into a role as a college basketball analyst for ESPN and CBS and has since become a motivational speaker.
Additionally, Williams has taken on the role of spokesperson for a prominent New York bank, expanding his presence beyond the sports world.
Gilbert Arenas, Commentator and Podcaster
Gilbert Arenas, known as "Agent Zero," made a name for himself in the NBA after defying expectations as a second-round draft pick. With the Golden State Warriors, he earned the NBA Most Improved Player Award and became a three-time All-Star. Arenas showcased his skills, averaging an impressive 29.3 points per game during the playoffs with the Washington Wizards. Despite retiring from the NBA in 2013, he couldn't stay away from the game.
Arenas now shares his expertise as a sportscaster, hosting a daily show on Complex News and running his own podcast, No Chill Productions.
Bill Walton Is a Sportscaster
Bill Walton, a basketball legend, achieved great success in college and the NBA before transitioning to a successful career as a sports announcer. He led UCLA to consecutive NCAA Championships in the early '70s and was then drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1974. Walton played a key role in helping the Blazers win their first-ever NBA Championship in 1977, earning the title of Most Valuable Player during the playoffs.
After retiring from basketball in 1987, Walton became a lively and sometimes controversial sports commentator, broadcasting career has spanned over three decades, surpassing his notable 13-year basketball career.
Vin Baker Worked as a Starbucks Manager
Vin Baker, a former NBA star, faced significant challenges after retiring from basketball. Despite his impressive on-court thirteen-season career as a four-time All-Star and standout player for the Boston Celtics, financial mismanagement and personal struggles led to a rapid downfall. Battling addiction, Baker hit rock bottom before turning his life around. With the support of his family, church community, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, he found redemption working at Starbucks.
Starting from behind the counter, Baker eventually became a Starbucks franchise manager. In 2018, he made a triumphant return to basketball as a coach for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Greg Oden Is the Director of Basketball Operations
Greg Oden once hailed as a basketball prodigy, faced numerous setbacks during his NBA career. Despite being drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, injuries limited his playing time and hindered his potential. After retiring from professional basketball in 2016, Oden made a pivotal decision to return to Ohio State University to pursue a degree in education and the sports industry. He even joined forces with his former Ohio State Buckeyes head coach.
Currently holding the title of director of basketball operations, Oden has become an indispensable member of Ohio State's coaching staff.