Winning Big Again: Pro Athletes Turned Entrepreneurs

These talented players are successful outside the game, too.


Derrick Rose; George Foreman; Venus Williams

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images; Jeremy O'Donnell/Getty Images; Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For many professional athletes, the winning doesn’t stop once they leave sports. From George Foreman’s popular grills to Magic Johnson’s chain of movie theaters, professional athletes are making moves beyond the boxing ring, court and field.

1. Junior Bridgeman

NBA basketball legends Junior Bridgeman and John Salley with the NFL’s Michael Strahan at the 133rd Kentucky Derby May 4, 2007, in Louisville

Jeff Gentner/Getty Images

This former NBA player owns Bridgeman Foods Inc., which operates more than 160 Wendy’s and more than 120 Chili’s franchises across America.

2. Magic Johnson

Earvin “Magic” Johnson at Game 3 of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium Oct. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The former Laker started Magic Johnson Enterprises with the goal of capitalizing on the growing buying power of minorities and the value of a multicultural economy. Ventures include Starbucks, Magic Johnson Theatres and 24 Hour Fitness.

3. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan during a news conference at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Sept. 11, 2009, in Springfield, Mass.

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Arguably the best basketball player known to play the game, Jordan currently owns the Charlotte Bobcats and is the face of Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers and other products.

4. Venus Williams 

Venus Williams during her match against Dominika Ciblukova of Slovakia March 24, 2014, in Key Biscayne, Fla.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The pro tennis player is the CEO of V Starr Interiors, a full-service interior design firm founded in 2002 in Jupiter, Fla. She also owns part of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins with sister Serena Williams.

5. Eddie George

Eddie George at the 2014 Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Langham Hotel Jan. 19, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif.

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This former NFL running back is the founder of EDGE Group, a landscape architecture and design firm. 

6. Vinnie Johnson

Vinnie Johnson in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles during the 1988-1989 NBA season.

Mike Powell /Getty Images

After retiring from the NBA, Johnson founded Piston Automotive in 1995. Today the Detroit company partners with GM and Ford.

7. Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose (No. 1) with LeBron James and Shane Battier of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena Oct. 29, 2013, in Miami

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The NBA player is an equity owner and the national spokesman for Giordano’s, a popular Chicago-based pizza chain. 

8. George Foreman

George Foreman with food cooked with his trademark grill Oct. 20, 2006, in London

Jeremy O'Donnell/Getty Images

Foreman’s name has become synonymous with grilling. This former pro boxer partnered with Russell Hobbs Inc. to produce the fat-reducing George Foreman grills.