Athletes Career Change and Entrepreneurship


Lessons for Pro Sports Hopefuls

Athletes Career Change and Entrepreneurshipskateboarding-498298_640

Eye-opening facts
Athletes and career change
Q & A Exploration
Selected Famous Athletes & Career Change
References + 2 Video Excerpts

Play to win at all cost and leave personal development on the blind side
is often the game plan for many athletes until a crisis forces the issue.

Case in point: a segment back in October on Oprah’s LifeClass:
A suspended NFL football player revealed that his income
dropped from $2 million to $12 hourly.

And when asked how he
would get his life back on track if not reinstated, the player,
a university graduate who majored in communication and rhetorical
studies confessed to not knowing the answer.

Unfortunately, a typical response that many have experienced.
The last thing on the mind of many pro athletes or hopefuls
is Career Literacy.
It’s a term coined by the Ball Foundation.
Too often, a little-known concept in and outside the sports world,

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Joe Montana, Andre Agassi,
Shark Tank contestant, Al Baker of Bubba’s Q are a few
examples of athletes who have traded a sports career
for various forms of entrepreneurship.

But, many other athletes don’t fare as well when it comes to
identifying a the right career change strategy.

Ideally, career management experts point out that self-exploration
should be a key part of everyone’s game plan. And in the world of sports,
that means exploration long before being benched, suspended, injured or
ready to retire in an industry known for short time spans. But pro athletes
often overlook this crucial step and only when a job loss crisis looms
is there a realization there is no backup plan.

Eye-opening facts

The NFL evaluates potential players using the popular
Wonderlic Intelligence test. Successful completion
requires an answer to 50 questions in about 12 minutes.

Hardly likely to offer a complete picture of the full potential
of the athlete as a human being with other talents.

Films such as Money Ball illustrate the focus of team owners
on winning above all else… a sport is a business!
And athletes often focus all their energy on winning the game.
But in today’s marketplace, the athlete must also
take on the responsibility of learning how to win outside the arena

Consider these statistics
from Sports Illustrated in 2009:

More than 75 percent of NFL players are in financial stress
or are in bankruptcy five years after leaving pro sports. And 60 percent
of NBA players are broke after reaching retirement.
In 2015, one in six players in the NFL will file for bankruptcy,
according to The Wall Street Journal.

Athletes and Career Change
Q & A Exploration

Choose a time when the ability to think is most sharp
Grab pen, pencil, and paper, or an app, video equipment,
sketch pad, journal, audio tape, or other preferred media.
And mull over, think, chew on, reflect, evaluate or meditate on
how to answer the following questions.

  • What lead you to this sport?
  • What motivates you to play sports?
  • If you couldn’t play anymore for whatever reason…injury…
    long-term suspension or permanent retirement.
    What would your next role be?
    For example, the sporting industry has a large number
    of roles, depending on the sport.
    Recruiting? Training? PR? Coaching? Legal? Business administration?
    Other?Would your choice be a good fit for my interests, motivation
    and skill set or would the fit be poor?
  • What sources will you use for self-awareness and exploration?
    Books? Videos?, Informational interviews? Mentorship?
    Apprenticeship? Other?
    How will you evaluate results?
  • Does a need for security, prestige or status play a role in  your choices?

***Note: A college major may provide important clues if the major
was chosen wisely. But research shows that if the major is not compatible with learning style, interests, aptitudes and motivation then the college dropout rate increases.

Selected Famous Athletes & Career Change

Arthur Ashe
Although the late tennis icon and
humanitarian obtained a college degree in business administration,
it was not his first choice for a college major.

Architecture was the original goal, but Arthur Ashe’s coach pointed
out that the demands of that major would have made it impossible
to combine the academic demands and a tennis career,
whereas a business major
offered more flexibility.

Note: Many people are unaware of the tennis great’s
military service. According to Professor Eric Allen author of
Life and Legacy of Arthur AsheLife on C-Span BookTV

James Braddock…Cinderella Man
After boxing, and having exercised skillful management of his
prize winnings,  Braddock entered the military and became an officer.
And he likely had structural visualization, ability, an aptitude
so named by the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation

Chris Everett…Writes and publishes tennis information.
Operates a tennis academy and is an ESPN commentator.

Sports Marketing, licensing, country ambassador

Joe Montana
According to Inside Sports Illustrated, Montana tried
TV announcing but disliked it. He got involved in real estate
and the corporate speech circuit. Earned a degree in business
administration and marketing before football fame.

Sugar Ray Leonard
Event and media marketing

Source: Database: Biography in Content…
Notable Sports Figures,

Dee Adams is the author of
Finding Your Niche: Discover:…


Arthur Learning Center


Job Satisfactions Survey

Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation

Wall Street
SEC Charges Former Player with Fraud

Career Management  tab

Bubba’s Q

Casey Crawford CEO  Movement Mortgage
started flipping homes while still a pro athlete
National Business Report August 7, 20

Daily Coffry//2009
“With a passion for soccer and food, Amos Zereoue
is not your typical former NFL player.”

Fabrice Muamba
after Illness retires from sports

Football player Career-change’
Writing children’s books.

Tavis Smiley Interview Kevin Johnson

ESPN Front
Jay Williams Shares
Traumatic Life Change with Oprah.

Wall Street 2015
One in Six NFL players
Goes Bankrupt within 12 Years of Retirement


Tanard Jackson

Friday Night Lights
Award-winning journalist Buzz Bissinger’s memorable talk about high school football culture in small-town America. Blunt, honest, informative overview of the pitfalls of sports obsession and the impact on players lives.

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