I’m so proud of the strides that athletes have made when it comes to making an impact. For so long, athletes were told to essentially “Shut up and Dribble” whenever they spoke out. But these days, professional athletes prove that they are more than entertainers.
One of those ways is business. Who doesn’t love money? So often, people forget the business of sports is what keeps running, and without it, it would be obsolete. Over the last decade, more athletes have set their sights on team ownership. Instead of retirement, we’re starting to see more and more athletes’ next stage of their life include ownership. Here’s a list of our five favorite professional athletes that own teams.
P.S. If you didn’t know, it’s illegal for an active player to be an owner in the sport they play for. So for that reason, this list will also include active players.
5. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is different than most because has been the owner of two NBA teams. When he first retired, he came the partial owner of the Washington Wizards. Once he realized what a dumpster fire the team was, MJ came out of retirement to get his money’s worth. The commissioner at the time was not cool with this and made him sell his stock. When he retired for the last time, he was able to make his childhood dream come true. He became the majority owner of his hometown team Charlotte Hornets. Even though they have been stuck in mediocrity for the past 10 years, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel with the addition of future superstar LaMelo Ball.
4. Shaquille O’Neal
Kids these days don’t even know what a beast Shaq truly was on the court. They just know him as that tall guy who’s in every commercial. But as much as he was a dominant force on the court, he keeps that same energy in all of his business ventures. From funding a comedy tour, Papa John’s, and now basketball ownership, Shaq’s money is everywhere. In 2013, Shaq became the minority owner of the Sacramento Kings, which he humorously dubbed the “Shaq-cramento Kings”. With talks of possibly relocating the Kings, Shaq could be in a position for a big payday.
3. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is one of a kind human being. What’s not to love about Magic? It might be a hot take, but as great as his professional basketball career was, his investing career might be more successful. Trust me, I know, he changed basketball, but he also started the trend of athletes venturing off into ownership. Who remembers when Magic owned a chain of movie theaters? He took a step further by having his hand in multiple sports organizations. These aren’t small teams either, these are teams that have multiple championships under their belt. This list includes the Los Angeles Sparks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s levels to this, and Magic is in a different echelon.
2. Alex Rodriguez
Ever since MLB Hall of Famer, Alex Rodriguez retired, he has been actively trying to purchase a team. He didn’t care what sport it was, long as it financially made sense. His dream almost came through in 2021, but his purchase of the New York Mets fell through. Opting to not give up, his active pursuit of a team didn’t stop there. After months of work, it paid off when he was able to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves. This is major, as the majority of the others in the league are white. So maybe he could be the start of something great with more black owners.
1. LeBron James
How could I not bring up King James? Ever since he joined the league, something about him was special, and he shows it every chance he gets. In the business world, he’s no scrub either. Having one of the highest career earnings ever for professional athletes, it was only a matter of time until Bron got involved in sports ownership. This year he became one of the part-owners of the Boston Red Sox, making him the first Black-minority owner in the MLB. What a remarkable achievement by a kid from Akron, Ohio. I can’t wait until he retires to see him become an NBA owner, and hopefully it’s his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.