. Former NBA Players With Interesting Entrepreneur Stories |

Feb 16 2012

Five Ex NBA Players With Interesting Entrepreneur Stories

Published by at 7:20 am under Sports

The numbers don’t lie.  The fact that over half of NBA players end up broke within 5 years of retirement is unbelievably sad and at the same time truly aggravating.   Here are guys like me (and probably you) that would kill to make millions playing a sport and would most likely have the sense not to lose that money.

But here we are.   Allen Iverson being the most recent case.  But there’s been plenty before him.   Scottie Pippen being a notable one.   And instead of focusing on moronic financial decisions I’d like to remain a bit positive here.

These are five interesting stories of ex NBA players who have actually gone the other way and made some pretty cool entrepreneurial careers for themselves….

Jamal Mashburn

It’s always nice to hear about a player who has a passion after the game of basketball.  And I don’t mean a passion for losing money or getting fat.   Mashburn was a very solid NBA player in his day but appears to be an even better entrepreneur and he even has long term goals of owning an NBA team.   Mashburn says,  “I’ve always been in business and own franchises of Papa John’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Outback Steakhouse, as well as car dealerships. I own over 34 Outbacks, 37 Papa John’s and dealerships in Kentucky.”  Mashburn also owns a prized horse.   Guy is rolling in the dough right now.

Charles Oakley

He was most known for his tenure with the New York Knicks, and is still a fan favorite. A business major at Virginia Union, Charles is also successful entrepreneur. Since his playing career, Charles owns the successful chain of “Oakley’s Car Wash” facilities and is also co-owner of one of the top rated steakhouses on South Beach: “Red, The Steakhouse.”  We don’t know what he pulls in from the Car Wash but apparently it’s in the millions.

Dave Bing

Just as New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees helped shore up the Crescent City’s post-Katrina recovery, former Detroit Pistons guard and NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing helped to drive Motown’s rebirth–and his approach is even more hands-on:  In 2010, Bing (who launched his own automotive product supply firm after retiring from pro basketball) was elected as mayor of Detroit, vowing to rejuvenate the crumbling local economy by simplifying licensing and permits for new businesses.  And look at the car business today.   It’s doing way better than 2 years ago.

Obinna Ekezie

Obinna Ekezie is a former college and professional basketball player…first at the University of Maryland and later as a NBA player for various teams, including the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, LA Clippers, and Vancouver Grizzlies. Ekezie currently owns a company called Zeep which has become the fastest growing online travel company in Africa.

Kevin Willis

Willis, now 49 and retired from basketball since the end of the 2007 season, is sitting in a fashion showroom in midtown Manhattan, surrounded by suits and separates for his Willis & Walker clothing line — a line he started 24 years ago when he was playing forward for the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA.  Check out the full story.


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