There used to be a time when sports paid so little that many athletes held side jobs. In 1951, four-time World Series champion and New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra sold suits in a store in Newark, N.J. — alongside fellow Yankees great Phil Rizzuto. Today, however, even entry-level pros make big bucks — but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy other gigs.
Side hustle: Pizza franchise owner
After winning Super Bowl 50 in 2016, Peyton Manning walked away from football as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in NFL history — and one of the richest Super Bowl MVPs of all time. Forbes also labeled him as the league’s most marketable player of the past decade in 2016. Among his laundry list of endorsement deals was a contract with pizza chain Papa John’s.
But Manning was more than just a spokesman — he actually bought 31 of the chain’s restaurants in 2012. He recently sold his shops, however, just before the NFL dropped Papa John’s as the league’s official sponsor.
Side hustle: Candy maven
In 2017, Maria Sharapova returned to tennis from a 15-month suspension after failing a drug test. Once the world’s top-ranked players, Sharapova has made more than $300 million during her career and remains one of the world’s richest female athletes. She used some of that stack to launch Sugarpova, her own, wholly-owned candy brand. The brand’s chocolate line was recently picked up for distribution in 50,000 stores, including Kroger and 7-11. Sharapova committed fully to her side hustle — she enrolled in Harvard Business School while serving her suspension.
Side hustle: Uber driver
How about an NFL great making some side cash as an Uber driver? Eagles All-Pro Jon Runyan spent 14 years in the NFL and later served two terms as a Congressional representative, worked in radio and on TV and served in an administrative position for the NFL. In 2017 he started working as a rideshare driver to stave off boredom and because he likes chatting up the public.
Side hustle: Minor league baseball player
When his father was murdered in 1993, the man considered the greatest player in NBA history and Nike’s most valuable athlete, Michael Jordan, retired from basketball to focus on his family. The next year, he returned to sports — but not as a shooting guard or small forward. For one season, Michael Jordan took on a side hustle as an outfielder for the Birmingham Barons, a farm team for the Chicago White Sox. Although his one-year minor league baseball career wasn’t stellar, Jordan sold plenty of tickets before returning to his real gig with the Chicago Bulls.
Side hustle: Jamba Juice owner
Football fans know Vernon Davis as a Super Bowl champion tight end and two-time Pro Bowler who spent most of his career in San Francisco but now plays for the Washington Redskins. In 2013, however, he took on a side hustle when he bought a Jamba Juice in Santa Clara, Calif. It wasn’t his first foray into the world of restaurant chains — Davis worked at a Quiznos as a kid.
Side hustle: Customer service representative
When frustrated customers called soccer supply company Eurosport to inquire about incomplete orders in 1991, it’s possible that the $8-an-hour rep on the other end of the phone was Mia Hamm, who would soon be known as the greatest American female soccer player in history. Even though the future World Cup icon was still in college at the time, she had already made the women’s national team while answering phones as a customer service operator.
Side hustle: Fashion designer
Arguably the greatest female tennis player in history, Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles, the most recent being the 2017 Australian Open, which she played and won while pregnant. In 2009, however, Williams branched out into what would become a lucrative side hustle. The woman who went pro at 14 launched her own clothing line, called the Serena Williams Signature Collection, exclusive to HSN — it remains in stores today.
Side hustle: Grill salesman
In one of the greatest celebrity marketing deals in history, boxing legend George Foreman sold his name and celebrity to an obscure company called Salton, which manufactured a little electric indoor grill. Foreman originally signed for 45 percent of the profits, but because of his endorsements, the Foreman Grill sold millions of units. Eventually, the company bought out the former champion. When all was said and done, Foreman is believed to have earned $200 million.
Side hustle: Yoga teacher, columnist, civic leader
Mara Abbott is an Olympic cyclist who made a name for herself at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. A native of Boulder, Colo., Abbott still lives in town. That’s where she runs her side hustles, which include her position as a yoga teacher, a columnist for the Boulder Daily Camera and serving on the city’s environmental board.
Side hustle: Private taxi driver
Roger Federer is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time and probably the best athlete of his generation across all sports, according to USA Today. When he was beginning his career, however, he needed some extra cash — and back then, there was no such thing as Uber.
But there were taxis, and in 2001, a then-20-year-old Federer drove a cab in Biel in his native Switzerland. The taxi, however, was private — he drove exclusively for an injured tennis player.
Side hustle: Uber driver
In 2015, A.J. Francis was entering his third season as a defensive tackle with the Miami Dolphins, a position that paid $510,000 a year. The 6-foot-5-inch, 330-pound Francis, however, wasn’t sure he’d make the team that year and liked his offseason job as an Uber driver so much that he kept it as a side hustle, even as a pro athlete. The gig padded his income to the tune of $40 to $50 an hour.
Side hustle: Hairstylist
If you follow equestrian dressage, you might know the name Laura Graves — the Olympic medalist who scored a bronze in 2016 at the Rio games. Aside from her Olympic achievements, Graves has also won top prizes at the biggest horse-related events in the world. Before it all started, however, she was a hairdresser, a gig she had to quit in order to pursue her Olympic dreams.
Side hustle: Police officer
In 2005, the biggest big man in basketball history was sworn in as a reserve officer with the Miami Beach Police Department. Playing for the Miami Heat at that time, Shaquille O’Neal was granted police powers, including the right to carry a gun and make arrests. Shaq’s stint in law enforcement wasn’t a one-time gig, however. In 2017, O’Neal said he plans to run for sheriff in 2020. He didn’t specify where he’d run, but the Los Angeles Lakers legend holds residency in Florida and Georgia.
Side hustle: Video game entrepreneur
In 2006, six-time All-Star pitcher and three-time World Series champion Curt Schilling had no business experience — but he did have more than $90 million in on-field earnings. That was more than enough to launch the video game company he hoped would make him a billionaire, according to Boston Magazine. The company — called 38 Studios after the Boston Red Sox legend’s uniform number — soon went belly up, costing the athlete-turned-entrepreneur millions of his own money as well as sticking taxpayers with $75 million worth of public loan defaults.
Side hustle: Bartender
P.K. Subban is a defenseman for the Nashville Predators, but during the 2012 lockout, while with the Montreal Canadiens, the blueliner was out of work and looking to keep busy. He landed a gig as a bartender — and also doubled as a waiter and cook — at Boston Pizza, a Canadian restaurant chain.
Click through to read about athletes who lost huge endorsement deals — they might be the next to need side hustles.
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