During his 13-year NBA career, former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson had a mystical on-court presence, and now the team is hoping he’ll shine just as bright as the president of basketball operations.
While Johnson joins the ranks of athletes that went on to own a sports team, some players end up doing other work behind the scenes. Take a look at 11 former players who traded in their jerseys for a job in management.
1. Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979, and never looked back. He spent his entire career with the team, which included three years as the NBA Most Valuable Player and a spot on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team.
After announcing he was HIV positive in 1991, the point guard retired from the NBA for four and a half seasons. He came back for a final round late in the 1995-96 season.
Since leaving the NBA, Johnson has become a successful businessman with a net worth of $600 million. His investment company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, owns stakes in everything from Burger King restaurants to the Los Angeles Dodgers — making him one of the richest professional athletes of all time.
In early February, Johnson became a basketball and business advisor to Lakers’ owner Jeanie Buss. Days later, he took the job of former vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss — Jeanie’s brother.
2. John Elway
Football great John Elway spent his entire 16-year NFL career with the Denver Broncos. During this time, the quarterback led his team to five Super Bowl appearances, garnering two championship wins.
Largely considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Elway retired after the 1998 season. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 2011, he started another hefty role with the Denver Broncos — executive vice president of football operations and general manager. Instead of scoring touchdowns, he’s running all football operations from the front office. His current salary is estimated to be around $3 million a year.
Elway’s net worth is $145 million. Amassing a fortune this hefty is certainly an achievement, but ESPN notes he passed up a massive earnings opportunity to buy a stake in the Broncos in 1998. What would’ve been around a $21 million investment would be worth an estimated $388 million today.
3. Vlade Divac
It’s no coincidence that Vlade Divac is the vice president of operations and general manager for the Sacramento Kings. After being hired as vice president of basketball and franchise operations in March 2015, he quickly rose the ranks to his current role, because he knows exactly what it’s like to be in the players’ shoes.
Divac was the Sacramento Kings’ center for six seasons, from 1998 to 2004. Known as the team’s emotional leader on the court and in the locker room, he was named to the 2001 All-Star Team.
One of the most popular players in team history, the Kings retired Divac’s jersey in 2009. His net worth is estimated at $45 million.
4. Phil Jackson
He’s been the New York Knicks president of basketball operations since 2014, but Phil Jackson started his NBA career on the team’s roster. His tenure as an NBA player spanned from 1967 to 1980, and included 10 seasons with the Knicks.
Jackson was named to the All-Rookie First Team for the 1967-68 season and led the Knicks to a title 1973. After retiring from the game, he moved on to coaching.
As a coach for both the Chicago Bulls and Lakers, Jackson garnered a combined 11 NBA Titles. In 2008, he was induced into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach.
Currently under a five-year contract with the Knicks, ESPN reports he’s earning an annual salary of $12 million. Jackson’s total net worth is $50 million.
5. Jerry West
The name Jerry West will forever be synonymous with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was drafted by the team in 1960 and spent 14 seasons working his magic on the court.
West was the third NBA player to score 25,000 points and made the All-Star team every year of his playing career. He also led the Lakers to nine NBA finals.
West took over as head coach of the Lakers in 1976, and remained in the role for three seasons. Next, he served as a special consultant to the team from 1972 to 1982, before being promoted to general manager.
After spending 40 years with the Lakers, West retired in 2000. His successful tenure with the franchise helped him generate a net worth of $55 million.
6. Larry Bird
He’s spent the past two decades with the Indiana Pacers, but Larry Bird has a deep history with the Boston Celtics. The NBA icon was a Celtic for his entire 13 seasons in the league.
Bird’s illustrious basketball career started with the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1980. He earned a gold medal as part of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and capped his tenure off with a spot on the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list in 1996.
After retiring in 1992, he was a special assistant for the Celtics for five seasons. This led to a head coaching job with the Indiana Pacers in 1997, which he held for three seasons — and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1998.
Bird’s net worth is $55 million. He was the Pacers president of basketball operations from 2003 to 2012, but has since retired.
7. Pat Riley
In 1967, Pat Riley was scooped up in the first round of the draft by the San Diego Rockets. During his nine-season career, he also played for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.
As a player, he helped the Lakers win the title for the 1971-72 season, and eventually became the team’s head coach. Riley served in this role for nine seasons, from 1981 to 1990. During this time, he led the team to four championships.
Riley then spent four years as the head coach of the New York Knicks, where he led the team to four consecutive winning seasons. He joined the Miami Heat franchise in 1995 and has been with the team ever since.
Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008, Riley is now the president of the Heat organization. His net worth is $80 million.
8. Michael Jordan
Arguably the greatest NBA player of all time, Michael Jordan spent 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, where he led the league in scoring 10 times. His point-per-game average is still the highest in NBA history and ranks fourth on the all-time scoring list.
Jordan guided the Bulls to six NBA Championships, and was named NBA Finals MVP every single time. Jordan retired at the end of the 1997-98 season, but returned in the 2001-02 season and played two years for the Washington Wizards.
In 2010, Jordan became the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets and now owns 90 percent of the team. He’s also a billionaire, despite earning just $90 million over the course of his entire basketball career, according to Forbes.
Jordan’s $1.3 billion net worth was mostly garnered from major sponsorships and endorsement deals. Nike is his biggest supporter — the company earns $2 billion from his Jordan brand annually — but he also has lasting relationships with Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck.
9. Ozzie Newsome
He’s been in the Baltimore Ravens front office since 1996, but Ozzie Newsome started his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns. The legendary tight end played 13 years in the NFL, and spent every game in a Browns jersey.
Newsome went to the Pro Bowl three times and was the fourth-leading NFL receiver of all time when he retired in 1990. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Upon his retirement, Newsome immediately transitioned to a job as special assignment scout for the Browns. He was quickly promoted to assistant coach and then director of pro personnel.
He stayed with the team when the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, and became the Ravens’ vice president of player personnel. Over the years he’s risen the ranks to his current role of general manager and executive vice president of the Ravens organization. Newsome’s net worth is $10 million.
10. Billy Beane
Billy Beane spent six seasons as an MLB infielder, outfielder and catcher for a number of teams, including the Oakland Athletics. He hung up his cleats in 1990 and went to work as the A’s major league advance scout.
In 1993, he was promoted to assistant general manager and climbed the ranks to general manager in 1997. He’s so loyal to Oakland that in 2002, he turned down a five-year, $12.5 million offer to become the Boston Red Sox’s general manager.
If this saga sounds familiar, it’s because Brad Pitt played Beane in 2011’s “Moneyball,” which earned $75.6 million at the worldwide box office, according to Box Office Mojo.
Beane’s net worth is currently $6 million, but likely on the rise. It’s probably safe to assume his new executive vice president of operations gig came with a pay increase.
11. Wayne Gretzky
Considered the greatest hockey player in the history of the sport, Wayne Gretzky spent 20 years in the game. His outstanding talent allowed him to amass a net worth of $200 million.
During his career, Gretzky played in 18 All-Star Games and was the league’s MVP nine times. Also the NHL’s top-scorer for 10 seasons, he was voted most gentlemanly player and MVP by his peers five times.
Gretzky was the Phoenix Coyotes’ head coach for four seasons, beginning with the 2005-06 period. He was also an owner and managing partner of the team, until it went bankrupt in 2009.
In October 2016, he joined the Oilers Entertainment Group as partner and vice chairman of the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky spent the first nine years of his NHL career with the team, and expressed excitement at the ability to return.