Out of the Hoops: Professional Basketball Players with Impressive Second Career Choices

Going pro is a dream for pretty much every player ever to take basketball seriously. But it doesn’t last: the average career of a professional basketball player in the NBA lasts for a little less than five years, leaving them with a lot of free time to kill afterwards – and enough time and vitality to pursue a second career (Kobe Bryant’s two-decade career is the exception from this rule). So, what do NBA players do after the end of their pro basketball life?

Sports commentators

One of the best career choices for former professional basketball players is becoming a sports commentator. Many of them have chosen this career path after retiring from active duty: NBA stars like Magic Johnson (ESPN, TNT), Reggie Miller (TNT), Doug Collins (NBC, TNT), Shaquille O’Neal (TNT), Gary Payton (NBATV, TNT), and Charles Barkley (TNT) have remained close to their favorite sports by becoming the voices of various TV channels during the games.

Pro wrestling

This may sound like a strange career choice for a professional basketball player but it’s not unheard of – not at all. One of the best-known NBA stars to try his luck in the world of professional wrestling is Dennis Rodman, who participated in several World Championship Wrestling events while on suspension from the NBA. Between 1997 and 1999, he was part of a faction called the nWo in World Championship Wrestling, joining the crew led by “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. Rodman apparently attracted Karl “The Mailman” Malone to the dark side, too, at least for a one-off: Malone teamed up with his friend “Diamond” Dallas Page to face Rodman and Hogan in a “Bash at the Beach” match in July 1998.

On the other hand, wrestling legend The Undertaker has started his sports career as a talented college basketball player before dropping out of university to become a professional athlete in 1983. He made his debut as a pro wrestler in 1984, staying in the ring ever since.


After spending years chasing a ball in the field, many professional basketball players seem to continue to do so but at a much slower pace – on the golf course. Some of the most notable former NBA players who have found their calling in hitting small balls with iron clubs and being good at it are Michael Jordan, hosting his own celebrity golf tournament in Las Vegas, Ray Allen, considered one of the most talented golfers in the NBA, former Lakers player Danny Ainge and Steve Nash, and Doc Rivers, who is not very good at golf (he has a handicap of 7) but he loves it, hosting a celebrity golf tournament for a decade, and encouraging his fellow Celtics players to play golf with each other.

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