Financial Role Models: 3 NBA Players Who Are Champions of Business

September 20, 2021

With so many stars in the NBA, it’s never been difficult to find role models when it comes to athleticism. But what about off the court?

Here are three current and former NBA players who have won both on the court and in the world of business.

Andre Iguodala 

Estimated Net Worth: $50 million

Andre Iguodala may be a three-time NBA champion but he’s beginning to make a name for himself outside of the NBA too. 

Widely reported is his smart, early investment in Zoom, the video chat app that became almost the standard for video meetings during the first year of the pandemic. But Zoom is just one of Iguodala’s investments as he has put his money into over 50 companies through his firm F9 Strategies. 

He has stakes in brands like RobinHood, DataDog, Cloudflare and is both an investor and board member of Jumia Technologies, the “Amazon of Africa.”

It’s because of his investment success that Iguodala has decided to sign back with the Golden State Warriors under a lesser pay deal, allowing him to essentially do what he wants and play where he wants to play.


Estimated Net Worth: $400 million

Shaq may well be one of the most financially successful retired basketball players in the world. 

As he has famously stated, his real business is that he owns brands.

“My real business is I own 50 brands,” O’Neal explained in a recent interview with Atlanta Black Stars. “So, when I was retiring, I’m looking around, I’m like ‘How does Michael Jackson and all these guys live forever?’ So, one of the chapters in the book, joint venture-ship. So, I called the three companies [seemingly Authentic brand group, Simon property group, and Brookfield property partners] that helped people live forever, and they bought my brand for a lot of money. So, I took half that money, put it back in the company, now I’m the number two guy in the company.” 

The former Lakers star has partial ownership of brands like JCPenny, Forever 21, Playboy and even Marilyn Monroe and Elvis.

“I put money back in the company, and now I own all those other brands, so if Shaq ever goes away, sh-t, we still got Elvis.”

Besides his brand stakes, Shaq is also now the spokesperson for Papa Johns. Furthermore, he owns several Auntie Anne’s Pretzels shops, over 100 car washes and 40 fitness centers.

LeBron James

Estimated Net Worth: $850 million

Charles Barkley explains LeBron James’ career success best:

“To be 18 years old, come into the NBA, live up to the hype, never got into a stitch of trouble, is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my life”   

While he’s certainly earned the title of King James on the court, LeBron is also creating a financial empire off the court. 

Among his many successful business ventures, LeBron owns 19 Blaze Pizza franchises in Chicago and South Florida. But Blaze is really only one piece of the pie.

As of March, James owns a 1% stake in the Boston Red Sox but that’s not the only sports team he has shares in. He also has 2% ownership of soccer club Liverpool FC who is valued at nearly $2.2 million. Can we shake up this repetition a bit with some alternative words like investment or interest

Beyond the world of sports, LeBron also owns his own production company, SpringHill Entertainment, and an additional media company, Uninterrupted. His SpringHill company produced the “Space Jam” sequel and has had content appear on streaming services like Netflix, HBO, Disney+ and legacy channels like CBS, NBC, ABC and ESPN.

They Didn’t Do It Alone

While LeBron, Shaq and Iguodala are certainly business role models for professional athletes, it’s important to understand that these stars didn’t accomplish financial success on their own. 

As they have on the court, so too have they surrounded themselves with the right team in business. It’s important to surround yourself with the right talent and the right knowledge so that when an opportunity arises, your team is prepared to not only take advantage of the opportunity but also to vet the proposal to find out if it’s really the right fit.

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