What Players Do After Their Basketball Career Comes To An End

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is one of many sports where the top players have a short career. By the age of 40, most players have seen their careers come to a close, so what do they tend to do after their careers finish?

Of course, after retiring from the top flight, athletes can enjoy a lot more freedom in their day-to-day lives. They don’t have to constantly hit the gym in order to stay in shape, and they can have a lot more flexibility when it comes to what they eat.

NBA players certainly aren’t allowed to gamble while they are professionals, for obvious reasons. But after they retire, they can make use of sportsbook promotions for NBA — just like the rest of us mere mortals — if they are located somewhere that gambling is legal. 

There are some common career paths that NBA players tend to follow once their playing days are over.

Media and broadcasting

Many players move into the world of punditry after retiring. There is a massive amount of media coverage of the NBA, and even lower levels such as college basketball attract a large amount of media attention.

The insights of a former professional player can be really valuable and help television companies to present an even more exciting show to their audience. 

A lot of top professionals undergo some form of media training during their careers, and they are used to having cameras on them at all times, so it’s natural that they should make their way into this sort of career.

Another more modern media path that many former professionals take is to go into podcasting. This has a low barrier to entry, and because players already have a fanbase and lots of interesting stories to tell, they are easily able to attract a decent audience.

Other sports

There are some sports where age isn’t such a big obstacle, and some former basketball players have tried their hand at other sports. Satnam Singh recently made his pro wrestling debut, and Michael Jordan famously tried his hand at baseball, with limited success.

Many NBA players are natural athletes and are therefore good at a variety of sports. If their professional basketball career is over at a young age, then there is every chance that they will be able to go into another sport. 


There’s no guarantee that the best players will turn into the best coaches, but many excellent basketball players have gone on to become top coaches. Not all great coaches need to have been great players as well, since the temperament and skills required for coaching and playing are different, but some experience playing at the top level can be beneficial when it comes to training and coaching others.

There are a lot of head coaches who used to be players, but not all of them reached the very pinnacle as players. Perhaps this spurred some of them on to become top coaches.

If basketball has been someone’s true passion their whole life, then it can be really hard for them to leave the sport altogether. Coaching gives players the chance to stay involved.


There’s no denying that top basketball players earn plenty of money and this often gives them the required capital to go into business. 

There are loads of examples of former players who have business interests and investments, but Junior Bridgeman is one of the most interesting.

After he retired from playing professional basketball in 1987, he started buying Wendy’s and Chili’s branches, and built up a large portfolio of franchise restaurants. He sold these in 2016 and signed a bottling contract with Coca Cola. In 2020 he bought Ebony and Jet magazines.

Some top NBA stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan have plenty of business interests, so there are many examples of NBA stars who went on to become entrepreneurs.

Enjoying retirement

Okay, so retiring before 40 isn’t for everyone, but for some people it is an absolute dream. If you’ve made enough money to support your family, then why not? 

There’s nothing wrong with just chilling out and enjoying retirement, something that plenty of former professional sportspeople opt for. 


Basketball players tend to earn plenty of money during their careers and this means they have the option to retrain or go into another area if they wish. The truth is that many are in love with the game and therefore stay closely involved with basketball in one way or another. 

You may also like...