5 Professional Athletes Who Went Into Sales

Many former athletes -- amateur and professional -- go into sales because they love competing and winning (not to mention their sales jobs offer the opportunity to be rewarded for hard work in an environment that encourages competition amongst employees). 

Here are five notable professional athletes who ended up selling for a living: 

1) Josh Gordon - Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon may have gotten a suspension from the NFL for violating their substance-abuse policy, but he didn't decide to just sit on the couch for the duration of his suspension. Instead, Gordon went to work as a car salesman at Sarchione Auto Group in Randolph, OH. While not as dangerous as playing football, Gordon will definitely need to get used to getting beat up on price. 

2) George Foreman - Heavyweight boxer George Forman might be just as famous for his sales pitch as he is for his world heavyweight championship fight dubbed "Rumble in the Jungle" against Muhammad Ali. Even though he lost that fight, he had an incredible boxing career followed by an equally impressive business career, selling over 100 million George Foreman Grills, pitching mufflers for Meineke, and starting a line of cleaning products. 

3) Karl Malone - Nicknamed "The Mailman," Karl Malone was a power forward who spent most of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz. As a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, and with the second-most career points in NBA history, Malone is a highly regarded basketball veteran. He transitioned to sales by opening up new and used-car dealerships in Salt Lake City, Utah, in addition to a commercial real estate development company amongst several other ventures in which he's actively involved. 

4) Roger Staubach - After leading the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories and getting inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame, quarterback Roger Staubach went into real estate, working for titan Henry Miller Jr. for six years before going out on his own and starting a commercial real estate firm: The Staubach Company. Staunch was apparently as good at selling real estate as he was throwing a football; his company was bought for $613 million in 2008. 

5) Jim Brown - Another Cleveland Brown great, Jim Brown was a record-setting fullback from 1957 to 1965. In 2002, Sporting News named him the greatest professional football player ever. What's not as well known about Brown is that he worked for Pepsi as a marketing rep during his off-seasons, learning the business world from the grass roots before rising to the executive level. Brown chose to work during his off-season despite the fact that he made about $85,000 a year in the NFL, which was far more than most football players made in the 1960's. 


Ken Kupchik runs the popular Sales Humor Facebook page and creates content for AppMesh, the makers of SalesMesh. He has over a decade of sales experience, ranging from telecom to financial sales. His favorite sales movie is Glengarry Glen Ross. 
SalesMesh is the personal CRM/sales app that works the way you sell. Automatically track customer interactions, notes, schedule follow-ups, collaborate with your network, sync to and from Salesforce all from your iPhone and iPad -- even when you're offline. Learn more here.