8 star athletes who also own sports teams
See who is joining Magic, MJ and The Great One in the owner's skybox.
Playing for a pro sports team is cool, sure, but what about owning one? That's pretty cool, too. Just ask legends like Michael Jordan (NBA's Charlotte Bobcats), Magic Johnson (MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers), Wayne Gretzky (NHL's Phoenix Coyotes) and Mario Lemieux (NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins), each of whom could have easily retired to their own private island but instead now own professional franchises.
Today more and more athletes are trying their hand at ownership. A spate of current or recently retired stars have parlayed their success into ownership roles, the eight below being the most prominent among them.
Stoudemire, who retired unexpectedly earlier this week from the National Basketball Association after 14 seasons, bought a minority stake in the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team from owner Ori Allon in 2013. Rumors have been flying ever since that he would join the team, rumors he hasn't exactly tried to quash.
"The future is unknown and so if I have an opportunity to [play in Israel] and am still in great health, it would be great," Stoudemire said in 2014.
Though his retirement from the NBA was in part due to health problems, Stoudemire might not let that stop him. Israeli media is already speculating that he'll join Hapoel for the start of the Israeli basketball season.
After an illustrious career in Europe, soccer star David Beckham came to Major League Soccer in 2007 to finish out his career to great fanfare. Part of the contract he signed with the league promised an option to own one of the league's expansion teams at a discounted franchise fee. Once his playing days ended in 2013 he exercised that option with the hopes of bringing a team to Miami.
James has made no secret of his desire to one day own an American sports franchise, but for now he'll have to stick to an international team instead. In 2011 the basketball star signed a deal with Fenway Sports Marketing – the sister company of the Boston Red Sox — to secure marketing and sponsorship opportunities. As part of the deal, James obtained a piece of the English Premier League's Liverpool FC, one of the world's most famous soccer clubs.
The sport Steve Nash decided to invest in should come as no surprise to people who know anything about the two-time NBA MVP. Though a star in the league for nearly two decades, the Canadian actually first fell in love with the sport of soccer.
After a failed attempt to buy English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur in 2008, he and a few other businessmen bought the Vancouver Whitecaps, whose MLS debut came in 2011. Then earlier this year Nash joined an ownership group that acquired the Spanish professional soccer club RCD Mallorca.
Venus and Serena Williams
While in the prime of their playing careers (which they haven't yet emerged from) the Williams sisters bought a small stake in the Miami Dolphins, becoming the first African American women to have ownership in a National Football League team. Other celebrities to buy into the team at the time were Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and Gloria and Emilio Estefan in what was seen as a strategy by the majority owner to appeal to a diverse southern Florida fanbase.
Ming had a brilliant, if short, NBA career that made him very successful. In 2009, he caught wind of the financial troubles facing his former Chinese league team, the Shanghai Sharks, and decided to help by buying them outright. He remains heavily involved with the club to this day and can often be spotted in the crowd or on the bench cheering them on.
Shaq has tried his hand at acting, rapping, policing and a whole bunch of other things, so it made sense that the NBA superstar would also try his hand at ownership. After advising the team on personnel issues, in 2013 he bought a small stake in the Sacramento Kings – ushering in the era of the "Shaqramento" Kings.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE: