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What do NBA players do when they retire from professional basketball?

The average NBA players earns millions of dollars over the course of their professional basketball career. Compared to the retirement age of 65 for regular 9-to-5 workers, NBA players that come into the league in their late teens or early twenties and play until the peak athletic age of 27 often don’t have to life a finger the rest of their life.

Not all NBA players get to choose when they retire due to injury or no longer being able to compete at he level the league requires.  It’s never good to be forced to retire, but no one feels bad for NBA players. As long as they put in a good 5-6 years in the league, odds are they’ve earned more than enough to retire comfortably — that’s as long as they saved up and invested some of their salaries. 

Players get to enjoy long and full retirements that start as early as their late twenties and early thirties. The question is what do NBA players do when they stop playing professional basketball? What do they get up to? Thanks to the millions they earned in their NBA careers and generous pensions based on their years of experience, they have a lot of options.

Investing From Kevin Durant to Shaquille O’Neal to Magic Johnson to LeBron James; many NBA players use their deep pockets to invest in their own companies and become entrepreneurs or invest in other companies. For example Durant has already began thinking about his post-basketball career. Durant’s Thirty-Five Ventures has invested in over forty different ventures that has brought in more money to the NBA superstar’s bank account. Investing is really how NBA players go from rich to wealthy.

Real Estate Speaking of investments, a popular vehicle for NBA players’ money is putting it into real estate. Many players see retirement as their chance to start investing the money that they earned as a professional player by purchasing real estate to sell or rent. Many retired NBA players have gotten into flipping real estate for a profit or have become landlords now that they have the extra time to focus on this.

Charity Work Lots of retired NBA players are involved in philanthropy and charity work. Some set up charitable foundations and non-profits while others volunteer their time and funds to helping various causes like getting kids in poverty into sport, mental health, sports injury care, animal welfare, and more.

Coaching Some NBA players aren’t quite ready to leave the game for good when they retire, so they spend their time coaching and teaching other players. Some run their own sports teams for kids who play basketball while others might work for established teams. Some don’t coach but do stay in the game in another kind of professional capacity, such as a commentator at sports events or a talent scout for teams.

Gaming  We all know that NBA players love to play video games, so it’s not surprise to hear that post-NBA they pick up the controllers in their spare time. Many NBA players enjoy gaming and play a wide range of games from NBA2K on the PlayStation or Xbox to playing at an online casino USA real money. Some pursue their interests in playing various casino games like poker and blackjack and have even gone on to play games like poker professionally.

Golfing Though NBA players are unlike most people, one common past time that NBA players take on when they don’t step on the court anymore is stepping onto the golf course. If you follow the NBA, you know that lots of players (and coaches) hit the links during the off-season. Players like Steph Curry, Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, Kyle Korver and Charles Barkley go from part-time casual golfer during their playing days to golfing enthusiasts after they retire. You may have heard that J.R. Smith went back to college and the 36 year old joined North Carolina A&T’s golf team.

NBA Analysts and Broadcasters A lot of former NBA players join up with TNT, ESPN, or an local NBA affiliate channel as broadcasters, announcers, analysts, or color commentators. While players like Kenny Smith, J.J. Redick, Kendrick Perkins, Richard Jefferson, and Barkley have made a successful transition with their insightful insider takes and/or big personalities other former NBA’ers aren’t that nearly as universally loved. In any case, finding former NBA players behind the camera isn’t unusual.

Hobbies and Interests Retirement is a great time for NBA players to find the time to pursue some of their hobbies and interests. Some are interested in cars, for example, and spend their time attending car shows or writing for car magazines. Others might take up new hobbies during this time, just like non-sportspeople during retirement; there really is no limit from what they might get up to from gardening to traveling.

Just like anyone else, retirement is a chance for NBA players to pursue things that they might not have had much time for when playing professionally. Some remain in the game while others go on to spend more time with other investments, hobbies, and interests. From opening Krispy Kreme franchises, building their business portfolio to getting better at poker, retired NBA players have the time and the funds to build the life that they want.

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