Seven-figure contracts sometimes fail to satisfy those competitive enough to thrive in professional sports. With so many endorsements, investments, and opportunities at their disposal, great athletes almost invariably go from wearing uniforms to wearing suits. But not all of them succeed. (Just ask Phillies great Lenny Dykstra about serving time for bankruptcy fraud.) The ones that prosper are intensely protective of their personal brands and willing to trade on their fame. They also tend to be the ones who don't mind taking a bit of coaching from research analysts and accountants.
Here are the legendary athletes who've equalled their sports success with success in the board room. It is an elite club within an elite club.
According to Forbes' June 2013 list, Woods is the world's highest-paid athlete with annual earnings of around $78 million. Though Woods lost some sponsors (and a lot of money to ex-wife Elin Nordegren) after his chronic infidelity became public knowledge in 2009, he still has several prominent endorsement deals and a steady stream of prize money. Woods' empire wasn't built in a day, but it isn't that hard to pinpoint the moment when he really took off. When Nike released its first 'I am Tiger Woods' advertisement, actually being Tiger Woods became incredibly profitable.
"Golf affords you supreme independence," Woods wrote in his 2001 book, 'How I Play Golf.' which could easily double as a manual for entrepreneurs. "Ultimately, it is you against yourself. It always comes down to how well you know yourself, your ability, your limitations, and the confidence you have in your ability to execute under pressure that is mostly self-created. Ultimately, you must have the heart and head to play a shot and the courage to accept the consequences."
Estimated Net Worth: $590 million
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