There are hundreds of stories of famous athletes that have gone broke in their short careers.  What we don’t hear about as much is the success stories of guys who step away from the game and find financial success off the court or field. The stories of former players that were wise with their money and made smart investment that will care for generations. Jamal Mashburn is one of those examples.

Jamal Mashburn, who played for three NBA teams and the Kentucky Wildcats in college, now owns more than 80 franchise locations and five car dealerships. These include 40 Papa Johns location, 38 Outback Steakhouse, and 4 Dunkin Donuts.

In 2013 Jamal Mashburn teamed up with former NFL player Winston Justice–to launch a venture capital firm for investing in high-tech startups. The name of the VC firm is Mashburn Justice Capital Partners. To date, their only public investment has been $2.1 million into LevelEleven which is a sales performance platform.

In 2014, Mashburn launched a marketing agency, Mashburn Sackett, with locations in Chicago and Miami. The agency’s focus is to serve the growing interest in smaller agencies that respond with greater agility to internet changes. It specializes in interactive, experiential, and viral marketing, social media, integrated film and 3D production, among other related digital services.

Here are several factors that Mashburn attributes to his success:

  • I had a vision of what I wanted to be at an early age, not just a basketball player. I’ve always disliked the stereotypes of athletes can only do their sport and they can’t do anything else. I’ve always been the guy that had broader interests.
  • I am a humble guy that likes to find out information at its lowest level and build myself up. The transition started for me when I was 15, 16 years old looking at guys on the train station carrying briefcases because that is what I wanted to be.
  • I looked at basketball as, Do I want to play until I’m 35 or 40 years old? Probably not because I had a feeling that I would get bored at that particular point. I needed different challenges in my life. I had other goals and other visions, so planning the execution and having another vision beyond athletics is something I’ve always thought of.
  • I remember my mother telling me all the time, she didn’t know a whole lot about sports or know how good I was. She would always say, You better get your books and get into computers because you want to have something to fall back on in case basketball doesn’t work out. I have always looked at it as basketball will work out because I am pretty good at it and I am going to apply time to it and work at it, but I wanted to leave the game with a healthy quality of life and an ability to step into something.
  • It’s almost like not falling back on something, but falling forward to something.

It is refreshing and inspiring to hear the good stories and not just the bad. Mashburn has clearly taken his NBA earnings and built a growing business empire.

What other former athletes are now thriving business successes?