If you haven’t heard already (and where have you been, Coog?!), our University of Houston men’s basketball team is in the Sweet 16 of March Madness, and we couldn’t be more excited!
The business of sports is serious business, but what happens after the hoop dreams end? Here, we highlight some Houston-based athletes from a few different sports who belong on the field and in the boardroom.
Third Baseman, Houston Astros
One of the best players in Major League Baseball? Check. One of the best athletes building a brand for himself? Double check. Bregman and the rest of the Houston Astros will likely dominate this baseball season (Opening Day is tomorrow, and the first ‘stros home game is April 5), but the third base star is quickly establishing himself as a bankable athlete. He recently signed a deal with Adidas, and he’s connecting with fans through YouTube and Instagram.
Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon
Center, Houston Rockets
We’re all about #ForTheCity, but in the 1980s, everyone on campus was chanting three different words: Phi 👏 Slama 👏 Jama. After an amazing stint on the UH basketball team, Olajuwon led the Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in the mid-90s and ultimately retired from professional basketball in 2002. Off the court, he’s had success in the Houston real estate market, making over $100 million, and giving back to the game by coaching and mentoring young players.
Running Back, Houston Oilers
Before the Houston Texans, there were the Houston Oilers. Campbell parlayed a winning college career into success in the NFL, named Offensive Player of the Year in each of his first three seasons and AP NFL Most Valuable Player in 1979 — Luv Ya Blue! And what’s a true Texan do after leaving professional football? He focuses on barbecue. Campbell launched the Earl Campbell Meat Company in 1990, making “Hot Links” sausage and barbecue sauces.
Pitcher, Houston Astros
Speaking of Houston athletes who are big-time BBQ players: Nolan Ryan is the greatest Astros pitcher ever and is now among the best foodies, too. He’s published a cookbook and leads Nolan Ryan All-Natural Beef. He also stays connected to his baseball roots as an executive advisor for the Astros and through Dugout Ventures, a private equity group focused on baseball-related brands and companies.
Clyde “The Glide” Drexler
Shooting Guard/Small Forward, Houston Rockets
Another Phi Slama Jama and Houston Rockets alumnus, Clyde Drexler is one of the NBA’s greatest players of all time and a 10-time All Star. After retiring, Drexler enjoyed some pop culture success and showed the world why he’s nicknamed “Clyde the Glide” as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, and recently became commissioner for the Big3 league, a 3-on-3 league created by Ice Cube.
American Professional Boxer
This living legend and Houston native had to make our list. After his boxing career, Foreman made a knockout in the business world, lending his name to the multimillion-dollar George Foreman Grill. He is now a minister and has opened the Foreman Youth and Community Center with a “pay your age” annual fee for members under the age 18.
Defensive End, Houston Texans
He may have been born in Wisconsin, but if you ask us, JJ Watt is all Houston. He’s one of our favorite players on the Houston Texans, and off the field, he’s a household name with the JJ Watt Foundation, his own line of Reebok shoes and commercials for H-E-B and Ford.