career swaps

Sports Stars’ Risky Career Swaps

Sports Stars’ Risky Career Swaps — Okay, say it with me …. Can you smelllllllllllllllllllll, what the Rock (our future Mr. President) is cooking?!

The other day Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said that running for president of the United States in 2020 might be a real possibility (and if you missed it, Mick Foley endorsed him! Can we have this election now? LOL). If The Rock’s success in everything else he touches is any indication, we’re probably looking at a former WWE superstar-turned-actor as the future POTUS. Johnson has the Midas touch. He has seriously succeeded in every venture he’s touched.

So I got this new research from that looked at some of the biggest names in sports who, just like The Rock, went on to have bigger names in other positions – both in other sports and in other industries.

Each of them was known for being big in their fields, but then they went through career swaps and decided to take their talents elsewhere. Some stayed within the realms of athletics, dropping their footballs and picking up bats or flipping their Olympic track records into golf trophies. Others left altogether, trying out completely different careers.

“The Rock”, Stocks, and Two Smoking Barrels

The full infographic from, which you can find here, features familiar names like:

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who, after winning multiple WWE world championships, decided to dip into acting. Having been making $3.5 million a year from his wrestling career, he made $5 million on his first film, The Scorpion King. He recently co-starred with Kevin Hart in the action-comedy Central Intelligence, had a lead voice role in the Disney animated film Moana, and returned for the action film The Fate of the Furious. Next? Baywatch. 
  • The appropriately-named Eugene Profit had a successful career in football until he tore a hamstring in 1989. He could have had two grueling years of physical therapy, went into finance, founding “Profit Investment Management” and taking it from $100,000 to $2 billion in savvy stock investments.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger may not be US-born, but after his work as a bodybuilder (winning Mr. Olympia a whopping seven times), he went into acting. He was featured in Conan the Barbarian and Terminator, among others, before becoming the Governor of California in 2003.
  • Dave Bing was one of the top players in the NBA – an NBA All-Star MVP – but he dropped out to pursue a career in the steel industry. It might not sound as exciting, but Bing Steel posted revenues of $40 million in 1985.
  • McKayla Maroney was a gymnastics star in the Olympic team, winning silver in the Individual Vault, and gold in the Team Gymnastics, but after she had to have several surgeries on her knees she announced her retirement from the sport. Later, she went on to say she would launch her singing career with a single called “Ghost”.

The infographic also features these athletes who went on to become a huge success in their field — skateboarder Tony Hawk who went on to have a successful video game career, football and baseball player Brian Jordan, and Babe Didrikson (don’t know who she is? Stop what you’re doing right now and look her up…I’ll wait…)

Were you too lazy to do it? That’s okay, I did it for you. Here are just a few lines from her Wikipedia page:

Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias was an American athlete who achieved a great deal of success in golf, basketball, baseball and track and field. She won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics, before turning to professional golf and winning 10 LPGA major championships.

For more unusual career swaps and successful sports moves, have a look at the full infographic on

Don’t think that every athlete who ventures into other projects, like these did, is successful because that’s not the case. There’s former NBA star Scottie Pippen had a famous bout of financial hardship, losing $110 million he made in his career, but he did bounce back. There’s also Terrell Owens, Vince Young, Lawrence Taylor and so many more who made millions during their careers and, after trying to start new ventures, they blew it.

About Lisa Iannucci

Lisa Iannucci has been interviewing professional athletes and Olympians, sports writers and film/tv personalities for more than a decade. Her book, A Film & TV Lover's Travel Guide is now available:

About Lisa Iannucci

Lisa Iannucci has been interviewing professional athletes and Olympians, sports writers and film/tv personalities for more than a decade. Her book, A Film & TV Lover's Travel Guide is now available:

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