David Beckham joins exclusive company as latest pro athlete turned sports team owner | SIDELINE
Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that former LA Galaxy midfielder and world soccer superstar David Beckham has exercised his option to purchase an MLS expansion team, and that he'll be setting up shop in Miami.
Beckham joins a select group that includes some of the biggest names in sports who have made the transition from pro athlete to the man signing the checks in the boardroom.
Here's a short list of some of the biggest names from their respective sports to make the jump from player to owner — both those that have been wildly successful, as well as those that have seen their share of struggles.
Michael Jordan — Charlotte Bobcats (2003-current)
Widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time, Jordan retired as an active player — for good — in 2003, at the age of 40. With a hugely successful line of basketball shoes and clothing already two decades into distribution, acquiring an ownership stake in an NBA team wasn't about making money. He purchased an additional stake to become majority owner in 2006, but the team has largely struggled ever since.
How they've fared: 272-500 record (.352 win percentage), one playoff appearance (lost in first round, 2010), six different head coaches in 10 years.
Oscar De La Hoya — Houston Dynamo (2009-current)
Before his storied boxing career had even officially concluded, De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions became involved with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to claim a 25 percent stake in Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo.
Official word from the Dynamo is that AEG retains operating control of the club while getting significant input from De La Hoya, who has in the past spoken of holding boxing events at BBVA Compass Stadium.
How they've fared: 75-57-60 record (.391 win percentage, .703 result percentage), five playoff appearances, back-to-back MLS Cup apparances (2011 and 2012).
Yao Ming — Shanghai Sharks (2009-current)
Unlike our first two athletes turned entrepreneurs, Yao didn't just become involved with an already existing or expansion franchise - he saved his investment from going out of business. While Yao was still playing for the Houston Rockets in the NBA, the Chinese team that developed the 7-foot-6 behemoth was going through a period of serious financial hardship and on the brink of not being able to compete in the 2009-10 season.
Yao stepped in, rescued the club from such embarrassments and continues to operate the Sharks on a day-to-day basis.
How they've fared: 83-76 record (.522 win percentage), one playoff appearance.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson — Los Angeles Dodgers (2012-current)
Following more than a decade spent as a sports media personality once his playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers were over, Johnson's $700 million net worth company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, teamed up with Guggenheim Partners in 2012 to purchase the MLB club for a record price of $2 billion. Johnson is considered the leader of the ownership group, but does not hold the title of controlling owner.
How they've fared: 178-146 (.549 win percentage), one playoff appearance, one National League Championship Series appearance.
Mario Lemieux — Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-current)
Lemieux is the only player on our list to own the team for which he played a majority or all of his career. Following Lemieux's first retirement in 1997, the Penguins were another sports team on the brink of disappearing or being relocated. The more than $30 million worth of deferred salary owed to Lemieux in 1999 actually made him the Penguins' largest creditor.
So he converted $20 million dollars of that sum into Penguins equity, which was enough to give him controlling interest in the franchise. He then proceded to come out of retirment a year later and reassume his place on the active roster, playing for ... himself.
How they've fared: 540-427-39 record (.449 win percentage, .481 result percentage), nine playoff appearances, one Stanley Cup championship.