Weirdest Jobs of NBA Greats

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2013

DENVER - APRIL 08:  Interim head coach Adrian Dantley of the Denver Nuggets directs his team against the Los Angeles Lakers during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on April 8, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

NBA players are generally pigeonholed into specific jobs after they end up dipping out of the league. However, a select few end up picking up some incredibly interesting gigs.

Retired players will generally take a job as an assistant coach, regardless of what level of basketball they join, or as some kind of analyst or will use their gobs of money to invest in businesses outside of the NBA.

Other than that, the most we hear about players after they retire is about them setting up a charity organization, going broke or recovering from some kind of addiction.

That's why it's always nice to find a former player doing something else with his time, something otherwise productive.

Most recently, we've heard a story about a certain former All-Star picking up a gig helping kids cross the street.


Adrian Dantley, Crossing Guard

Adrian Dantley scored more than 23,000 points in his days in the NBA, and now he spends his mornings and afternoons helping kids cross streets.

News came out about a week ago now that Dantley, the longtime member of the Utah Jazz who had a stint with the Detroit Pistons and the Dallas Mavericks, works a job that pays him just over $14,000 a year.

Dantley doesn't do it out of necessity, at least necessity of income. Rather, Dantley is just a frugal dude who doesn't want to sit around all day.

One of Dantley's close associates explains why the otherwise well-off former forward works a regular job at all (via Deadspin).

He's not going to just sit around, and he just doesn't want to pay health insurance.

For some reason it's hilarious to imagine the 25th-highest-scoring player in NBA history trekking every morning, stopping cars and whisking kids across the street as he fights off the cold.


Yao Ming, Documentarian and Elephant Savior

Yao Ming is enormous, so anything he does outside of playing basketball is automatically interesting, and most likely looks hilarious.

That's why his post-NBA ventures, outside of being the most famous and recognizable Chinese man, always seem so intriguing. Well there's that, and the fact that what he does is legitimately thrilling.

Most notably, Yao took a journey to Africa to put together a documentary about the plight of African rhinos and elephants. He even kept a blog along the way so you can see exactly what he was up to on a day-to-day basis.

Yao's The End of the Wild is not only an interesting watch, but it's also got the coolest trailer in the history of documentaries.

Otherwise, Yao has spent his time as an embattled conservationist, doing everything he can to curb poaching wherever he is needed.


Kevin Johnson and Dave Bing, Mayor 

When you see former player after former player end up broke, in jail or just disappearing to do nothing productive ever again, it's nice to see a few guys do their best to give back to their community.

Kevin Johnson and Dave Bing have done their share to give back to the cities they played in, both running for and winning mayoral elections in their respective cities.

Bing is in his second term as mayor of Detroit, while Johnson continues to do everything in his power to keep the Sacramento Kings in town, also serving in his second term.


Shawn Bradley, Cowboy

Like we talked about with Yao Ming, tall dudes doing anything is interesting. What could be more interesting than 7'6" Shawn Bradley riding a horse?

Bradley is the proud owner of a Utah ranch where he owns 350 cattle. He talked about the poor horse that has to tote him around with deep appreciation (via Ball Don't Lie):

Bless the horse's heart, the biggest challenge is finding a saddle that'll fit, and I had a guy help me make a saddle. So we've got a saddle and a 16-hand horse is the smallest I can even consider.

I'm not sure if there's a reality show around that would have any sort of reason for this, but I would love to see Bradley wearing a cowboy hat and riding a horse for any reason whatsoever. 

Otherwise, Bradley has run for a seat on the Utah House of Representatives and is chairman of the board for a local boarding school.