Like with all sports, there are some players who are so legendary that you don’t even need to have watched a single second of the sport in order to know who they are. Pele, Diego Maradona, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, and Usain Bolt are all well-known in their respective sports, but they’re also household names.
There have also been a number of incredible basketball players to have established themselves as household names. When betting on NBA matches, be aware of some of the lesser-known players in the bets, as you never know, they too might go on to become icons of the sports.
In this list we shall run through three of the most well-known basketball players and what they’ve done outside of the sport.
One of the finest point guards to grace the game, Magic Johnson is without a doubt one of the most well-known basketball players of all time. He spent the bulk of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won five NBA championships and was named as the MVP (Most Valuable Player) on three occasions.
Outside of basketball, Johnson is a businessman and political activist. After his announcement that he is HIV positive back in 1991, he retired from the game and dedicated his life to fighting the disease. He set up the Magic Johnson Foundation to help people with HIV, and has since included other diseases as part of the charity’s causes.
He is considered by some to be the greatest centre to have ever played the game and when Orlando Magic made him the number one draft pick in the 1992 NBA draft, he had a lot of potential to live up to. The fact is, he far exceeded that potential, becoming one of the most decorated players in the sport, winning four NBA championships and being named the NBA Finals MVP on three occasions.
Off the court, he carved out a good media career, voicing himself in several animated movies and TV shows like The Lego Movie, The Simpsons, and The Cleveland Show. He has also appeared as himself in films such as The House Bunny and Scary Movie 4. Perhaps his most iconic screen moment was on an episode of WWE Raw in 2009, where the 7’1” center went face-to-face, toe-to-toe with the WWE’s own giant, the 7’ tall, 500lb Big Show. Not the most athletic of confrontations, but certainly one of the most intimidating.
Arguably the most famous basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan tops our list of household names from the NBA. In his time with the Chicago Bulls, he carved out a phenomenal career, but it wasn’t just in the sport that he made a name for himself.
Outside of basketball, he featured in the 1996 hit film Space Jam, and also has footwear named after him – Nike’s successful Air Jordan range – which certainly haven’t diminished in popularity.
Such was his impact on the sport, TV ratings dropped after his retirement and haven’t reached the same levels since. He is an icon of the sport, but was able to make a name for himself in households who weren’t familiar with basketball.