By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
I came across an uplifting article on Mashable this week about former San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis. Willis retired from the sport a year ago and now works for storage company in Silicon Valley. Not exactly what you were expecting from the former linebacker was it? Funny thing, he won’t be the only former athlete in tech.
Sam Laird’s article touched on how Willis went from gridiron to boardroom and it’s really refreshing to see. There are so many stories about players having health and financial issues after their playing days are done. To see a man go from the poorest of the poor in the deep south to first round draft pick and now Executive Vice President of a tech company. Pretty impressive stuff.
Willis isn’t going to be the exception. Golden State Warriors forward and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala signed with Warriors a few years ago in part because of the tech industry. He works closely with Andreessen Horowitz, invests heavily in tech and it’s pretty clear that he will join the industry after his playing days are over.
Willis and Iguodala are showing other athletes how it can be done especially if you live in the Bay Area. You don’t have to be a megastar to be able to pivot and find success in another industry. While you will always hear the story about the athlete who lost it all, you will also be hearing, I hope, more stories like the one about Willis and Igoudala.