A Sportsbet.io News special feature
David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Francesco Totti. Three names that are familiar to sports fans, not only for their endless careers, but also for their new lives after sport. The first has just opened a franchise in MLS and started a collaboration with a grooming brand. The second won an Oscar for a movie based on his life and runs a tech company for startups. The third now sits on the stand of Olimpico's stadium in Rome, watching the games as the club's director, his new role in the Giallorossi squad.
In January, the 42-year-old English former football player officially entered Major League Soccer with his new club in Miami, Florida. The franchise came nearly four years after the former England star announced plans to start a team in south Florida. Now his dream has turned into reality and the first meetings have to be planned. The team is still waiting for a name and won't play before 2020 at the earliest, but as Beckham himself said, he's still been getting plenty of phone calls from those wanting to come and play for his team.
If you think this is enough for 'Becks', who retired in May 2013 after a 20 year career, (during which he won 19 trophies), you are wrong. In March 2018 he unveiled House 99, a collection of 19 innovative products. Made in collaboration with L'Oréal Luxe, the line of both staple and specialty items provides all the tools men need to experiment with their appearance: hair, skin, beard.
David Beckham gives a statement during the announcement of the new Miami MSL team
His first global grooming brand has everything for everyone, in order to inspire a generation and redefine male culture as he did in the 2000s. "I created House 99 to give people inspiration, as well as the right products to experiment and feel completely at home doing so. House 99 is here to support men, to give them the tools they need to create whatever look they are going for," he declared during the global launch of the brand.
From Miami to Los Angeles, another sport star who literally jumped into a new life after retirement is Kobe "Mamba" Bryant. The Lakers' all-time point scorer, third on the NBA's all-time list with 33,643 points scored, was awarded during the last Oscar ceremony for a short movie based on his life, 'Dear basketball'. The film shows Bryant as a child dreaming of basketball glory and as an NBA star. Bryant, who is now 39, said the film was, "about the emotional journey of having a dream, believing it will come true. Then it comes true, followed by the realization that you have to wake up from that dream and move on to another."
When Bryant ended his career in 2016, the LA Lakers retired the two jerseys he wore during his 20-year career in just one club. 'Dear Basketball', written by Bryant, directed by Glen Keane from Disney and with the music of five-time Oscar winning composer John William, is based on a letter he had published on The Players' Tribune website, announcing his plans to retire from basketball in November 2015.
Kobe Bryant, winner of the Best Animated Short Film award at the Oscars
Bryant, as mentioned, is now also an entrepreneur; with his business partner Jeff Stibel he founded Bryant Stibel, a company which invests in startups and early-stage businesses. "I believe in the importance of supporting entrepreneurs," he said in an interview. "These are the people that are shaping the future of our country and of our world, and they're leading by example. They will inspire the next group of business owners, and we want to position them for success and help instill that drive and spirit of creativity in future generations."
Trying to think of another former player who is still in the business? Please welcome Mr. Francesco Totti. The 40-year-old former player of Roma swapped his shirt for a suit, as he assumed the mantle of club director for the Serie A team in September 2017. As a player Totti helped Roma to a Scudetto, won a World Cup for Italy in 2006 and won a European Golden Shoe. For the Giallorossi he played 786 matches, scoring a club-record 307 goals. "The first part of my life, being a footballer, is over. Now another, equally important one as a director begins, and I hope that I will be able to do what I did on the field," Totti told Roma's website at the time he came to his decision.
Francesco Totti celebrates during his days on the pitch
"Football is my passion; it's everything. It's friendship, scoring goals, knowing new people. It's something which touched every important part of my body. I'm starting over again, on a new adventure."
New adventures. New chapters of their lives. New emotions. That's what all these sport stars were - and are - still looking for. And they may just find it. Inside or outside the sports hall.
Words: Cecilia Mussi