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Friday, July 20, 2007
Deuce McAllister's Business Empire
In a week dominated by news of Michael Vick's indictment, it's nice to read a positive story about an NFL player.
In the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Jack Mazurak has a feature article on New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister, his successful business investments, and his goals to revitalize Jackson, Mississippi (the state's largest city and capital).
A native of Mississippi and a former star at Ole Miss, the 28-year-old McAllister has built something of a business empire in Jackson: he owns Deuce McAllister Nissan (the number 1 selling Nissan dealership in Mississippi over the last three months) and a used car dealership, and also has significant financial interests in Deuce McAllister Volkswagon Audi Jaguar, a forthcoming Land Rover dealership, and a company devoted to historical restorations of old property in Jackson and to commercial real estate endeavors. He also runs the Catch 22 Foundation charitable group, and has donated over a million to Ole Miss to help build an indoor practice facility for the football team.
I'm interviewed for the story, and I discuss how McAlister is unique among professional athletes in pursuing such an expansive and successful business career during his playing career. Certainly, many star players enjoy endorsement deals, but not too many own multiple car dealerships and other companies.
I also think it speaks well of McAllister to recognize that his NFL income won't continue indefinitely--although not germane to a 7-year veteran like McAllister, the average NFL career only lasts three and a half seasons, and we've already discussed serious concerns about the NFL's pension and disability benefits for retired players. Along those lines, I suspect foresight and long-term financial views are not easily obtained when one is a professional athlete, making millions of dollars a year and enjoying the superstar life that goes along with it; the fact that McAllister is preparing for a lucrative post-playing career in the business world (as some other pro athletes have accomplished, such as former NBA star Dave Bing and The Bing Group), likely distinguishes him from the vast majority of players in his league and from those in the other major pro sports leagues.
In addition to showing his own business acumen, McAlister shows the wisdom of teaming up with business experts and delegating day-to-day responsibilities to his CEO, Matt Bataille, so that he can remain focused on his NFL career,--which, after rushing for over a 1,000 yards last season with an average of 4.3 yards per carry on a team that made it to the NFC Championship game, also seems to be going very well.