Professional athletes may make a lot of money compared to the Average Joe (though some tip better than others), but many struggle to manage their money effectively once they’re done playing. The bills can add up — when you factor in agents, managers, tax professionals, and investments they make, the cash can dry up quickly. Not all athletes struggle with money, however, and some actually parlay their lucrative athletic careers into bigger business opportunities.
One great example of that is the partnership of Tennessee Titans’ linebacker Brian Orakpo and former defensive back Michael Griffin. The two have paired up to open a sweet business for two football players — one that is successful and showing what shrewd businessmen they both are.
Brian Orakpo’s career overview
The Washington Redskins selected Orakpo with the 13th overall selection in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He (like Griffin) played for the University of Texas. Orakpo played for the Redskins from 2009-2014. He would then join the Titans until his retirement in 2018. Here’s what he’s been able to accomplish during his pro career:
- 132 games played
- 66 sacks
- 294 solo tackles
- 12 forced fumbles
- Four Pro Bowl selections
Orakpo has been a consistent presence for any team he’s played on, though he’s only made it to the playoffs one time during his career.
Michael Griffin career overview
Griffin retired following the 2016 season. He spent nearly all of his ten-year career with the Titans. The Titans selected him with the 19th overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Here’s what he was able to accomplish during his career:
- 154 games played
- 25 interceptions
- Seven sacks
- 605 solo tackles
- Two-time Pro Bowl selection
After leaving the Titans, Griffin tacked on one final season in Carolina before calling it quits. Griffin and Orakpo were friends due to sharing their alma mater of the University of Texas as well as their time playing together in Tennessee. But both were interested in pursuing some sort of business together they could use to sustain them following their playing careers. The specific type of business they settled on may surprise you.
Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin’s unlikely business
In 2017, Orakpo, Griffin, and their friend Bryan Hynson were trying to figure out an entrepreneurial endeavor for the three to embark on. They went to one of their favorite spots: Gigi’s Cupcakes in Nashville, Tennessee. They then decided to bring a Gigi’s franchise to Austin, Texas — the same place where the three had attended college at the University of Texas.
One of the challenges Orakpo faces on a daily basis? Toning down his football player side and tapping into the side of him that makes and sells cupcakes.
“I’m so aggressive at times that you have to tone that down when you’re dealing with everyday people and customers. It’s a different way of life…I have to tone that Rak down. I’ve been more Brian these days.”
According to Griffin, the major challenge is on the business side:
“It was a different side of a world that me and Brian Orakpo didn’t know anything about. We can talk football all day. But we had to learn about business…Learning how to start up a LLC to getting someone who is going to be working with your account to financing, just a lot of things we take for granted being professional athletes.”
The three have each found their strengths and taken the appropriate assignment. Griffin bakes, Orakpop decorates, and Hynson works the front of the house as the cashier. All three have put their all into this venture and are looking to launch more businesses together. It may seem odd for football players to be cupcake connoisseurs, but they’re clearly taking it seriously and thriving in this role.