Athletes Leaving the Field Are Joining LinkedIn


In college, Josh Martin struggled to answer a question that stumps an extreme quantity of faculty college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college college faculty college students: What’s subsequent?

Martin carried out soccer for Columbia University from 2009 to 2012 nonetheless wasn’t anticipating his occupation to incorporate tackles and sacks. He majored in anthropology and regarded accredited picks college, nonetheless a student-athlete adviser on the spot him he didn’t have the grades to get acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable associated associated associated associated associated associated associated acceptable associated associated associated associated associated acceptable associated acceptable associated right acceptable associated right acceptable associated right acceptable acceptable right correct proper right into a chief program.

“I wasn’t quite sure what I would do after school,” Martin acknowledged. “I didn’t really have any career goals. That was an issue for me in college. I didn’t have that sense of purpose.”

The adviser truly useful that Martin and his teammates be part of LinkedIn to begin out out out out out out out out out out out out out networking. So he joined, using his soccer headshot as a profile picture. However, earlier to he wished to enter the rat race, the N.F.L. usually usually usually usually usually often usually often sometimes usually referred to as with a job current. In 2013, the Kansas City Chiefs employed Martin as an undrafted free agent. Since then, he’s moreover been employed as a linebacker by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.

Over the years, Martin usually returned to LinkedIn to make connections and pursue enterprise ventures off the self-discipline, like endorsement presents. When the pandemic hit, pressing pause on educated sports activities actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions actions, there was immediately fairly additional time to ponder life after soccer. For occasion, Martin is joyful about collaborating with wealth administration firms to help fellow avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid gamers put collectively for his or her subsequent occupation.

“The goal for me is to build a community and use it as a resource for knowledge,” Martin acknowledged. “People want to be around athletes. So how can I use my platform?”

We’re now in an interval when jocks aspire to be additional than merely athletes. They have platforms and portfolios. They’re storytellers and patrons. Fans rely on to see avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid avid gamers sending petty tweets and posting footage of their latest matches on Instagram. Lately, though, additional athletes have turned to social media to hunt out what’s attainable open air of their day jobs.

LinkedIn was based mostly totally fully fully completely completely fully in 2002 as a spot the place anyone might submit digital resumes, be part of with professionals and apply for work. Today, athletes can publish articles and flicks acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable associated associated associated associated associated associated associated acceptable associated associated associated associated associated acceptable associated acceptable associated right acceptable associated right acceptable associated right acceptable acceptable right correct proper right into a curated feed and ship direct messages to their connections.

Like all social networks, LinkedIn, which has grown to 700 million members, has struggled to deal with up up racism and censorship on its platform. But given the buttoned-up nature of the site, there’s less worry about comments from internet trolls, salty fans and drunk uncles compared to Facebook or Twitter.

“Social media seems to have a negative connotation surrounding it,” said Tony Gonzalez, the Hall of Fame tight end who retired from the N.F.L. in 2013 after 17 seasons. “I found LinkedIn to be a place that has a lot of positivity about how people are growing in every industry.”

Gonzalez, an N.F.L. studio analyst on FOX, joined LinkedIn last year to promote his new podcast, “Wide Open.” He regularly posts video excerpts from the latest episode with guests ranging from Jessica Alba to Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“When joining LinkedIn, I wanted to share with others how I became successful,” Gonzalez said. “I also get to see what others are doing to succeed so I can learn from them.”

For modern athletes, success means something very different than it did to those who competed before the internet. Players don’t just want to play ball. They want to own businesses and become investors.

They also love a creative job title. A number of players list themselves as venture capitalists on LinkedIn. Some are entrepreneurs, others C.E.O.s. Former N.B.A. player Baron Davis is a “Master Connector” and “occasional DJ.” Renaissance man Shaquille O’Neal, in addition to being a business mogul, also gave himself the title “purveyor of fun.”

This is a far cry from players in the ’60s and ’70s who had to take second jobs in the off-season selling insurance to earn extra income.

Of course, with extra cash comes extra risk. History is riddled with cautionary tales of pro athletes who lost it all after getting taken advantage of and spending recklessly. In 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that roughly 60 percent of N.B.A. players went broke within five years of retirement, while four out of five N.F.L. players were in financial distress within two years of retirement.

“An N.B.A. career is very short,” said Pau Gasol, the six-time All-Star center who joined LinkedIn last year to highlight his philanthropy and volunteer work. “When you’re just thirty, you can be retired and then you have a whole life ahead of you, but you are not prepared to manage many aspects of your life.”

Professional athletes of all ages had to confront that reality earlier this year when it was unclear if their leagues would return because of Covid-19.

To prepare for uncertainty, players have put more emphasis on business education and financial empowerment over the last decade. The leagues now host seminars to help athletes manage their money. In 2017, Harvard Business School introduced a program called “Crossover Into Business,” which pairs pro athletes with two Harvard M.B.A. student mentors to “develop their business acumen.”

With in-person meetings discouraged for the moment, LinkedIn can be an especial lifeline.

For Gasol, who left medical school at the University of Barcelona as a teenager to turn pro, it’s a way to stay engaged off the court. “I haven’t really gotten a chance to get the education that I probably wanted earlier in my life,” he said. “As I’m moving towards a different part of my life, transitioning to different goals and challenges ahead, I think LinkedIn is the perfect network for me.”

And in the waning moments of a year when the roar of the crowd fell silent, the pro athletes on the platform are grateful to focus less on the present and more on what’s next.

“I’m not a superstar by any measure. It gives the middle-class players like myself an opportunity,” Martin said. “I think that’s really powerful.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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