Playing a professional sport is extremely demanding — no one can handle it forever. And TV networks only need so many commentators. So what do all those guys who don’t end up on ESPN or on the sidelines as a coach do? Here’s a list of five local athletes who did complete career 180s.
5) Basketball Hall-of-Famer Dave Bing was born in D.C. and also played for the Washington Bullets in the mid-1970s.
He followed up a 12-year NBA career by building a $60 million-per-year steel business in Detroit from almost nothing and served as the city’s Mayor from May 2009 to December 2013.
4) Aaron Maybin was a legend at his Ellicott City, Maryland high school. He had a lot of eyes on him after his breakout season at Penn State in 2008 and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills as the 11th overall pick in 2009. He had a disappointing couple of seasons, and was waived by the Bills in 2011. He played for the Jets, the Bengals and the Toronto Argonauts before finally retiring for good in May.
But Maybin is now exploring another passion that he says he developed to get through hard times during his childhood — painting.
3) Heath Shuler was picked up by the Redskins in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft, but his short career as a quarterback was highly disappointing. He was the third overall pick in ’94 but was benched by his third year with the team and traded to the New Orleans Saints in 1997. He suffered a serious foot injury that season, and underwent two surgeries. He then signed with the Oakland Raiders, where he re-injured his foot in training camp and retired in 1998.
After leaving the field for good, Shuler went back to college, started a real estate firm and, finally, returned to D.C. in 2007 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina.
2) If you weren’t a Washington Bullets fan in the mid-to-late 1990s, Gheorghe Muresan may actually be better known to you as Max from the Billy Crystal movie, “My Giant.” He has also acted in commercials and was featured in an Eminem music video. The 7-foot-7 Romanian was selected by the Bullets in the 1993 draft and retired from the NBA with the New Jersey Nets in 2000.
Muresan still lives in the D.C. area and leads basketball programs for kids.
1) Adrian Dantley played basketball at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, before going on to make a name for himself at Notre Dame.
He was the leading scorer on the 1976 U.S. Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal in Montreal. He was the sixth overall NBA draft pick that same year and had a 15-year career during which he played for the Buffalo Braves, the Indiana Pacers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Utah Jazz, the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks and the Milwaukee Bucks. After retiring, he was a coach for the Denver Nuggets. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
As recently as last year, he was working as a school crossing guard in Silver Spring.