Facemasks. Fumbles. Fullbacks. Frosting?

After ten years as a middle linebacker for the Washington Redskins and more recently the Tennessee Titans, Brian Orakpo has decided to call it a career; in a sense…

Orakpo is done with his football career, a very successful one at that.  In 10 years in the league, he was a four time pro-bowler with over 400 career tackles. He had an illustrious collegiate career as well, winning the awards for the best defensive end, lineman, and defensive player in the nation for his 2008 season at the University of Texas.  He has been endorsed by some of the biggest companies in their respective industries, Geico and Microsoft to name a few, and has an estimated net worth of just north of $12 million. To say that his first 32 years of life have been a success would be a complete and total understatement.  He could never work another day in his life and still have the means to support his wife of nine years and three children.

That being said, Brian Orakpo wants more.

In the immortal words of LeBron James, he’s more than an athlete.  Following in the footsteps of numerous professional athletes who have come before him, Orakpo is now looking to transfer his on field success to the business world.  

He’s taking a different route than most of his peers who have looked to make a similar move.  Magic Johnson transitioned to “classic” fields of business such as real estate and entertainment, more than doubling his net worth.  Michael Jordan has billionaire status largely due to his prowess in the world of fashion and sneakers. Athletes such as John Elway, Billy Beane, and Danny Ainge have found success later in life running multi billion dollar teams and organizations.  Orakpo, on the other hand, has his own unique passion. Brian Orakpo makes cupcakes.

Along with former Titans teammate Michael Griffin and college friend Bryan Hanson, Orakpo owns and operates a location of Gigi’s Cupcakes in the greater Austin, Texas area.  When asked about the work that he needs to put into running the shop, Orakpo said, “Training was pretty tough, I’m not going to lie to you. We literally had to learn everything, from baking each and every flavor, to baking each and every frosting, from working the front, dealing with customers, handling the cash register, everything.”  He went on to say that it was close to as demanding as the NFL.  

Furthermore, running a cupcake shop isn’t as simple as putting flour in an oven and spreading frosting on top.  There are real business decisions that go along with opening any branch of any franchise. Orakpo played a key role in these that, if made incorrectly, could have serious financial consequences that may be close to impossible to bounce back from.  One major example of this was choosing the location for the franchise. They eventually settled on Austin, but not until after careful deliberation. A large part of this was due to the fact that Orakpo was a former star in Austin, he has a strong presence and sense of respect in the area.  As a marketing tool, this reputation is incredibly valuable. Orakpo knew he could use his name as a tool to get the brand out there. Furthermore, when picking the area, they had to analyze the potential clientele and found that Austin would be an ideal product market fit.  Orakpo said, “The city is growing rapidly with students, young professionals, and families, which makes it an ideal spot for a dynamic cupcake chain.” Orakpo is growing as a businessman every day.

Brian Orakpo is more than an athlete.  He wants to pave his own path, and grow a life and career outside of football.  Athletes are more than just what we see on the field. More and more as time goes on, athletes have the ability to become business icons, and Brian Orakpo is just the beginning. 

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