Athletes and their commercial brands

International tennis superstar Maria Sharapova takes a photo with a fan during the autograph session where she signed on a packet of her newly launched candy, Sugarpova. Tennis superstar and five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova, here for
International tennis superstar Maria Sharapova takes a photo with a fan during the autograph session where she signed on a packet of her newly launched candy, Sugarpova. Tennis superstar and five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova, here for the WTA Finals, was in town early to promote her premium candy line, the cheekily-named Sugarpova. -- PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Tennis superstar and five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova, here for the WTA Finals, was in town early to promote her premium candy line, the cheekily-named Sugarpova.

But the Russian bombshell is not the only professional athlete to have her own line of products.

Here are 10 other athletes who have also ventured into the commercial world with their own brands.

1. David Beckham Bodywear by David Beckham (football)

-- PHOTO: AFP

David Beckham was already a fashion icon even during his playing days with Manchester United, England, and Real Madrid. His hairstyles were picked up and analysed by tabloids, and would often be copied by men all over the world. His fashion choices, ranging from wearing a hairband on the pitch to immaculate suits off it, were fashion statements in their own right. In July, the star teamed up with Swedish clothing company H & M to launch the David Beckham Bodywear. The line has trousers, hoodies, T-shirts, sweaters and figure-hugging underwear who aspire to look like Beckham. Oh, and of course Beckham, who is still very much in shape, models his own products.

2. Air Jordan by Michael Jordan (basketball)

-- PHOTO: AFP

Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, and was known for his all-round game, from his scoring and basketball intelligence to his athletic prowess, defensive lockdowns and sheer willpower to win. His fame transcended the sport, so much that Nike began designing Air Jordan shoes for the star way back in 1984. After a long wait, it was released to the public in 2001. The basketball shoes are still in vogue, long after Jordan' second retirement in 2003, and are being worn by current stars Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Blake Griffin.

3. Jack Nicklaus Apparel by Jack Nicklaus (golf)

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus may have retired in 2005 after 73 wins on the PGA tour, but that was far from his last involvement with the sport. Nicknamed the “Golder Bear”, Nicklaus started his own golf apparel company in 2013, the eponymous Jack Nicklaus Apparel, which reportedly generated more than US$250 million (S$318.7 million) in annual sales. In a saturated market dominated by big brands, Nicklaus brand offers high quality golf clothing combining heat technology and comfort for men and women, in designs inspired by Nicklaus. The logo? A golden bear on all fours, of course.

4. Signature Statement by Serena Williams (tennis)

-- PHOTO: AFP

Arguably the most prominent tennis player in the modern era, Serena Williams, who has 18 grand slam singles titles, often showed up on court in bold outfits. In 2002, she showed up at the US Open wearing a Lane Bryant black lycra catsuit. In 2004, she rocked a denim skirt matched with long black socks. So it was no surprise that the current World No. 1 started her own fashion line for women in 2009. When she is not busy creating history on the court, she is busy designing outfits in the aptly-called “Signature Statement”. Sold mainly on the United State’s Home Shopping Network, the line features tops, dresses, skirts, and accessories in bright colours.

5. EleVen by Venus Williams (tennis)

-- PHOTO: AFP

Not to be outdone by her younger sister Serena is Venus Williams, who also has her own fashion line. The current World no. 20 may not have as many titles as her sister, but her own brand, called EleVen, is more than a match for Serena’s “Signature Statement”. The brand specialises in athletic apparel, and aims to make women feel confident wearing sports-themed outfits. It has a wide variety of dresses, skirts, and tops, which features unique designs like python skins and floral patterns with outfits. The line even has tennis wear for men.

6. Mr Lenoir by Djibril Cisse (football)Before Lady Gaga there was former Liverpool and France star Djibril Cisse, a pacy and flamboyant striker known both for his goals and his outrageous outfits. For his wedding in 2005, he wore a tuxedo, suit and trilby in Liverpool red colours. He made his eccentric fashion sense available to fans when he started his own fashion line, Mr. Lenoir, which has a selection of T-shirts, hoodies, and accessories for men, women, and children. In true Cisse style, some of his products have vulgarities emblazoned on them. Fortunately those designs were not on the children apparel.

7. A’mare and Rachel Collection by A'mare Stoudemire (basketball)

-- PHOTO: AFP

A power forward with the New York Knicks famous for his explosive dunks, Amar’e Stoudemire showed he has a soft side too when he launched a women’s clothing line in a tie-up with renowned fashion designer Rachel Roy. The six-time NBA All-Star described his line as “courtside apparel for the fashion-forward female”. The limited edition collection feature designs sportswear and hoodies specifically handpicked by Stoudemire, and retails from US$45-US$450 (S$57.30-S$573).

8. Foreman GrillsBoxer George Foreman is an Olympic gold medallist and former world heavyweight champion. But many people also know him as the face behind Foreman Grills, an indoor, electronically-heated grill known for its angled surface, which allows the oil to drip out. The grills are often marketed with the slogan "knock out the fat". Foreman even rolled out his own cookbook to go with the grills. The 65-year-old was reported to have made around US$240 million from the endorsement, more than three times his earnings from boxing.

9. Haig Club (whiskey) by David Beckham Yes, it's Beckham again. One of the most marketable athletes in the world, he teamed up with British entrepreneur Simon Fuller and Diageo, the world's largest alcohol company, to launch Haig Club, a single-grain, no-age whiskey. Sold in British department store Selfridges, the whisky is a creation of the House of Haig, Scotland's oldest grain whisky dynasty.

10. LeBron James Collection by LeBron James

-- PHOTO: REUTERS

The best player to grace the NBA since Michael Jordan, LeBron James' fame and marketability is as far-reaching as his full-court outlet passes. Having just moved back to hometown team Cleveland Cavaliers, James was recently named by Forbes as sport's most valuable brand, displacing golfer Tiger Woods, who had held top spot for seven years. James was reported to have earned US$53 million off the court in the past year, a significant part of it coming from the LeBron James Collection, a line of sportswear and apparel with Nike. It has a wide variety of T-shirts, hoodies, caps, sneakers, and basketball shoes for men, women, and children.