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Willie Parker Talks About Life Being Tougher After the NFL, What He Misses Most and Giving Back

Willie Parker is a former NFL running back who won two Super Bowl Championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers and holds the title of the longest-rushing play in Super Bowl history. After playing six seasons in the league, Parker retired in 2012 but has remained busy with his community initiatives.

In 2020, Parker founded 39 Legends Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide assistance, tools and inspiration to underprivileged children in the community. Parker is continuing his entrepreneurial efforts with the launch of the lifestyle brand, Moguls + Legends, which is co-founded by Dr. Sheria Rowe.

We caught up with the former NFLer turned entrepreneur to discuss his latest venture, life after the NFL and more.

What does life look like after almost a decade of retiring from the NFL?

Life for Willie Parker... I'm doing a great job at navigating around helping folks out and trying to incorporate what I've done on the field into everyday life. I think I'm finding out more ways to do that each and every day. I assembled a team that helped me in finding initiatives out here in this community that I live in and the younger generation.

Is life tougher after playing in the league?

A lot of people wouldn't even imagine how tough it is. Just to get off an itinerary, a program. An everyday program. As an athlete, you look at it as your life. They [non-athletes] don't understand that language, but it's kind of tougher. Just not being that icon. Not being that star. Not being with a group of fellas chasing that one goal and now you're doing something totally different. Every day you have to create your own schedule. There's not a team or organization creating a schedule for you. So it's tough but it's fulfilling because it's a challenge.

What do you miss most about playing?

I miss more of the brotherhood. Being with a group of guys from different walks of life and coming together and joining forces and pretty much becoming a family.

What is Moguls + Legends?

Sheria [Rowe] had her Moguls and Legends going and personally, I had my brand going coming from football. So we just joined forces and we are pretty much chasing the same goal of helping individuals.

What does Mogul Mentality mean?

Having a business mind. Whatever it is that you have going on just trying to be the best at it. Taking your stuff and sharing it with the world. No matter what.

Tell us about your non-profit 39 Legends Foundation.

The non-profit was initially set up to go out and give back to our community. Then after we started giving back to the community, we came back and sat down and were like we should go even bigger. So one initiative that we have going on is with this organization in Durham. We took this project where we are going to help the organization and donate equipment this summer. We're gonna revamp their football fields and do all this stuff for the younger crowd.

You will already leave a big legacy after winning two Super Bowl Championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Is there anything else you want to add to your legacy?

Just being a role model. Just being that model for my kids and being a good father and helping out wherever I can. If I can help out in the school systems... If I touch a younger kid and help them out. I just want to be that guy that can give positive encouragement. I just want to help just a few people just reach their dreams.

The debut of Moguls + Legends: The Experience event, curated by Willie and Sheria, will be held this Saturday, April 16 in Brooklyn, New York. The event aims to raise funds for various initiatives; Business Mogul Magazine's “Moguls Matter” programming and Willie's non-profit organization, 39 Legends Foundation community projects. The event will include dinner, live entertainment, signature cocktails, gift boxes for each guest, and the opportunity for guests to participate in a silent auction.

Get your tickets here.


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