NFL linebacker retires to become Pokemon TCG dealer and gets rich

Chris Studley
Former NFL player Blake Martinez

One former NFL player has made millions from selling Pokemon TCG cards, just months after he hung up the cleats.

One might not think of football players as Pokemon fans, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just ask Jamaal Williams, who was all too happy to disclose his favorite Pokemon type a few months ago.

Former NFL linebacker Blake Martinez grew up a Pokemon fan and rekindled his love for the trading cards a few years ago.

Fast forward to 2023, and Martinez has turned his love for Pokemon into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.

Former NFL player Blake Martinez

Former NFL player made millions from Pokemon TCG

The Athletic recently published a feature on former Green Bay Packers and New York Giants Blake Martinez, who abruptly retired last year but is now the owner of his own trading card company.

Martinez, who retired from the NFL at the age of 28 in 2022 after eight seasons, started a trading card business called Blake’s Breaks in July of last year. The former Packer collected Pokemon cards as a kid and re-discovered his love for the TCG during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thus far, he’s made a hefty sum of money in his new venture, which includes card sales and streams where he opens Pokemon TCG boxes, as well as Yu-Gi-Oh! and sports trading card sets.

He told The Athletic that he made over $11M selling Pokemon cards, just months after he told CNBC that his business earned him over $6M in just eight months. Martinez detailed some of his most notable sales, as one Pokemon Illustrator card he put up on auction went for $672,000, while another netted the former NFL player $570,000.

While Martinez did say he loved playing football, he does enjoy the fact that he’s now built something that has long-term sustainability and lets him continue “running his own team.”

This isn’t the only notable story in the Pokemon TCG as of late. The Pokemon Company recently revealed several cards that will be in the new Obsidian Flames set, including a Charizard that blew up social media.

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