It is very well known that many entertainers, including professional athletes, love premium cigars. Some entertainers and athletes take the step from just being an afficionado, to having their own brand. Recently we published a list of six entertainers (actors, chefs and musicians) who had or have their own brand but for that list, we excluded professional athletes. Today we publish the second part of a three-part list of professional athletes that created a cigar after their active career was finished. You can read part one and part two on Cigarinspector too.
If you know any other athletes with their own cigars, let us know in the comments and maybe we get enough names to write another part.
Raymond Anthony Lewis Jr. (born May 15, 1975) is a former American football linebacker who played his entire 17-year career for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Miami Hurricanes, where he earned All-America honors.
One of the greatest NFL linebackers of the 21st century has teamed up with one of the greatest cigar manufacturers of the same era to produce a cigar featuring a tobacco blend of legendary stature – aptly called Legends 52 by Ray Lewis. The enjoyment of a fine cigar had always been part of Ray Lewis’s preferred pastime off the field. And his passion for the leaf only broadened when he met Rocky at BURN by Rocky Patel back in 2013. The two struck it off right away (despite Rocky’s allegiance to the Green Bay Packers), and a winning cigar brand soon was born.
Lewis discovered cigars via his grandfather, a man he called Pop-Pop who was fond of saying “the day you figure out why I keep a cigar in my mouth is the day you figure out manhood.” After he died, Lewis dropped in on a friend, who offered him a Padrón. “I got to my last puff. Tears started rolling down my face,” he said in an interview in 2016. “I started reflecting on everything that I did with my grandfather.” The cigars became a regular ritual for Lewis. “Cigars renew me,” he says.
Ivan “Ike” Taylor (born May 5, 1980) is a former American football cornerback. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, and spent his entire 12-year career in Pittsburgh. He played college football at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
After his career, Taylor worked with Howard G cigars for the 1OFAHKINE. This is a cigar exclusively made for Pittsburgh Steeler 2x Super Bowl Champion, Ike Taylor. It only comes in one size, 6¼x54 and is a cigar made with Nicaraguan tobacco and tobacco from Pennsylvania, which is fitting as Taylor played all of his career in that state with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Initially the cigar was designed for Taylor’s personal consumption and not for a commercial release.
Martin Pierre Brodeur is a Canadian–American former professional ice hockey goaltender and current team executive. He played 22 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), 21 of them for the New Jersey Devils, with whom he won three Stanley Cup championships and five Eastern Conference championships in 17 postseason campaigns. He also won two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games, as well as several other medals with Team Canada in other international competitions.
After backstopping the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup in 1995, Brodeur fired up a cigar in celebration, and from that victory smoke a cigar lover was born. “It’s the mark of a true champion,” says Brodeur, who once joked that his sweaty goalie equipment would be ideal for humidifying his favorite cigars. Nowadays Brodeur works with Bellhop Cigars for the Martin Brodeur cigars.
Walter Robert Briggs (born August 6, 1965) is a former American football quarterback who played for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Montclair State University.
After his career he went into cigars and founded WB brands. If that rings a bell, WB brands was the brand working with Dennis Rodman for the Rodman cigars. The WB Brands website is offline, so we don’t know what happened to the cigars or if they are still available, but Walter Briggs made the list as he has (or had) his own brand and was a professional athlete.
Chad Ochocinco Johnson (born Chad Javon Johnson; January 9, 1978), known from 2008 to 2012 as Chad Ochocinco, is an American former professional football player who was a wide receiver. He played college football for Santa Monica College and Oregon State University, and played 11 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots. He was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, and played for the Bengals for 10 seasons. Ochocinco, which means “eight five” in Spanish, was also his number.
Chad’s passion for cigars inspired him to create his own collection — known to the world as Eighty5 Cigars. Chad fully immersed himself into the production of Eighty5 Cigars, which captures his engaging personality while providing a one-of-a-kind smoking experience. He also traveled overseas to source tobacco, curate blends, and partner with master rollers to ensure that every detail within his cigars are a representation of premium quality and rich tradition.