Carl Banks cannot say when did he exactly divided to start to prepare for his career after NFL, but he knew he wanted to do something more besides slamming into the bodies of other players. This two-time Super Bowl champ played NFL games for the New York Giants from 1984 to 1992, after which he retired in 1995. In the post-Giants period, he played as a linebacker for the Redskins and the Cleveland Browns, but then realized it is time to call it quits, being that he had other plans. The native of Flint in Michigan was not a stranger to hard work, having been employed as a gravedigger in high school. With intelligence and maturity that were beyond his humble years, Banks started looking for any marketable stills early on.


In 1985, he became a brand ambassador for Starter, a sports line of clothing and immediately fell in love with the job. There, he began learning about the way culture, sports, and fashion work together, making him a very famous face during the 1980’s. Back then, everyone from regular kids to superstar rappers wore Starter jackets. This left Banks completely mesmerized by the merger of sports and culture, in which a single product could be this popular and widespread. He even cites a moment when he saw the famous mafia boss John Gotti wearing a jacket that was branded with Oakland Raiders logo. Banks quickly realized he wanted to become like David Beckerman, the founder of Starter, even though he was still playing for the Giants. He kept this dream even though Starter eventually faded in the 1990’s and ended up filing for bankruptcy at the end of the decade.


But, in 2013, Banks had a chance to revive the brand using limited-edition series. Instead of trying to come head-to-head with companies like Under Armor or Nike, Banks focused on that custom and vintage feel the brand has. These included designs based on films like Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop, and Major League, leading to a steady stream of success for the ex-linebacker. At the same time, a part of him never left the NFL which is why he is still involved with his previous team working as an analyst for the team’s radio broadcasts, but also on WFAN and Sirius NFL Radio. But this does not make the Giants or the modern NFL immune to his criticism, even though he is well aware of the possibility of his sounding like a grumpy old man.


He respects the physical abilities of the new generations but underlines that the skill level has not been synchronized with the brute force physical training. In particular, Banks believes that 1980’s offensive tackle plays could bring down even the most famous current running backs or quarterbacks. However, he praises players like Tom Brady, seeing them as versatile and tough both mentally and physically. This would allow them to play in the 1980’s as easily as they do now.


In any case, Carl Banks likes to talk about NFL games, but his mind is rooted in his radio gigs and his Starter project. This is why he does not really miss the game, especially thanks to his two Super Bowl rings. Yet, because of his smart moves and hard-working personality, he managed to have all of his loves in his life, merging broadcasts, fashion and appreciation for the Giants into a single package. With this ultimate Plan B after his career in the NFL ended, Banks showed that players really can have it all, even if they dug ditches as kids. For his, life is good and no one can deny the same fact.