Emmitt Smith, Real Estate Tycoon

Emmitt Smith, former running back for the NFL's Dallas Cowboy's and winner of "Dancing With the Stars," now has his sights set on becoming a real estate tycoon.

In a recent Fortune Magazine article, Smith, 37, describes his true post-career ambition. He tells Fortune's Roy S. Johnson that he has invested in the sector, buying and selling properties in and around Dallas and his hometown, Pensacola, Fla., since he was a rookie.

Last year Smith teamed with another Cowboy legend, Roger Staubach, the founder and CEO of Staubach Co., to form Smith/Cypress Partners LP, a real estate development enterprise with access to $50 million in capital. Smith/Cypress Partners LP specialize in transforming underutilized parcels in densely populated areas into commercially viable properties anchored by national retail giants.

In his first deal, Smith helped the firm sign Mervyn's, a California-based department store chain, to anchor a $45 million, 230,000-square-foot project in Phoenix.

Smith aims to duplicate Magic Johnson's entrepreneurial success, but on like Johnson who has restricting his projects to the inner city,  Smith is also targeting rural areas.

"I love what Magic's doing," Smith told Fortune Magazine. "He's inspired all athletes to pursue successful business careers. But I'm not confining myself to urban areas. If there are rural areas with economic potential, I'm right there."

Smith owns 51 percent of the joint venture with Cypress Equities, the retail development arm of Staubach's real estate services company.

"My job," he says, "is to work as hard as I can to maximize the gifts I've been blessed with, whether physical, mental or otherwise. I've worked hard to maximize my physical gifts - even on the dance floor. Now my focus is on maximizing my other gifts to the fullest possible extent."

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