Kalen Thornton has always been able to forge a unique path for himself. After achieving Academic All-Big 12 student-athlete honors and earning a BBA from UT in 2003, Thorton joined the NFL in 2004 as a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys.
Thornton had played sports as a kid, and his father is Bruce Thornton, former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman. By joining the NFL, he managed to achieve the success he had worked for.
Thornton knew that an existing knee injury would prevent him from having a long career in the NFL. However, he had another plan. After he left the NFL, he was able to use his BBA to transition into a career at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Later, he earned an MBA at Stanford. He hoped his new career would enable him to connect with other athletes — people he says are “aspiring to be the best versions of themselves.”
Anyone would say that he succeeded. Thornton is now the global brand senior director of Nike skateboarding, and his work has allowed him to reach out to athletes with services like Nike FuelBand and Nike+ Run Club.
Thornton says that athletics “have so much power…that’s unrealized.” However, there’s no doubt that, with Thornton’s work, that power won’t remain hidden for long.