Most people think of professional athletes as finely tuned machines. And for the most part, it’s true. They traditionally follow the strictest of training regimes and regulate everything they put into their bodies. But this isn’t always true. In fact, many of them are massive party animals who just want to have a good time.
Of course, it’s all about balance. Some are able to maintain spectacular professional careers alongside their love for the nightlife. But many go too far and substance abuse overcomes them. There’s quite a bit of alcohol and cocaine on this list. It’s all fun and games until an athlete can’t stop.
So today, we’re going to take a look at 30 professional athletes who were huge party animals. Check out the list below via Neds.com.
30. Usain Bolt
The legendary Olympic speedster is a notorious party animal. Bolt has eight Olympic gold medals but is also allegedly the neighbor from hell because of his love for the nightlife. The Jamaican constantly hosts massive events, including a controversial birthday party during the global health crisis. But Bolt never allows anything to stop him from having the time of his life.
After his final race in the London Olympics, Bolt ran up a massive bar tab worth thousands of dollars. He is regularly seen with his arms around beautiful women in nightclubs and at pool parties. However, he earned his success so nobody begrudges him for enjoying the fruits of his labors. Allegedly Jamaican police turn a blind eye to his antics because he is a national icon.
The most successful Olympian of all-time, Phelps is a United States icon. His 18 gold medals are a world record and he was a consummate professional throughout his swimming career. Apart from the time he lost several sponsors after pictures emerged of him smoking a bong, of course. That was the first hint that Phelps likes to embrace his dark side sometimes but it’s not the only time.
After his retirement, Phelps hosted a massive party in Las Vegas, Nevada, where hundreds of people were in attendance. These included friends, family, as well as a host of celebrities. There was a giant pool, lots of expensive alcohol, and dozens of bikini-clad women. Phelps pulled out all of the stops. Meanwhile, he allegedly won $100,000 playing blackjack that night.
Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. McIlroy is one of the best golfers in the world and is also a soft-spoken star. Nobody expects him to be one of the sport’s biggest party animals, yet he definitely is. The Northern Irishman is a four-time Major champion and enjoys the benefit of his fame. After winning the Ryder Cup in 2014, McIlroy and several of his European teammates attended the Team USA afterparty.
Footage emerged of McIlroy shirtless and wearing a kilt and a pink wig while extremely drunk. Later, he claimed to have no memory of the night. Meanwhile, he issued a strict no cellphones rule for his wedding party at Ashford in Ireland. McIlroy definitely knows how to enjoy himself but he hasn’t allowed it to influence his career in a negative way, showing how balance is so important for professional athletes.
Thompson is a key player for the Golden State Warriors and no stranger to a celebrity party. His father is Mychal Thompson, who exposed him to all kinds of craziness as a youngster. As a result, Thompson knows how to enjoy himself. College police once arrested him for smoking marijuana on campus. The young man enjoys drinking and smoking pot, especially when he has a bevy of beautiful women around him.
The three-time NBA champion is constantly surrounded by the most stunning models in California. Furthermore, his pool parties are infamous. In 2015, after the Warriors won the NBA Championship, footage emerged of Thompson twerking underwater with two women. Then, he went to another club and drank Moet like a fish while two women became intimate beside him.
As one of the richest athletes on the planet, Mayweather enjoys the good life. ‘Money’ is no stranger to a party. The legendary, undefeated boxer even owns his own strip club, Girl Collection, in Las Vegas. The City of Sin is Mayweather’s main base and he regularly tears it up on the Strip. But he also owns a private jet so it’s not unusual to see his party across the United States.
Mayweather once paid a $50,000 tab in Miami, Florida. That’s more than most Americans earn in a whole year, but ‘Money’ is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This probably just felt like a drop in the ocean to him. He is definitely a controversial figure and not everybody likes him, but there is no doubt that he knows how to enjoy himself. No wonder his entourage is devoted to him.
You have to love Gronk. First of all, he’s one of the most successful athletes in the history of the NFL. He’s also a massive party animal. However, there are never any bad stories. Instead, the Tampa Bay tight end produces moments of pure joy and lives his best life. His personality is legendary.
Gronkowski is the type of guy to run up a $100,000 bar tab with his friends. Furthermore, don’t expect him to keep his shirt on for very long. In 2020, he hosted a Super Bowl beach party. This ticketed event included an exclusive VIP package where you could ride on NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal’s shoulders. Yes, you read that correctly. However, Gronkowski isn’t a crazy spender and lives off sponsorships rather than his NFL income.
Boggs says that he once consumed 107 beers on a single flight. In short, we don’t really need to say anything else about him because that sums his character up perfectly. The third baseman spent most of his 18-year career with the Boston Red Sox, where he became a fan favorite. He was also larger than life on and off the field. But after consuming so many beers, he must have had more alcohol than blood in his body.
Former relief pitcher Jeff Nelson confirmed that this was not an isolated incident. Boggs regularly guzzled between 50 and 60 beers on cross-country trips. Somehow he still performed at an elite level despite his love of beer. He made Babe Ruth look like a teetotaler. However, Boggs was a 12-time All-Star and became a Hall of Famer so it didn’t affect his abilities.
Football quarterback-turned social justice warrior Kaepernick might not jump in your mind immediately when you think of party animals. But he definitely has a fondness for a night out. Or an entire vacation devoted to partying. In 2013, the Daily Enquirer released pictures of him partying on a party cruise ship off Mexico. Meanwhile, police investigated an incident involving a woman in his Miami hotel back in 2014.
She alleged that she had no memory of how she got there, but in the end, didn’t press charges. Furthermore, since going down his social justice route, Kaepernick has enjoyed hob-nobbing with Hollywood’s finest. It turns out that if you can make it appear that the NFL persecutes you then you can make a lot of money. Kaepernick regularly makes an appearance at many exclusive events now.
In 2009, Woods was one of the most clean-cut athletes in the world of sport. However, this changed almost overnight. After crashing his car in Florida, paramedics discovered the legendary golfer snoring on the road without shoes or socks. Then, two days later, the news of his affairs emerged. More than a dozen women came forward and alleged affairs with the 15-time major winner.
These women included porn stars, lingerie models, and escorts, as well as the odd Perkins waitress here and there. Furthermore, Woods spent a lot of time at craps tables in Las Vegas. Then he had a notorious DUI incident that produced a ridiculous mugshot. A judge sentenced him to 50 hours of community service. Woods liked to party a lot but he was once very good at hiding this from the public.
Manchester City fullback Walker is one of England’s most successful soccer players. But the World Cup star also has a wild side. In short, he’s not very good at following rules – at least not if they get in the way of his party life. We saw this in 2020 when the Premier League ordered players to stay at home because of the global health crisis. However, he ignored regulations and decided to host a party.
But it wasn’t just an ordinary party. This was a full-on sex party with hired prostitutes. If you’re going to breach regulations, you might as well go the full way. Needless to say, this didn’t endear Walker to anybody because he faced a lot of criticism in the media and online. Despite this, you also almost have to admire him for his sheer audacity. Or maybe not.
One thing that Smith can tick off of his bucket list is that he partied too hard for Rihanna. She criticized him in 2013 for his poor run of form in the playoffs which she attributed to his lifestyle. Considering the fact that the pair were lovers and used to party together, she was definitely in a position to know. To sum up, NBA stars know how to party, but Smith takes it to the next level.
However, despite his love for the nightlife, Smith has had a good career. A two-time NBA champion with the Cavaliers and the Lakers, he’s got more than most players can dream of. The worst section of his career was during his time with the New York Knicks. Smith blamed the endless options of the Big Apple’s nightlife. However, he rebounded from this and has had a bit-part role with the Lakers so far.
It’s easy to forget that Daly genuinely had a lot of talent as his successes in the early 1990s proved. But the PGA golfer went off the rails as he engaged in a party lifestyle that took an incredible amount of dedication. In short, alcohol, and cigarettes fuel him in his unique approach to athletic performance. Furthermore, he has lost up to $60 million gambling. Now that’s a serious commitment.
Police once discovered Daly passed out next to a Hooters. He had also urinated on himself. This is the type of party animal Daly is. Some people dip into this kind of lifestyle, but Daly fully embraced it. However, in all seriousness, it has damaged his career. In 1997, he even withdrew from the second round of the U.S. Open because he suffered shakes from alcohol withdrawal.
Hailing from Liverpool in the UK, UFC fighter Till loves to party. The middleweight title contender enjoys a night out on the town but has found himself in some precarious situations. Most dramatically, he almost died during a stabbing incident in 2012. The blade was just a millimeter from his aorta. Because of this, Till’s coach pleaded with him to move to Brazil to train and avoid outside-the-cage distraction.
Then, in 2019, Till made headlines after Spanish police arrested him and his friends in the Canary Islands. In sum, they drunkenly decided to trash their hotel and hijack a taxi. Needless to say, this didn’t go down well with the driver of the car and he promptly called the police. The UFC fighter spent the night in jail, but got a great story out of it, so all’s well that ends well.
The Cleveland Browns thought that they had drafted a generational talent in Manziel. The former Texas A&M star arrived with a massive reputation after winning the Heisman Trophy and the Davy O’Brien Award. However, he was also notorious for partying in College Station. But coaches believed that he would mature quickly once he reached the promised land of the NFL. How wrong they were.
Manziel’s career was stunningly short because he had no commitment. Instead, he snuck to Vegas where he sported a blonde wig to disguise himself from fans and turned up drunk to practice. And he caused $20,000 in damages to a house in LA before heading off to Coachella for three days. Alcohol also fueled arguments with his girlfriends. He once even forced one into the trunk of his car and threatened to kill her.
Everybody loves to party in the beginning but sometimes it spirals out of control. We already talked about how Gronk maintains the perfect balance between work and fun. But Strawberry was the exact opposite as the toxic combination of alcohol and drugs wrecked his career. To sum up, Strawberry had an addictive personality that even included sex. He even slept with women between innings during baseball games.
In 1999, he infamously solicited a female police officer posing as a prostitute. Meanwhile, to say he had a cocaine problem was an understatement. More snow went up his nose than an Alaskan husky. However, he finally realized that he had a problem – we’re not sure what gave it away. He transformed his life and became a pastor and counsels people about addiction.
Incognito was miles from the best-behaved player in the NFL with eye-gouging, nasty tackles, and generally dirty antics. But forget about on the field for the moment and think about what happened off of it. There’s no doubt that the Arizona native enjoyed a party but in the most hardcore party way possible. He had a penchant for call girls, as over 1000 messages between him and Jonathan Martin proved.
Meanwhile, he once went on a shirtless, drunken rampage that made its way onto TMZ. Police filed a report about his Ferrari because somebody had smashed it with a baseball bat. Of course, it emerged that Incognito was responsible for brutalizing his own car. However, he is capable of being nice. When the Bills released him, he went into a bar and bought everybody shots of tequila.
On his day, Johnson is one of the best golfers in the world. Yet Johnson has also struggled with substance abuse in the past. Between 2009 and 2014, he failed three drug tests. The first was for marijuana, but the second two were for cocaine. The latter drug in particular has dogged Johnson’s career and severely damaged his reputation. However, he rebounded to become the reigning World Number One in 2020.
Johnson’s love for a good party was notorious in high-level golf circles but infuriated NHL legend Wayne Gretzky. Why should Johnson care what Gretzky thinks? It was because he was dating the hockey icon’s daughter. Gretzky warned him that he would do his best to block his daughter’s relationship with him if he didn’t sober up. In sum, Johnson listened and now the couple has two children together.
Kane is a much more mature player now and is even one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ captains. However, this wasn’t always the case for the Art Ross Trophy winner. When he was a younger athlete, he was definitely one of the wildest figures in a sport full of players who love to party. However, Kane couldn’t avoid trouble. But the most notorious incident involved a taxi driver who expected a tip.
Kane handed the driver $15 dollars and expected $1.20 in change. When the driver didn’t hand back any change, Kane hit him in the face. Then there was the time he went to the University of Wisconsin and drunkenly partied to the delight of showbiz media all over America. Overall, the resulting photos were very embarrassing but it’s all in the past now.
Most people think of Barkley’s time with the Phoenix Suns when they look back on his career. The Alabama native was a phenomenal player. An 11-time All-Star, he was also the 1993 NBA MVP award. But Barkley also loved to party and have fun. Renowned for his cheesy grin, you can just tell by looking at him that this man is full of mischief. But in 2008, he ramped it up to the next level.
A police officer stopped Barkley on suspicion of committing a DUI offense. Then the intoxicated Barkley explained how the girl he was with was about to give him oral sex. He claimed that she had given him the best he ever had the week before. The officer brought him to the police station. Barkley promised one of the precinct employees that if he could go he would get his name tattooed on his backside.
Gooden was a hero for the New York Mets but had countless demons off the field. The four-time All-Star also won the World Series three times. But substance abuse wrecked his later career. He even missed the 1986 victory parade because he was taking drugs with his dealer. Then over the next few years, he proceeded to go off the rails and consumed more and more cocaine.
The failed drug tests piled up and suspensions followed. Finally, his wife even discovered him holding a gun to his head in their bedroom. Unfortunately, Gooden hasn’t been able to shake his addiction. In 2019 police arrested him again after discovering bags of cocaine in his car. Gooden was incredibly talented but is unable to shake his coke habit. It’s one of the most tragic stories on this list.
Ovechkin is probably the biggest party animal in hockey. The Russian loves any excuse to open a beer. When the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018 for the first time, Ovechkin led by example and kicked the party off. It turned into a carnival of chaos as the player and his teammates dived into fountains on the waterfront. After a wild day, he even ended up slow-dancing with his mother.
The Russian took the Stanley Cup on a weekend bender around the city because he wanted to share it with the people. There’s something very wholesome about Ovechkin’s love of a good time. He had his 35th birthday bash in 2020 and once more produced the goods. There were smoke machines and pyrotechnics at the venue in his native Russia, as well as a live concert.
When somebody pays you to party with Pablo Escobar in prison, it says a lot about the type of person that you are. Maradona is a two-time World Cup winner, amongst many other accolades. But the Argentinian’s later life is notable for his love of alcohol, cocaine, and women. In sum, his many vices have even brought him to the brink of death because he is unable to stop.
From being the greatest soccer player on the planet to a full-blown cokehead, Maradona is a wild man. In 2013, the then-52-year-old partied until the early hours in a Buenos Aires nightclub. Then he threatened them with permanent closure if they stopped playing music. Meanwhile, he has also allegedly suffered heart attacks related to his drug habit. It’s one wild party after another for Maradona.
In his autobiography, Tyson admitted that he loved cocaine. The iconic heavyweight champion snorted it before fights and even used a fake penis to avoid drug test detections. Furthermore, he partied insanely hard. He admits to paying for orgies and spending outrageous sums of money on women. He even bought them cars. In sum, Tyson was out of control.
Meanwhile, his 30th birthday saw everybody from Oprah Winfrey to Donald Trump attend. He also reserved 19 rooms in his house for different girls that he wanted to sleep with. Tyson packed on the pounds as life went on as he allowed himself to slip out of control. However, he reevaluated his life and now spends his days smoking marijuana and training instead.
Former Detroit Piston and Chicago Bull Rodman is one of the most colorful characters ever to play in the NBA. His love for parties was truly the stuff of legend because they were neverending. Furthermore, he dated the likes of Carmen Electra and Madonna to seal a bad boy image. Rodman also dyed his hair in different ways and wore many piercings on his face.
One time, the Bulls gave him special dispensation to go to Las Vegas for 48 hours. Michael Jordan went to look for him because he never came back. Then the team organized a special conditioning camp to get Rodman back into shape. However, the eccentric star proceeded to beat the rest of the team in the toughest cardio drill. When he retired, Rodman became good friends with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Ronaldo inspired Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002 but there is still a sense of underachievement around his career. He suffered a series of devastating injuries that robbed him of his pace and power as time went on. But his love for nightlife also affected his professionalism. Overall, he was a major party animal and would even bring busloads of girls to his house during his days in Madrid.
Over the years, he packed on the pounds and gained the unfortunate nickname ‘Fat Ronaldo.’ This differentiated from Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who ironically possesses one of the greatest physiques in sport. Furthermore, he used to drink all night and come to training the next day without having slept and still hungover. Life is too short not to enjoy it, right?
Former Heisman Trophy winner Leinart never lived up to the high expectations that surrounded him when he came out of college. The Arizona Cardinals drafted him in 2006 and expected him to emerge as a franchise quarterback. However, he failed to be anything more than a back-up. When he finally got the opportunity to be a starter, he blew it. But the NFL bust was good at one thing: partying.
Leinart spent his life in a drunken haze. Photos constantly emerged of him in hot tubs with numerous attractive young women. Obviously, this sounds awesome but it’s not exactly conducive to the lifestyle of an elite athlete. The former USC star loved beer pong more than football and his NFL career ended at the age of 28. It was such a waste of talent, but the party life took over.
Many regard Jones as the greatest UFC fighter of all-time. The former four-time light-heavyweight champion has never lost a title fight. Despite his successes inside the cage, he has been unable to avoid controversies outside of it. A lot of this stems from the fact that he became the youngest champion ever. In short, this helped him discover the joys of money and cocaine.
His list of party-related incidents is endless. Most infamously, in 2015, he drunkenly crashed into a pregnant woman’s car and fled the scene. Then a strip club waitress sued him for inappropriate conduct after he allegedly choked her and kissed her on the neck while she was working. Finally, in 2020, he drank tequila with homeless people and fired his gun into the air. Of course, police arrested him for all of these misdemeanors.
Brazilian World Cup icon Ronaldinho’s party animal reputation is legendary. His career began to decline from 2008 onwards as his love for nightlife took over. Barcelona shipped him to AC Milan where he partied hard for three years. Later he went back to his native Brazil where he actually demanded a ‘party’ clause in his contract with Flamengo. Begrudgingly, the club agreed to allow him to party two nights a week.
Meanwhile, when he moved to Mexico with Queretaro, his teammates claimed that he never trained on Mondays and always flew to Cancun to party after games. Finally, in 2019, Paraguayan police arrested him for trying to sneak into the country on a fake passport. They put him under house arrest for three months. But this still didn’t stop him from partying as he hosted models and South American celebrities. In sum, his commitment is inspiring.
Irish UFC superstar McGregor is infamous for his antics outside the cage. The MMA fighter’s love of a party has got him into trouble so many times. There was the time he flew more than 20 friends to New York by private jet to drunkenly storm the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. Another time police arrested him outside a Florida nightclub for breaking a man’s phone.
In 2019, he punched an older man because the latter didn’t want to drink McGregor’s whiskey. When the Notorious parties, he goes hard. In 2017 he went on a three-day binge in Liverpool, as he rocked from house party to house party. This resulted in a woman claiming that he was the father of her child. To sum up, it’s never boring when the former two-weight champion is around.
A self-confessed manic depressive, Fury had one of the biggest meltdowns in sports history after beating Wladimir Klitschko. ‘The Gypsy King’ began binge-drinking and consumed cocaine by the bagful in 2016. Furthermore, his weight ballooned up from 16 stone close to 30 stone. This came from his hard-drinking, party animal lifestyle, where he lived off of kebabs and deteriorated to a shell of himself.
However, Fury put all of this behind him in 2018. Two years after his breakdown, the UK fighter rebounded to fight Deontay Wilder in one of the most astonishing comebacks boxing has ever seen. The former unified champion added the WBC belt to his CV with the win. But Fury still loves a party atmosphere. He always sings after his fights and dresses flamboyantly to show off his personality.