All the money in the world sometimes just isn’t enough. Elite sports athletes are some of the highest-paid people on the planet. They earn millions upon millions from salaries and endorsements. When you make it to the top, you ‘should” be set for life. The crazy thing is that most athletic careers only last for a few years.
However, a lot of sports stars just don’t know how to manage their money. They make bad investments after taking advice from shady financial advisors and end up burning it all away. Some just can’t handle being rich and go crazy, living beyond their means with expensive cars, houses, and jewelry. Others have a lot of child support as well.
Let’s take a look at 30 super-rich athletes who lost it all. Their wild spending left them holding out their caps for coins. Some managed to turn their lives around again, but sadly, a lot did not. Enjoy the list below.
30. Mike Tyson
Let’s kick the list off with one of the most notorious figures in the history of sports. “Iron Mike” is instantly recognizable as the former heavyweight champion of the world. Rising to superstardom at a young age, Tyson knocked out his opponents left and right. However, one opponent he couldn’t beat was the bank.
‘Iron Mike’ had an insanely lavish lifestyle. We all know about his infamous purchases, including a pair of pet tigers and countless pigeons. That says all you need to know about the former boxing star, who went completely broke in 2003. However, he’s since got his life back on track and has a successful marijuana business.
The former England international goalkeeper went bankrupt as a result of poor investments and a lavish lifestyle. After a long and celebrated career at the top of the game, James moved to India where he became player-manager of the Kerala Blasters. In the meantime, the auctioneer was selling all of his belongings.
A remarkable inventory of items went up for sale including a petrol-operated chainsaw, a Walter Raleigh chopper, and a three-door Vauxhall Astra van. Hitco, the auctioneers, also sold 150 soccer shirts that James either wore or exchanged and over 1000 music records. That has to be demoralizing.
Holyfield is one of the greatest heavyweights boxers of all-time. Renowned for beating Mike Tyson, the former champion had an extremely successful and lucrative career. If you get to the top of boxing, you’re going to earn millions. Holyfield did, but he somehow managed to throw it all away thanks to child support issues.
He ended up in a downward spiral and things got worse. First of all, Holyfield had to sell his home for $7.5 million. However, he owed the bank twice that much and wound up destitute. Not only that, but he was in debt with the IRS as well, so things weren’t good for the champion. Unfortunately for Holyfield, it all played out in public.
Sapp is one of the most recognizable defensive tackles in NFL history. The Hall of Famer played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders, making the Pro Bowl seven times. Consequently, he made a fortune, as his career earnings totaled $82,185,056. That’s why people play football.
However, Sapp would end up bankrupt as a result of his ridiculously lavish lifestyle. He’d end up being worth just $826. The former NFL star had a number of ridiculous items, including a lion skin rug. Meanwhile, his tennis shoe collection was equally ludicrous. No wonder he lost it all.
Former Liverpool defender Riise won the Champion’s League with the club in 2005. That was definitely the high point of his soccer career. The Norway international can also lay claim to an extreme low after filing for bankruptcy. Renowned for the power of his left foot, that’s not what Riise would want to be remembered for.
Riise reportedly owed the banks £100,000. Don’t forget that he was on a weekly wage of £50,000. So how is that even possible? In short, his former agent Einar Baardsen totally mismanaged his money and left the red-haired icon bankrupt. An ignoble end to an excellent career.
Unquestionably, Maradona is one of the world’s greatest soccer players of all-time. The former Barcelona and Napoli player has so many iconic moments on the pitch that it’s difficult just to choose one. However, his life off the pitch is a much more chaotic affair. Maradona has struggled with his weight as a result of abusing alcohol and drugs.
He also has a long history of failing to pay his taxes. The Italian Tax Authority caught up to him and forced him to pay $54 million. This left the Argentinian penniless. However, he’s still living the high life as a result of his global fame. It could be worse.
The NFL is one of the most lucrative sporting leagues in the world. Fame and fortune await those who get to the top. The biggest struggle is then holding onto it. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, once you make a few bad investments, it will drain away like dirty bathwater. Just ask McAllister.
McAllister made tens of millions playing for the Saints. However, a series of poor investments left him financially ruined. Amongst the many assets he lost was a Nissan dealership in Jackson, Mississipi. Then, Whitney National bank sued him for $1.8 million. McAllister was barely able to scrape by.
One of three women on this list, Hamill was America’s golden girl back in the 1970s. The figure skater won gold at the 1978 Olympics and became one of the most iconic figures in the history of the sport. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there for the former superstar.
In 1991, Hammill filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Multiple failed ventures left the former figure skater broke. To sum up, it was a tragic story. She’d spend a fortune on battling depression, a custody battle for her daughter, and medical costs related to her breast cancer.
Henry has one of the most bizarre stories on this list. The former NFL running back decided to have a harem of women to father his children. We’re serious, he had nine kids by nine different mothers. Needless to say, this was an expensive hobby for him. All of that child support adds up, especially when you’re a rich athlete.
Subsequently, Henry squandered a small fortune on cars and jewelry. The Denver Broncos cut him after they got sick of his off-the-field problems. That further reduced his income. To rub salt into his wounds, Henry pays $170,000 in child support every year. Also, the DEA arrested him for cocaine trafficking.
Things started brightly for Daly when he first burst onto the scene as a young golfer. Sadly, he’s now more of a parody figure. While his colorful pants probably don’t help his image, Daly is also a foul-mouthed alcoholic permanently at odds with the establishment. Daly has many vices, all of which have consumed his cash.
Daly has admitted to losing a crazy amount of money gambling. Combined with his drinking, it’s no wonder why he’s broke today. Grossly, Daly claims to have lost more money than most people will ever earn. Also, he’s one of the twenty richest sports stars to go broke.
The German tennis star has led a colorful life. Becker is famous for his three Wimbledon victories. He was the Central African Republic’s attaché for sports, culture and humanitarian affairs to the European Union. Usually, when people are doing things a little crazy, they’re more prone to financial woes.
That’s exactly what happened with Becker. After he filed for bankruptcy, he saw his entire life go on sale. All of his tennis memorabilia and some incredibly expensive watches were up for grabs. Becker then tried to claim diplomatic immunity with a CAR passport that turned out to be fake. He paid every penny.
Sprewell got a 68-game suspension for choking coach PJ Carlesimo. That tells you a lot about his character. He then famously rejected a mega-contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves worth $21 million. Why? The reason he gave was that it wasn’t enough to feed his children.
That turned out to be a terrible mistake. In short, he believed that another team would get desperate and come looking for him. He never played in the NBA again and was ironically unable to pay his child support. Sprewell lost his house and his yacht. It was a disastrous turning point in his life.
In her prime, Jones was one of the world’s first female sports millionaires. A former world track-and-field athlete, Jones won three gold medal in Sydney, Australia. She definitely has a tarnished legacy after testing positive for steroids. Jones lost her medals in disgrace.
To make things worse, Jones went bankrupt in 2006. She sold off three properties, including a $2.5 million mansion. Later Jones would spend six months in prison in relation to a check counterfeiting scheme. It all ended badly for her.
Walker loved to spend money. Like many other NBA stars on this list, he blew a massive fortune. First of all, he had an intense love for cars. At the height of his obsession, he had two Bentleys, two Mercedes, a Range Rover, a Cadillac, and a Hummer. He didn’t get the memo that you can only drive one at a time.
As well as this, Walker was too generous with his earnings. He was supporting up to 70 friends and family members with regular allowances. It’s hard to imagine how you get into a situation like that. Finally, the Las Vegas police caught up with him after he wrote a series of bad checks to casinos.
How did star quarterback Young end up in such a bad position? He played for the Tennessee Titans and made his millions, but couldn’t hang onto it. According to financial adviser Ronnie Peoples, Young was spending more than he was making. That’s a sure way to end up begging with your cap in hand.
In short, Young recklessly blazed through his earnings. Despite getting a $26 million contract with the Titans, he spent it all frivolously. For example, he once bought a $176,000 Ferrari with no means of paying it. To sum up, he knew what he wanted and he had to have it.
One of the successful female US athletes of all time, you’d think that Swoopes would be able to live off of that for the rest of her life. However, that’s never the case. She claimed that she had appalling representatives and management. In short, she blamed them for her subsequent financial nightmare.
Swoopes is one of the biggest names ever to represent the WNBA but ended up totally broke. She wound up having to sell her Olympic medals and Naismith Trophy to ward off creditors sniffing around her door. NBA players tend to have terrible spending habits. It turns out that women are no exception.
Throughout his career, NFL receiver Owens earned about $80 million. By 2012 it was almost all gone. Despite the fact that NFL players earn an average of $1.9 million per year, 15% suffer bankruptcy. The main cause of this is when the athletes live beyond their means.
Another major reason is when you have poor financial advisors. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Owens explained that a series of risky purchases he didn’t understand made him suffer. He may be a Hall of Famer, but his career is also a warning to young players.
The NFL quarterback played for the Atlanta Falcons, the Philidelphia Eagles in addition to other teams. He earned almost $50 million across that period but squandered it all. Furthermore, he spent 548 days in prison in relation to a dog-fighting ring. However, Vick has managed to turn his life around.
Instead of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he instead chose Chapter 11. This means instead of liquifying the assets he chose to pay back what he owed. He managed to pay back 99 cents on the dollar, which happens in roughly one out of a hundred cases. Vick managed to get rid of $17.6 million worth of debt.
Another basketball star who went broke, Iverson has lived a crazy life on and off the court. He made an incredible $200 million over the course of his illustrious career through salaries and endorsements. However, Iverson was a mad man as his ‘practice’ rant showed. Also, he spent a few months in prison.
‘The Answer’ was supporting about 50 friends and family before he ended up with no money. Then, casinos in Atlantic City and Detroit banned him from their premises. Iverson managed to stay afloat thanks to an endorsement deal with Reebok.
Former New York Mets star Dykstra didn’t just file for bankruptcy. He also went to jail for grand theft auto. In short, Dykstra had a habit of making poor life choices. Some of his arrests include bank fraud, indecent exposure, drug use, and terroristic threats. The Mitchell report also claimed that he had used anabolic steroids throughout his career.
He filed for bankruptcy in 2009, owing more than $31 million with just $50,000 worth of assets. That is not a position you want to find yourself in. CelebrityNetWorth.com values Dykstra at -$25 million. We’re not sure if that’s accurate, but even so…ouch.
You’d think that $50 million would be enough to last you for the rest of your life, but no. Brunell made his fortune playing in the NFL but failed to hold onto it. After a series of financial misadventures, he ended up with just $5 million in his bank account and $25 million in debt. That’s not where you want to be.
Long story short, Brunell made some very bad choices in the business world. First of all, he bought a lot of Whataburger restaurants, but five out of nine went bust. Subsequently, Brunell had terrible luck in the real estate world. You really have to know what you’re doing with your money when you’re investing that much.
Sports Illustrated states that 60% of NBA players will file for bankruptcy five years after retirement. Anderson’s story epitomises this. After 14 years in the NBA, Anderson earned a fortune of about $63 million. That sounds awesome, right? However, his life turned out not to be all sunshine and roses.
Monthly child expenses for seven children from five women were a recipe for disaster. In short, these cost him $40,000 a month. That adds up very quickly. Meanwhile, Anderson had nothing to fall back on. However, he managed to complete his college degree and stabilized his life.
There’s nothing worse than a poor business deal. Former NHL player McCarty found this out to his detriment. The Detroit Red Wings player made some shocking choices that left him broke. He wound up filing for bankruptcy after losing over $15 million, more than the earnings he made in his professional career.
To make things worse, McCarty owed money to three casinos. He emphatically denied that he had a gambling addiction. To sum up, McCarty was broke and divorced at the same time. That’s a rarity for players still active on the field. Somehow, the hockey player managed to do it.
A word of advice: don’t file wrong tax reports with the IRS. In short, it’s just not going to end well for you. Somebody should have told Taylor because that’s exactly what he did. He was enjoying a great career in the NFL up until the point his finances imploded and his whole life melted down.
Taylor was notorious for his drug problem. As you might expect, this was something that would decimate his bank account. Meanwhile, he paid off a child prostitute instead of paying his child support payments. To sum it up, Taylor made a lot of very bad mistakes. Don’t live beyond your means.
It’s probably no real surprise that Clark ended up on poverty row. The former baseball slugger loved cars. He loved them so much that owned 18 luxury vehicles, including a $700,000 Ferrari. Meanwhile, he also had a penchant for luxury homes. With all of the tax he had to pay, he quickly began to run out of cash.
Clark’s spending was quite simply insane. He even sponsored his own drag-racing team. To make matters worse, he had a very messy and expensive divorce. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Somebody should have told Clark that.
Pittsburgh Penguins player Johnson has the worst parents in the world. The ice hockey star earned $18 million across his career. In 2011, he signed a seven-year, $30.5 million contract. Those are numbers that the ordinary person will never be able to comprehend. However, in the end, Johnson would lose it all.
First of all, he turned over the power of attorney to his parents. That was a massive mistake because the millions clearly went to their heads. They bought beach houses and highly-modified supercars without their son’s knowledge. However, Johnson chose not to sue his parents. That would have made Christmas dinner very awkward.
The former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion was famed for his excessively lavish lifestyle. Eubank came from an impoverished background. First of all, he was born in Jamaica before moving to the UK, where he grew up in tough surroundings. Life suddenly changed when he rose to the top.
The eccentric Eubank loved expensive clothes, cars, and the good life. You can’t blame him for that. However, he ended up being $1.7 million in debt. That’s not where you want to be. Fortunately, his finances are back on track today. Also, his son is in the midst of a successful boxing career.
Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali to become the heavyweight champion of the world. You’d think he could live off that for the rest of his life, but unfortunately not. In short, that’s not how the world works. Spinks earned $4.5 million across his career, but he’d end up losing all of it.
Less than twenty years after beating Ali, he’d be broke and homeless on the street. His crazy spending and drug habit took their toll on his pocket. His situation got so bad that he ended up working as a janitor at a YMCA in Columbus, Ohio. That’s quite the fall from grace.
At least Rodman can claim that he’s best friends with Kim Jong-Un. Nobody else on this list is in cahoots with a murderous dictator. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have done him much good Stateside. The former NBA star was famous for being incredibly flamboyant during his days with the Chicago Bulls.
Things haven’t worked out so well for him since retirement, though. Rodman wound up going broke and ended up owing a ridiculous $800,000 in child benefits. Secondly, he fell behind $50,000 in spousal payments. When you consider his ventures outside of basketball, including TV, ads, and endorsements, this is crazy.
Simpson is one of the most notorious figures in sports history. You’ve surely got to know his name from one of the biggest murder trials in modern history. Before he went on trial for the murders of Ron Goldman and his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, Simpson had a net worth of $11 million. That’s before all of the legal fees hit him hard.
Despite being found not guilty of the murders, Simpson was still in hot water. Simpson came out the wrong end of a civil suit. Simpson paid the Goldman family $33.5 million in punitive damages. When your bank balance is millions in minus figures you know you’re in trouble. An ignominious ending for the NFL star.