Athletes Gone Broke: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems!


By Black Men In America.com

Did you know that 78% percent of NFL players are under financial stress or bankrupt just two years into retirement. Within five years of retirement, 60% of NBA players are broke, according to Sports Illustrated.

In the new documentary “Broke,” which is set to air on ESPN Tuesday evening (October 2, 2012), Director Billy Corben provides a “step-by-step guide on how to go broke” by talking to the current and former professional athletes who’ve gone broke themselves or have watched teammates and peers drain their bank accounts.

A disturbing large number of Black athletes have squandered millions of dollars due to bad business decisions, divorces, child support payments, uncontrolled lavish spending, overall poor financial planning and lack of personal discipline.

Two of the more recent athletes in the news who have gone broke are former NFL stars Vince Young and Jamal Lewis.

In August 2012, former NFL player Jamal Lewis, 32, was arrested and charged with child abandonment.  Earlier this year Lewis declared bankruptcy.   He is one of many professional athletes to file for bankruptcy.  According to court records, Lewis has $14.5 million in assets, and $10.6 million in liabilities.  Court documents also reflected that Lewis now earns $35,000 per month, and spends $34,050 of it.  In addition, Lewis’ cars cost $5,700 per month, his mortgage is $6,000 per month and he owns a $200,000 boat, along with a $150,000 Ford F-650 XUV.   Lewis also owns other vehicles, which explains why his car payments are so high.  The court documents reflected that Lewis did not contribute anything to charity.

In July 2009, Lewis continued to play football.  While still with the Ravens, Lewis invested in a cross country trucking business.  His company had a fleet of around 200 trucks delivering perishable goods.  Lewis personally guaranteed the loans with his bank.  By June 2010, Baltimore County Circuit Court records reflected that M&T bank won a judgment last year against Lewis for more than $350,000 in unpaid lease installments and late fees and $35,000 in attorney fees.

On July 30, 2006, Vince Young, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, signed a six-year contract with the Tennessee Titans that was worth $48 million dollars.  The contract had a maximum value of $57.79 million, with $25.74 million guaranteed.  Here we are six later and young is out of the league and according to his lawyer, has run out of money.

Young earned over another $4 million last season with the Philadelphia Eagles and signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Buffalo Bills in May.  Young was released in August before the start of the regular NFL season.

Let’s take a look at some of the athletes who have “gone broke.”

  • Eddy Curry – A few years ago, NBA player Eddy Curry, despite making over $60 million in his career, Eddy Curry (NBA) is in serious debt while still shooting the ball. According to an Associated Press report, Curry defaulted on a $575,000 loan with an 85 percent interest rate (you read that rate correctly—85%).  Curry was ordered by a judge to pay back $1.2 million to Allstar Capital Inc.  Curry reportedly lost his $3.7 million home to foreclosure while trying to maintain monthly expenses exceeding $250,000 per month.  Curry is currently in training camp with the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Warren Sapp —The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Oakland Raider and NFL Network commentator owes more than $6.7 million to creditors and back child support and alimony, according to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in South Florida.  Sapp’s $6.45 million in assets includes 240 pairs of Jordan athletic shoes worth almost $6,500; a $2,250 watch; and a lion skin rug worth $1,200.
  • Dennis Rodman — The eccentric Hall of Fame basketball star is allegedly broke and behind on over $800,000 of child support bills. Rodman’s also been challenged in court for failure to pay child and spousal support to his third wife, Michelle.
  • Travis Henry — This former NFL Running Back has 11 children with 10 different women.  Henry fell behind on child support payments and reportedly tried other avenues to generate money.  Henry currently serving jail time for cocaine trafficking.
  • Latrell Sprewell — Early in his career this former NBA player turned down a $21 million contract from the Minnesota Timberwolves citing that the contract did not offer enough money because he had a “family to feed.”  According to MSNBC, Sprewell had his Italian yacht seized by a U.S. marshal after his mortgage went into default. Eventually his home, valued at $5.4 million, went into foreclosure in 2008 despite the fact that he made nearly $100 million during his career.
  • Lawrence Taylor — The NFL Hall of Fame Linebacker’s life has been marred by cocaine addiction, statutory rape charges and bad investments. Taylor also plead guilty to tax evasion.
  • Kenny Anderson — The NBA Point Guard was already broke by the time he retired from the NBA in 2005 after making approximately $60 million.  Since then, he went back to school, got a degree and is now the boys’ basketball coach at David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Fla.  Anderson accumulated over $40,000 in monthly expenses to go along with child support for eight children.  Anderson also owned eight cars, a home in Beverly Hills, a $10,000 monthly allowance, and regular $3,000 giveaways to relatives. In his divorce, he lost nearly $6 million in a prenuptial agreement.
  • Scottie Pippen — Although he made an estimated $120 million during his playing days, former NBA great Scottie Pippen lost millions in mismanaged money (he sued his former law firm for the mismanaging). He also made the ill-advised purchase of a $4 million Gulfstream jet and later found out it needed $1 million worth of engine repair.  At one point, Pippen owed U.S. Bank more than $5 million in principal, interest and attorneys’ fees, which he reportedly could not afford.  On June 30 of this year, Mr. Pippen left the Cook County courthouse in tears after a jury awarded him $2 million out of the $8.2 million he was seeking in one of those lawsuits against two attorneys at the Chicago law firm Pedersen & Houpt.
  • Terrell Owens — Back in January 2012, former NFL player known as “T.O.” admitted to GQ magazine that he was friendless, almost broke and “in hell.” He claimed that he lost his millions not because of an extravagant lifestyle, but because financial advisers steered him astray.
  • Evander Holyfield — The former 4 time Heavyweight boxing champion who made over $250 million during his career said:  “I’m not broke; I’m just not liquid.”  Holyfield’s $10 million 54,000 square foot home with 109 rooms on 234 acres was foreclosed in 2008.  He also owed a landscaping company over $500,000 in unpaid services and had problems paying child support for his 11 children.  Holyfied also owed $200,000 in back taxes.  The good news is that the house recently sold at auction for $7.5 million.  The bad news is that at the time of the sale Holyfield owed more than $14 million.
  • Deuce McAllister — Former NFL player McAllister lost millions when his Nissan dealership in Jackson, Miss. went belly up in 2009. Nissan is currently suing him, claiming the dealership defaulted on hundreds of thousands in payments and even more on exceeded credit limits.
  • Michael Vick — The elusive NFL Quaterback filed for Chapter 11 in 2008 after serving prison time for participating in a dog fighting ring. He lost millions in all sorts of ways, including failing to pay for 130 rental cars and defaulting on a loan to set up a wine store. Vick’s appears to be headed in the right direction as he recently signed a $100 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Muhsin Muhammad — The former NFL Wide Receiver owed tens of thousands in overdue credit card bills and ended up selling his home on eBay.
  • Antoine Walker – Former NBA star Antoine Walker, earned more than $110 million and filed for bankruptcy in 2009, one year after retiring from the NBA.  Walker’s financial moves reportedly included supporting 70 family and friends, building his mother a 10-bathroom mansion, owning at least two Bentleys and two Mercedes and collecting watches.  In an interview with ESPN’s First Take TV show on October 2, 2012, Walker said, his financial woes were not largely due to gambling.  He admitted to gambling but not as much as has been reported.  Walker said his problems stemmed from bad investments in the real estate market, bad advice and supporting a lavish lifestyle with friends and family.
  • Raghib “Rocket” Ismael – Ismael played two years in Canada and 10 in the NFL, earning an estimated $18 million to $20 million in salary alone. He then started to invest in a series of ventures that went bust, including a Rock n’ Roll Café, COZ Records, a movie, cosmetics, nationwide phone-card dispensers, and calligraphy proverbs kiosks.
  • Mike Tyson – This former boxer may be the “King of Broke.”  Tyson reportedly earned over $400 million during his career.  Tyson’s fall from grace included a nasty divorce, a rape charge that led to a prison sentence, felony possession of drugs and a DUI charge.  At one point, Tyson was worth less that $700 dollars.  His situation has improved. He appears to be doing well in recovery for drug and alcohol problems, has remarried, had a movie made about his life and he is on Broadway starring in a play about his life.
  • Allen Iverson – This former NBA dynamo reportedly earned over $200 million in salary and endorsements is reportedly broke.  Iverson, aka “The Answer,” apparently has no answer to cure his financial woes.  Iverson reportedly owes $859,000 to a Georgia jewelry store.  Trouble seems to follow Iverson in the form of arrests for assault, carry a concealed weapon and gambling debts.

White athletes go broke too.  Names like Bernie Kosar, Mark Brunell, Johnny Unitas, Bjorn Borg, Rollie Fingers, Curt Schilling, Sean Salisbury and Lenny Dykstra have gone broke.  We chose to focus on athletes whose names and careers you are more familiar with.

Is the reporting of broke athletes different for white athletes than black athletes?  Are there more racial stereotypes associated with the black athletes?  Or is it just a matter of sports stereotypes?  We’re just asking?  We believe that many people, regardless of their race would go broke if they became a multimillionaire over night, especially, without any financial training.  We need to teach our children financial literacy skills as soon as they learn how to count.

What do you think?

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9 Responses to “Athletes Gone Broke: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems!”

  1. Yes…white athletes go broke too. But, the difference is starkly DIFFERENT. Black athletes typically go broke/blow their money on stupidity or vanity. There are some who make bad investments. I acknowledge that. However, going broke after making MILLIONS is inexcusable for anybody. For blacks, the excuse continues to be an invalid excuse: lavish parties, providing employment for relatives that do nothing to earn the money, excessive jewelry purchases, making it rain in strip clubs, acquirement of vehicles that are rarely driven, purchases of houses that are away from their HOME…the list goes on and on. Making this a problem of the NBA/NFL is irresponsible. Making this a ‘race’ issue is irresponsible. Responsibility is for those who much is given. What’s required is a Jewish accountant…LOL!

  2. Athletes are not the only ones in debt with child support responsibilities; just take a look at online “pastors.” These are sad men talking out of both sides of their mouths.

  3. I think happens with many athletes. Due to how short their career may be, it can be hard to go from such a high living lifestyle to something else. Good luck to the athletes!

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