15 Athletes Who Went Backrupt

By  | 

Professional athletes are some of the highest paid individuals on the world. They play a sport for one part of the year and during their off-season they do pretty much what ever they want. The lifestyle of a lot of professional athletes are lavish and extravagant and that is great if you know how to manage your money. Some athletes did not think that the money could run out. After letting their expenses get out of control, not paying taxes and having bad spending habits, these athletes had to file for bankruptcy.

Mike Tyson No boxer on earth was as feared as “Iron Mike” Tyson. Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, some of which took place during the first round. He quickly became the heavyweight champion of the world, but with his fame trouble soon followed. In 1992 he was convicted of sexual assault and served three years in prison. According to the New York Times, he had earned more than $400 million in his boxing career. However, he had spent almost all of it, frivolously spending it on extravagances like mansions, luxury cars and a pet tigers. He also owed $9 million for his divorce settlement and $13 million to the IRS. When he filed for bankruptcy in 2003, he claimed debts of $27 million.

Michael Vick When Mike Vick entered the NFL, a lot of great things were expected from him as a player. He raised the bar for quarterbacks in the league. Prior to joining the Eagles and later the Jets, he played for the Atlanta Falcons, who had signed him to a record $62 million six-year contract, as well as a $3 million signing bonus. Three years later, he signed a 10 year extension worth $130 million making him the highest paid player in the NFL. Everything seemed to be smooth sailing for Michael Vick until he went to prison for his participation in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring in 2007. The prison sentence sidelined him for almost two years, and during that time he lost his regular NFL salary and all of his endorsements, including a lucrative Nike sponsorship. The lack of income, combined with his own financial mismanagement, forced Vick to declare bankruptcy from federal prison.

Kenny Anderson Kenny Anderson earned an estimated $60 million during his NBA career after playing for nine different teams. He was married three times, and the divorce from his first wife, Tami Akbar, had cost him dearly. She successfully challenged their prenuptial agreement and walked away with half his assets and $8,500 a month in child support. To celebrate her court victory, she had a custom license plate made that read “HISCASH.” Talk about rubbing it in. On top of monthly child support and alimony payments to Akbar, Anderson had six other children and two other ex-wives to support. At the time of his bankruptcy filing, he had $41,000 in monthly expenses to pay which included eight car payment and two house mortgages.

Lenny Dykstra Lenny Dykstra played for both the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets, which he led to a 1986 World Series victory. He was a three-time All-Star player nicknamed “Nails” by fans. After retiring, he embarked on a new life as a financial guru, but by 2009, his free-spending lifestyle had caught up with him, and he was so broke that he sold his World Series ring. Being that low in a rut he declared bankruptcy. In the filing he claimed $50,000 in assets and $50 million in liabilities, including money owed to both Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Some financial guru he was.

Latrell Sprewell Latrell Sprewell was a notorious basketball player. Latrell Sprewell first made headlines during his tenure with the Golden State Warriors. During a 1997 practice, he choked his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, and earned a 68-game suspension. Sprewell still went on to earn almost $100 million during his career. It all came to an end when he turned down a a three-year contract extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves worth $30 million. According to Sprewell, this was simply not enough money. By the end of the 2005 season, he was unemployed. By 2007, his yacht, “Milwaukee’s Best,” had been repossessed by federal marshals after missed payments and insurance worth over $1 million. In 2008, he defaulted on the mortgage on his Milwaukee home, sending it into foreclosure. His Westchester mansion went into foreclosure two years later.

Lawrence Taylor Lawrence “L.T.” Taylor is considered one of the all-time NFL greats. The former New York Giants linebacker was drafted in 1981 and began winning awards almost immediately, including three Defensive Player of the Year awards and a 1986 Most Valuable Player award. Taylor filed for bankruptcy in 1998, to keep a roof over his head. According to the Daily News, Taylor was a full year behind on his mortgage payments at the time of the filing. However, his record on the field always spoke for itself, and one year after filing for bankruptcy L.T. was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. His personal troubles didn’t end there, however, with a traffic-related arrest in 2009 and statutory rape charges during a 2010 trial. He was sentenced to six years probation and had to register as a level one sex offender in 2011.

Johnny Unitas Johnny Unitas is one of the most legendary NFL players in history. Nicknamed “The Golden Arm,” his career spanned three decades and saw him set record after record, winning the Most Valuable Player award three times and throwing touchdown passes in 47 consecutive games, a record which still stands today. Though he was a great football player he was a bad business man. He attempted to parlay his earnings into shrewd business moves, such as restaurants, real estate ventures and bowling alleys, but these endeavors never performed in the way that he had hoped. In 1991 he declared bankruptcy.

Dorothy Hamill In 1976, Dorothy Hamill won the Olympic gold medal for women’s figure skating, becoming America’s sweetheart and pitch woman for Short n’ Sassy shampoo in the process. She followed her victory by headlining the Ice Capades from 1977 to 1984, and later bought the company in 1993 in the hopes of reviving interest in the sport. She could not compete with the ruthless commercial juggernaut that was Disney’s World on Ice, and she sold the company to Pat Robertson’s International Family Entertainment, Inc. in 1995. The failed venture took its toll, and in 1996 the skater had to file for bankruptcy.

Jack Clark  Jack Clark also known as Jack the Ripper played baseball for the San Francisco Giants, the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Yankees, the San Diego Padres and the Boston Red Sox between 1975 and 1992. In ’92, during his second year with the Sox, he declared bankruptcy, listing debts of almost $7 million, including $400,000 in Federal and state taxes. When Clark listed his assets in the filing, he cited 18 luxury cars. He owed money on all but one of them. Apparently, Clark quickly got bored with his collection, and when that happened he would just get rid of the ones he no longer cared for and replace them with new ones. The habit ended up costing him his home, which was worth more than $2 million.

Marion Jones  Marion Jones started out as one of the most inspiring stories of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia. A track and field athlete, she walked away from the competition with three gold medals and two bronze medals, an unprecedented achievement for a female athlete. Things went down hill after her ex-husband testified under oath that he had seen her inject steroids into her stomach during the games. She denied the allegations to both the press and to two grand juries before confessing to using performance-enhancing drugs in 2007. It cost her dearly. Not only was she forced to forfeit all of the medals she had won in Sydney, but she was also sentenced to six months in prison. Just a few years earlier, she had earned as much as $80,000 per race, as well as $1 million in endorsements. Her finances were decimated by legal expenses, and not only was her $2.5 million home in North Carolina foreclosed, but she was forced to sell her mother’s house as well.

Derrick Coleman Derrick Coleman was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 1990 and it seemed like he would have a promising career. However, it was not to be. Aside from being frequently injured and missing many games as a result, he also showed a tendency to gain weight and abuse alcohol. Coleman still earned over $87 million in his 15-year career, so many people were surprised when he filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in March 2010. In the filing documents, he listed $1 million in assets, including a Bentley, five fur coats and $3,000 worth of jewelry. His debts totaled more than $4 million, which he owed to almost 100 creditors, including American Express, Verizon and even Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

Mark Brunell Quarterback Mark Brunell has played for the New York Jets, the Green Bay Packers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. During his career, he is estimated to have earned over $50 million. On June 25, 2010, he filed for bankruptcy, listing over $5 million in assets and nearly $25 million in liabilities. He faced multiple lawsuits stemming from failed real estate ventures and business loans from Champion LLC, a company that included fellow Jaguars Todd Fordham and Joel Smeenge.

Scottie Pippen  Scottie Pippen is best remembered for his tenure with the Chicago Bulls and being Michael Jordan’s right hand man on the court. Pippen was a member of the Bulls all six times they won NBA Championships and won an Olympic gold medal in the same year, and he is one of only four players from the Chicago Bulls to have his jersey retired. Unfortunately, Pippen’s successes on the court could not stop him from losing career earnings worth $120 million, including over $4 million for a corporate jet that was grounded just months after he bought it. He sued his attorneys for $8 million for failing to monitor the purchase, and he won the lawsuit. However, the jury ruled that Pippen bore plenty of responsibility for the purchase himself, and he was awarded only one quarter of the reward that he sought.

Antoine Walker Antoine Walker is a retired NBA player that used to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks. In a career lasting 15 years, he’s collected one NBA championship and reportedly earned $110 million. In May 2010, he filed for bankruptcy, claiming assets of $4 million and liabilities of almost $13 million. Walker’s problems stem in large part from gambling. In 2009, he was arrested and charged with writing $800,000 worth of bad checks to three Las Vegas casinos.

Tony Gwynn While many athletes jump from team to team, Tony Gwynn played for just one, the San Diego Padres, for his entire professional career. During that time he distinguished himself as one of the most reliable batters in Major League Baseball, striking out only 434 times in over 9,000 career at-bats, and never once batting below .300 in any full season. He was amazing with his stats but his accountants were bad at managing his money. He earned a high salary with the Padres, but during his sixth season he filed for bankruptcy, citing bad investments, poor accounting and $1 million in back taxes. At the time of the filing, his assets totaled approximately $700,000, while his liabilities totaled over $1.1 million.