The lifestyle of the rich and glamorous is appealing to everyone who does not have money. Of the many ways to make money without being highly educated, becoming a professional athlete is probably right up there with acting and modeling. Multimillion-dollar contracts, limousines, chilling with rappers and rock stars, and rubbing shoulders with Matt Damon are just a few perks of being an athlete outside of the court. And since you act like you are king of court, why not also act like you are king of the world?
Unfortunately, the real world does not make exception to athletes. The world of sports entertainment and the real world are always butting heads. Whether it is Tiger thinking he can get away with sleeping around, or OJ Simpson thinking he can rightfully retrieve personal memorabilia, athletes show us time and again that they are above the rules of law, finance, and reality.
Within the last few years, big names in the NBA such as Derrick Coleman and Antoine Walker both found themselves filing for chapter 11 bankruptcies. Here are the top five most surprising names in sport entertainment… in ruins.
Mike Tyson: Iron Mike Tyson is perhaps one of the most successful athletes in the world, raking in about 400 million dollars in his entire career (not counting all the royalties and out-of-the-ring business). Unfortunately, his lifestyle of women, partying, and more women, caught up to him. At one point, a monthly bill for the Tyson household was $400,000. Even with all the business and investments, Iron Mike filed for bankruptcy in 2003. Of course, the drug problems, domestic violence, and rape accusations did not help either. The world’s former youngest WBC, WBA and IBF Heavyweight champion has a movie coming out about him later this year.
Michael Vick: Okay, this is not so much of a surprise as it could have been. After serving prison time for hosting illegal dogfights and gambling in his home, Vick lost most of his sponsors and had to start from square one. The man definitely tried, but eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2008. His two homes are up for sale, including the dog ring. His return to the NFL was definitely controversial, with many opponents citing his criminal record as good reason to bar him from the NFL. If Vick was not biologically built with pure talent as he is, we very well may have never seen him again.
Sheryl Swoopes: “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm had some legendary commercials for Gatorade to that song, although a better choice for a competitor to Jordan would have been the Michael Jordan of the WNBA, Sheryl Swoopes. She even landed a Nike deal for her own shoe line, the Swoopes. Apparently, mismanagement from her lawyers and financial advisors left her $700,000 in debt.
Johnny Unitas: Perhaps one of the best football players ever, Unitas started in the NFL before contracts were measured in millions. Of course, inflation made him about as valuable as many athletes are today. After his time in the NFL, he became a CBS commentator, invested in a restaurant chain, bowling alleys, and an airfreight company. With so many good business decisions in growing industries, his bankruptcy in 1991 was undoubtedly a huge shocker to fans and the financial market.
Evander Holyfield: Sometimes, you just have to blame the kids. Holyfield was not a squandering mess like his athletic peers but he did have eleven mouths to feed. The single eared community role model still works hard enough to manage his funds and, based on hearsay, is quite the checkbook balancer.