When we hear about broke athletes, it's both sad and shocking. But it seems to happen all the time in pro sports. According to Sports Illustrated, 70% of NFL players will be broke 2-4 years after retiring, 60% of NBA players after five years. Why? And what are the most shocking stories of broke athletes in sports history? It's literally unimaginable how someone who earned millions of dollars in salary and endorsements can eventually go bankrupt. Broke athletes are especially hard to comprehend because we tend to remember them at their peak, when they were still high flying, Escalade driving, mansion owning ballers fresh off a huge contract extension. If an athlete is broke it's especially depressing because he or she is typically way past their prime earning years which makes it very difficult to dig themselves out a hole.
Tonight, ESPN analyzes the world of athletes who go broke in their latest installment of 30 for 30. The documentary is called "Broke. Sometimes you play the game. Sometimes it plays you." And keep scrolling to read the most shocking stories of athletes who blew million dollar fortunes…
The 20 Most Shocking Broke Athletes:
#1: Mike Tyson – Tyson earned more than $30 million per fight and somehow squandered a $300 million peak fortune before declaring bankruptcy in 2003.
#2: Evander Holyfield – After earning $250 million as a heavyweight champion, in 2008 a bank foreclosed on Evander's $10 million, 54,000 square foot, 109 bedroom Atlanta mansion.
#3: Allen Iverson – In February 2012 Iverson told a Georgia judge that he was flat broke and could not pay an $860k jewelry debt. Iverson earned $154 million in salary and $30-50 million in endorsements during his career. Iverson was known to travel with a 50 person entourage, blew millions of dollars gambling, lavished friends with expensive gifts and had massive monthly child support obligations.
#4: Michael Vick – After declaring bankruptcy in 2008, over the last four years Vick has spent 95% of his income, roughly $30 million, on taxes, creditors, lawyers and accountants. He currently is worth $1.5 million but in 2011 Vick signed a six year $100 million contract with $40 million guaranteed.
#5: Antoine Walker – Despite earning $108 million in salary while playing in the NBA, Antoine Walker had to declare bankruptcy in 2010 listing assets of $5 million and debts of $13 million thanks to bad real estate investments and gambling debts.
#6: Latrell Sprewell – Despite earning nearly $100 million during his NBA career, Latrell Sprewell eventually went broke. Sprewell once famously rejected a $21 million contract saying "had a family to feed." Must be a really big family.
#7: Curt Schilling – In May 2012, Schilling announced that he had lost his entire $50 million baseball fortune on a failed video game company.
#8: Kenny Anderson – Despite earning $63 million in salary, Kenny Anderson was broke the day he left the NBA. After filing bankruptcy, Anderson became a K-12 school teacher.
#9: Lenny Dykstra – Dykstra turned a chain of car washes into an empire that eventually included a luxury airline, Wayne Gretzky's $17 million mansion and a $60 million personal fortune. Dykstra filed chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008 listing over $30 million in debts to various banks and law firms. He is currently serving a three year sentence for grand theft auto.
#10: Lawrence Taylor – LT's retirement has been difficult to say the least. Statutory rape allegations, cocaine addiction, bad investments and tax evasion have left the superstar linebacker broke today after earning more than $50 million in the NFL.
#12: John Daly – Daly admitted recently that he has lost $50 million gambling during his career. He was also divorced four times leaving him with huge monthly bills and little to no monthly income.
#13: Dennis Rodman – Rodman has not declared bankruptcy but he owes over $1 million in child support and other debts despite earning $26 million in his career.
#14: Deuce McAllister – After earning millions in the NFL, McAllister's Nissan dealership in Mississippi went bankrupt in 2009 leaving Deuce broke and liable for hundreds of thousands in debt.
#15: Terrell Owens – In 2012, Terrell Owens announced he was broke and without any monthly income. Meanwhile he is paying $120,000 a month in child support and mortgages to four different baby mamas.
#16: Warren Sapp – In April 2012, Sapp filed for bankruptcy claiming assets worth $6.5 million and debts of $7 million. The $7 million is owed to the IRS, child support to four different women, and medical bills.
#17: Sheryl Swoopes – The first big WNBA star filed for bankruptcy in 2004, listing over $1 million in debt.
#18: Marion Jones – The disgraced Olympian was left millions of dollars in debt and without a way to earn income after her steroid scandal.
#19: Travis Henry – Henry couldn't keep up with his massive child support payments after he fathered 11 children with 10 women. He was eventually arrested for cocaine trafficking.
#20: Mark Brunell – After retiring, Brunell invested in real estate and bought 11 Whataburger franchises. Unfortunately in 2010 he declared bankruptcy owing $20 million in commercial real estate loans.
#21: Scott Eyre – Despite earning more than $17 million in his playing career, the former MLB pitcher lost his entire fortune as part of the Stanford Financial fraud case.
#22: Vince Young – After earning $45 million in salary and endorsements, Vince Young is the most recent pro-athlete to go broke.
The following athletes have also declared bankruptcy:
- Tony Gwynn
- Steffi Graf
- Andre Rison
- Leon Spinks
- Bill Buckner
- Steve Howe
- Bernie Kosar
- Johnny Unitas
- Ray Williams
- Riddick Bowe
- Wally Backman
- Charlie Batch
- Bruse Berenyi
- Randy Brown
- Jason Caffey
- Dale Carter
- Jack Clark
- Raymond Clayborn
- Derrick Coleman
- Dermontti Dawson
- Jim Dooley
- Luther Elliss
- Eddie Edwards
- Chris Eubank
- Rollie Fingers
- Archie Griffin
- Ray Guy
- Dorothy Hamill
- Scott Harrison
- Harmon Killebrew
- Terry Long
- Rick Mahorn
- Harvey Martin
- Darren McCarthy
- Denny McLain
- Craig Morton
- Greg Nettles
- Jonny Neumann
- Gaylord Perry
- John Arse Riise
- Rumeal Robinson
- Manny Sanguillen
- Billy Sims
- Roscoe Tanner
- Duane Thomas
- Bryan Trottier
- Danny White
- Rick Wise
What lessons did these broke athletes forget to follow? Don't have an entourage. Don't spend beyond your means. Hire a good accountant. Don't have 11 kids by 10 different women. Don't gamble. Are we missing anything?