Athletes earn a lot more than a normal salaried person does. They earn millions of pounds and invest their money in properties, businesses, cars, watches, jewels, and luxurious lifestyles. However, even the richest athletes can go bankrupt without proper financial planning, and we have seen that play out for many such individuals throughout history. Their stories are the same—at their prime, they were on top of the world, getting paid in millions. But, after a series of bad monetary decisions, they found themselves burdened by multiple debts. In this post, we will discuss some of the most highly-paid athletes who went broke:
Number 1: Mike Tyson
Back in the late 80s and 90s, Mike Tyson was arguably the best boxer in the world. He used to haunt his opponents through his strong physique and terrifying personality. He rarely lost his fights and made a lot of money through match fees and endorsements. However, Mike also suffered from drug and alcohol addiction during his peak. He would also spend his money on ultra-luxurious houses, furniture, cars, and jewellery. Unfortunately, Mike didn’t use his money intelligently, and in 2003, he revealed to the public that he had no money left. Fortunately, Mike’s wife and children helped him recover from this situation.
Number 2: Diego Maradona
Arguably the greatest Argentine to ever play football, the late Diego Maradona was literally worshipped In Argentina. He was the most important player in Argentina Football Team’s triumph in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Maradona also earned a lot of success in club and international football. However, he had a history of not paying taxes, so the Italian Tax Authority went against him in 2009. Maradona was forced to pay $54 million. Because he didn’t have so much money saved, he had to sell his house and file for bankruptcy.
Number 3: Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman is a basketball player known for representing the NBA team Chicago Bulls. He was one of the most flamboyant players in the competition. While Dennis’s paycheck wasn’t as impressive as other world-class basketball stars, he made a lot of money through endorsements, TV shows, and movies. Unfortunately, Dennis didn’t spend his money wisely. He got divorced, and the court ordered him to make regular child and spousal support payments. However, Dennis claimed that he couldn’t make child and spousal support payments anymore as he was broke, and he filed for bankruptcy. He owed $50,000 to his spouse and $800,000 in child support.
Number 5: Lawrence Taylor
In the late 80s and early 90s, Lawrence Taylor was enjoying a great NFL career and was making a lot of money. However, like other athletes on this list, he failed to manage his luxurious expenses and got himself into many financial issues. Lawrence was also a drug addict, and he would spend thousands of dollars on drugs every year. He would buy stupendously expensive and unnecessary things that he couldn’t afford. He would take loans and often failed to pay the instalments on time. Ultimately, he got in trouble with the IRS for filing bogus tax returns. There was also a child support lawsuit against him. He finally went broke and filed for bankruptcy.
Number 6: Travis Henry
Travis Henry was an NFL player who had short stints on multiple teams. He was one of the best running back players of his time. Travis made a lot of money, and his downfall was not because of drug/alcohol addiction or ultra-luxurious expenses. He was a “ladies man” and had flings with multiple women. He ended up having 9 children with 9 different women. He was supposed to afford the expenses of his 9 children and their mothers, which put a lot of financial pressure on him. Ultimately, he became broke and couldn’t afford the expenses of his children and their mothers anymore.
Number 7: Johnny Unitas
The quarterback of Baltimore Colt, Johnny Unitas, suffered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991. He had taken debts from many companies and loan sharks. They would come to his house and abuse and threaten his family for not paying the loan back. This is why he and his wife filed for protection against their creditors. Unitas was in a debt of $3.2 million, and he tried to find a solution to settle his debts by negotiating with banks and creditors. However, the negotiation wasn’t fruitful, and Unitas became completely broke.
Number 8: Deuce McCallister
Deuce McCallister was one of the most promising stars in the NFL. He used to play for the Saints as a running back for his team. Deuce made tens of millions of dollars throughout his career through his contract, endorsements, and investments. However, McCallister once made a massive investment which went horribly wrong. It cost him millions of dollars, and this one bad investment decision financially destroyed him. His luxurious house was seized and auctioned off. The bank Deuce took the mortgage from sued him. They claimed that Deuce owed them a whopping $1.8 million. He also lost his only Nissan dealership located in Jackson, Mississippi. McCallister is now just trying to survive with a few savings and small investments.
Number 9: Warren Sapp
Warren Sapp was probably one of the greatest NFL players of all time. During his career, Sapp made more than $82 million. He had a very luxurious house filled with extremely expensive furniture and items. Warren Sapp lost the plot while trying to manage his overly luxurious lifestyle. He spent so much money needlessly that he ultimately had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At that time, his bank balance was just $826.04. Everything he owned got auctioned- his car, his luxurious belongings, his house, and his rare collectables.
Number 10: Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield is a pro boxing legend and one of the most decorated boxers in the history of this sport. With a successful career came a lot of money, and Holyfield did not know how to handle it. He earned millions of dollars, and he started spending more than he should. His financial difficulties got more noticeable when he was having child support issues. He sold his massive mansion for $7.5 million. However, this wasn’t enough as he owed the bank twice the amount and $200,000 to the IRS. The world watched as one of the greatest boxers became completely broke.
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