14 Ways Professional Athletes Go Broke

Business Insider

Two very different ex-NBA players ran into financial issues in two very different ways recently.

Robert Swift — who earned $11 million in three seasons — had his house foreclosed on after prematurely flaming out of the NBA and apparently not doing much else.

Allen Iverson — who earned  $154 million in salary — found out the hard way what happens when you keep living the good life after the paychecks stop rolling in.

By looking at these other examples, you get a full picture of exactly how athletes manage to burn through millions of dollars.

[Ed. Note: Former BI reporter Abby Rogers contributed to this post]

1. Allen Iverson kept spending ~$360,000 every month after he fell out of the NBA

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AP Photo

Iverson lived beyond his means after his playing career ended. He kept spending thousands on jewelry, clothes, and nights out. His $4.5 million home was foreclosed on as well.







2. Robert Swift flamed out of the NBA at age 24 after skipping college, and his house was later foreclosed on


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Getty Images

Swift was one of the last players to go to the NBA straight out of high school. He earned $11 million in three seasons, but after he stopped playing he lost his $1.3 million Seattle home. He left it in squalor.










3. Antoine Walker lost $110 million after taking out massive loans for his real estate ventures


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NBAE/Getty Images

Walker says he took out loans with eight different banks, but couldn't pay them all back at once. Here's what he said when asked if he blames his financial advisors: “No. I don’t blame them. I blame more so myself. I think the one thing…that is difficult to do is to do investments while playing basketball. I think if it was one thing I would tell any young guy or anyone who’s playing and making money right now is to wait until the end of your career and start investing and start making money off the field or off the court.

4. Marion Jones lost about $7 million after secretly using steroids


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AP Photo/Doug Mills

The former holder of the title "fastest woman in the world," lost it and her medals when the world found out she used performance-enhancing drugs. Steroid use, combined with multiple run-ins with the government, including committing perjury to the IRS, cost Marion Jones about $7 million.

In an attempt to revive her athletic career, Jones joined the WNBA in 2010, playing with the Tulsa Shock.



5. Mike Tyson's incarceration lost him between $300 million and $400 million


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Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The man who bit off Evander Holyfield's ear took on more than could chew, both in body parts and in life. He was once known as the heavyweight champion of the world, but in 1992 he was convicted of sexual assault and served three years in prison. He attempted a comeback but was disqualified during the high-profile match in which he bit off Holyfield's ear.

The boxer earned between $300 and $400 million during his career but spent nearly all of it on pet tigers, mansions, and an expensive divorce.

6. Curt Schilling says he will lose all $50 million he saved playing baseball on a failed video game venture

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REUTERS/David McNew

The former Red Sox pitcher's video game company, 38 Studios, filed for bankruptcy in June after missing loan payments. It currently owes $150 million and has just $21.7 million in assets.







7. Tennis player Arantxa Sanchez Vicario says her parents took all of her $60 million in career earnings


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Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

She says her father handled her money and gave her a monthly allowance (of sorts). She later claimed that her parents spent and mismanaged the money and left her with nothing.













8. Lenny Dykstra's supposed business sense cost him about $50 million

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AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Three-time All-Star player Lenny Dykstra, and his omnipresent wad of chewing tobacco, won the 1986 World Series. However, by 2011 he had lost about $50 million. In 2008, he began a high-end jet charter company and a magazine offering financial advice to athletes.

In 2009, he filed for bankruptcy, and in 2011 he was indicted on charges of car theft and drug possession. His legal troubles didn't end there. In Aug. 2011, he was charged with allegedly exposing himself to women he met on Craiglist.

9. Michael Vick's animal abuse lost him about $130 million

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AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Michael Vick was once the highest-paid player in the NFL, signing a 10-year contract extension worth $130 million with the Atlanta Falcons. Everything changed in 2007, when he went to prison for participating in an illegal dog-fighting ring. Vick lost his NFL salary and endorsement while incarcerated for two years.

He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. All told, Vick lost about $130 million. However, he's making a bit of comeback. After his release from prison, he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles.

10. Evander Holyfield lost about $250 million after failed business ventures

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AP Photo

At the height of his popularity, boxing champion Evander Holyfield had sponsorships with international companies, a record label, and a video game.

However, his label witnessed only brief success and the father of 11 owed quite a bit in child support. His $10 million estate was auctioned off in 2008. All in all he lost, in addition to his ear, of course, about $250 million.

11. Rollie Fingers thought a pistachio farm would be a good idea and lost about $8 million

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Rick Diamond/Getty Images

The baseball star with the famous handlebar mustache was, in 1992, the only second relief pitcher to be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He retired in 1985, after both Oakland and Milwaukee retired his jersey, and invested in pistachio farms, Arabian horses, and wind turbines.

In 1992, Fingers filed for bankruptcy. He paid his more-than-$4 million debt by selling baseball cards and working, and was eventually cleared in 2007 by the IRS. He still lost about $8 million, though.


12. Latrell Sprewell lost between $50 million and $100 million after some violent outbursts


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David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The man credited with leading both the New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs couldn't calm his temper. He assaulted P.J. Carlesimo, coach of the Golden State Warriors, twice during practice and was accused, but not charged, of strangling a woman on his yacht. In 2007, he was sued by his long-term companion for ending their relationship agreement, which called for him to support her and their children. Two of his homes also went into foreclosure in subsequent years, bringing his losses to between $50 and $100 million.

13. Kenny Anderson lost about $60 million to his ex-wives

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Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images

Despite the fact that he earned about $60 million and played for nine different teams during his career, Kenny Anderson still lost a bunch of money.

Anderson had three ex-wives, the first of whom challenged the couple's pre-nup and walked away with half of everything. In addition, he supports his other two ex-wives, his seven children, and helps his mother financially. In the end, he lost about $60 million.



14. Deuce McAllister lost about $70 million when his car dealership went bust


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Christopher Polk/Getty Images for FedEx

New Orleans Saint Deuce McAllister was a two-time Pro Bowl participant. However, off the field his luck turned sour and he lost about $70 million.

Nissan sued his car dealership in 2009 for nearly $7 million on a variety of items. In addition, he claimed two security guards at a Bourbon Street nightclub assaulted him. He was named an honorary captain for the Saints in 2010, but officially retired at the end of the year.






Click here for the full list Ways Professional Athletes Go Broke.

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