Sports stars are known for earning millions. While earning money is great, keeping it has proven to be hard for some. Here are the top 10 formerly rich athletes who lost all their money.
1. Mike Tyson
Tyson is an American professional boxer. He was the world heavyweight champion and still holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title. He also won the WBC in 1986 and the WBA and IBF in 1987. He earned over US$30 million for several fights and US$300 million over his entire career. In 2003 he was reportedly US$23 million in debt. How? He liked to show off by purchasing houses he didn’t live in, cars and gifts for his friends, and even Rolexes for random strangers who complimented him.
2. O.J. Simpson
Simpson is an American actor and former running back, winner of the Heisman Trophy and the first NFL player to ever rush for over 2,000 yards in a regular season. His first NFL contract was for US$650,000 over 5 years – the largest contract in pro sports history at the time (1969). He also has a criminal record and was released from prison at the end of 2017 after an armed robbery in Las Vegas. But the source of his debt comes from a civil suit for the wrongful deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995. He owes over US$70 million plus interest to the families as he has not paid them any of the money he was ordered to.
3. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather Jr. is an American former professional boxer (1996-2007, 2009-2015). Over the course of his career he held multiple world titles in five weight classes and retired with an undefeated record. He had over US$1 billion in earnings. Unfortunately, he has a love of gambling that got out of control, with an estimated US$50 million in debt. If Floyd would have played casino games in a responsible and safe gaming environment such as at Gaming Club, this wouldn’t have happened.
4. Diego Maradona
Maradona is an Argentinian retired professional footballer. He played in four FIFA World Cups including the 1986 one in Mexico where he led Argentina to victory and won the Golden Ball. He won tens of millions of dollars over his career. However, due to numerous legal troubles from narcotic fines to tax crimes, most of his fortune is gone.
5. Dennis Rodman
Rodman is an American retired professional basketball player. He won five NBA championships during his 14 years, earning almost US$30 million as an athlete and millions more from endorsement deals. Personal struggles, namely alcohol and substance abuse, led to him losing a hold on his finances. In 2012 he was broke and unable to pay US$800,000 in child support.
6. Marion Jones
Jones is an American former world track and field champion who won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She received multimillion-dollar endorsement deals in addition to earning around US$75,000 per race. She was later stripped of her medals due to steroid use and lost her sponsorships. She went broke and lost her US$2.5 million mansion in North Carolina.
7. David James
James is an English retired footballer. He is fourth on the list of all-time Premier League appearances, held the Premier League record for most clean sheets with 169, and was England’s goalkeeper for the 2010 World Cup. Over his career he earned £20m but declared bankruptcy in 2014 mainly due to debts incurred since his divorce in 2005.
8. George Best
Best was a Northern Irish professional footballer universally regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He debuted at the age of 17 and spent most of his career with Manchester United. He made over US$100 million dollars before he lost it all when he became an alcoholic.
9. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
Sánchez Vicario is a Spanish former World No. 1 retired professional tennis player. She won four Grand Slam singles titles, six Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She also has four Olympic medals and five titles in the Federation Cup for Spain. She made US$40 million over her career, but lost almost everything through family fights, divorces, and tax fraud.
10. Bobby Orr
Orr is a Canadian former NHL ice hockey player, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest of all time. Orr won eight consecutive Norris Trophies and three consecutive Hart before being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 at age 31. When he retired, Orr discovered that his agent Alan Eagleson had mismanaged his money, leaving him broke. Eagleson was even the reason Orr left the Boston Bruins because Orr was told the Bruins no longer wanted him – when in fact they offered him US$295,000 a year and an 18% ownership stake in the team, the most generous contract in NHL history at the time.