We’ve all seen their smiling faces, lit up by the white hot spotlight of a press conference, shaking hands with an owner/GM as they agree to the “big contract.” In the era of free agency, in particular, it is commonplace to see an athlete of prodigious talent sign a big money, long-term deal after playing for rookie bucks. The team is happy, the player is happy and usually the fans are happy. It’s when these athletes start spending the big bucks that largesse, youthful exuberance and just plain stupidity and ignorance cause that money to drain away — fast. Once the entourage, hangers-on, financial “advisors”, the taxman and a slew of others have a say, some big name athletes actually go broke, becoming cautionary tales for those coming next. Even with all the evidence to the contrary, wealthy sports superstars find new ways to blow through millions and end up on the skids.
The man who took down Mike Tyson, twice, and earned nearly a quarter billion dollars has been taken down by his own largesse. Where to start? First, three expensive divorces and 11 kids by six different moms puts a real strain on disposable income. Then there was the 109-room mansion in Georgia he sold for $7.5 million, but still owed as much as $15 million on. It got worse. He had to auction off most of his prize possessions including an Olympic bronze medal and championship belts to pay down debt. The man once worth a king’s ransom has been listed as worth about a half million now.