Athletes Gone Broke: Join the Club

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There is a serious trend going on in the professional sports world, and it isn’t taking place on the field or on the court. Athletes are losing money.

Sixty percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement, and 78 percent of NFL players are in financial distress within two years of retirement, according to an NBA report.

Allen Iverson, who accumulated more than $154 million throughout his career, is now struggling to make an income. Iverson was ordered by a judge to pay a jeweler $860,000, but he couldn’t because he doesn’t have enough money.

Iverson is currently unemployed. There was a rumor recently that he had agreed on a one-year deal with a team from the Dominican Republic, but Iverson’s manager denied those rumors quickly. Instead, the former NBA MVP is hurting for money, and he’s not the first player to do so.

Mike Tyson, who had to file for bankruptcy in 2003, revealed on The View he was totally destitute and broke.

Tyson made more than $400 million throughout his career. He also revealed he has to live paycheck to paycheck. It’s amazing how people who made so much money over their lifetime can find themselves in financial trouble.

For Iverson and Tyson, it was about living a flashy lifestyle. They had to have the diamond earrings, the shiny necklace and the tricked-out cars. They just spent all of their money and lost it before even hitting retirement.

Another reason why is because of bad business choices and bad investments.

NFL quarterback Mark Brunell filed for bankruptcy in 2010 despite making nearly $52 million throughout his career. He was a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

Terrell Owens, who, combined with child support payments he can’t afford, made bad investments and is now paying the price.

All of these athletes have found themselves in financial trouble after their playing days were over.

Owens, currently playing for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, revealed his financial losses in a recent GQ interview. Basically what Owens said is that he put his trust in the wrong people and it hurt him in the long run. He made bad investments and now he’s trying to make an income by playing in the IFL.

Brunell made the same mistake. He invested in a bad business venture and it forced him to file for bankruptcy.

A similar situation happened with former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar. Kosar filed for retirement in 2009 and you saw similar words from his attorney, words such as “mistrust” and poor management.

There are a couple of other reasons why athletes find themselves in financial trouble. Divorce and drugs are among the common factors that could lead to an athlete’s financial demise.

NFL quarterback Michael Vick had to file for bankruptcy in 2008 after being arrested for dog fighting charges. His financial troubles were escalating before his arrest, and as he went unemployed he had to file for bankruptcy.

Vick, however, was one of the lucky ones. He was able to get a second chance to make his money back. In 2011, the Eagles quarterback agreed to a $100 million contract. Not many athletes have a second opportunity to make their money back.

If athletes want to stop this trend of finding themselves in financial trouble, they need to think before they act. They need to make sure that they can put trust in the right people.

Sophomore > Sports Journalism > IUPUI

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