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10 Surprising Bankrupt Athletes


Decades after Mike Tyson took a bite out of Evander Holyfield's ear during a fight, Tyson inducted Holyfield into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014. The two former boxers share something else in common: Both have declared bankruptcy Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Decades after Mike Tyson took a bite out of Evander Holyfield's ear during a fight, Tyson inducted Holyfield into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014. The two former boxers share something else in common: Both have declared bankruptcy Ethan Miller/Getty Images

I believe it was Socrates who, while contemplating the ironically tragic lives of the aristocratic class in ancient Athens, penned the immortal line: "Mo money. Mo problems." Or was that someone else? Either way, he nailed it.

  • More money = More relatives hitting you up for a six-figure handout
  • More money = More so-called friends with "can't lose" investment ideas
  • More money = More 15-bedroom houses to foreclose, Ferraris to impound and business loans to default

Professional athletes, like lottery winners, are notoriously bad with money. The numbers are downright shocking: 78 percent of NFL players go broke or experience serious financial problems within two years of retirement, and 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement [source: Holmes].

How can a professional athlete with millions in endorsements and a seven-figure contract burn through so much cash so fast? Sure, you can blame the culture of excess — diamond-crusted watches, private yachts and $50,000 bar tabs — but you'd be surprised how many athletes go bankrupt simply by following bad business advice or trying to support three or four dozen relatives.

Keep reading for our countdown of 10 surprising — and a few not-so-surprising — bankrupt athletes, starting with a man who squandered $400 million in earnings on pet tigers and pagers.


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