Athletes Who Spend Extravagantly
Others, however, let the fame and fortune go to their heads. They buy expensive houses with home theaters systems and concert-like sound systems, fancy cars, yachts and throw lavish parties -- all because they can. It's a luxurious lifestyle, but what many athletes forget is that it may only be a sustainable lifestyle for as long as they're in the prime of their athletic lives, making what will be the most money they will ever make at one time in their lives.
But what happens to such assets when the contracts have fewer zeros, or when the game that made you relevant passes you by completely?
Just ask Terrell Owens. Once regarded as the National Football League's top wide receiver, Owens is now struggling to get by, after having spent his $80-million he made while starting for the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys. Owens owes tens of thousands of dollars in child support each month, owns multiple homes and is the victim of a financial investment gone bad, all of which he was once able to comfortably afford when he was the league's premiere wide receiver. Now, his irresponsible spending decisions have caught up to him and he was forced to play for an arena football league in an attempt to earn one last shot with an NFL team. But that didn’t work out.
Another often-troubled former athlete is former NBA champ and current NBA Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman. "The Worm" made his fortune in the NBA, playing for the Pistons and Bulls; but it was his off-court antics that made the headlines. Now, Rodman can't afford child support and claims to be battling alcohol and sex addiction. When you're a notable athlete, you're going to get lots of attention and be faced with lots of temptation. Rodman succumbed to tempation years ago, and has been paying for it ever since.
Legendary defensive end Lawrence Taylor is another former athlete who let the celebrity status he earned from playing in New York go straight to his head. He used drugs, partied excessively and spent so much of his $50-million earnings that he forged a tax return one year to the IRS. Desperate times may call for desperate measures—but who thought that a man who made some $50-million over his career would ever be in such a financial mess?
When you're an athlete, just because you can afford to live the lifestyle you do at the prime of your career, doesn't mean you'll be able to sustain it 10 years later—especially when a mega contract hinges on an injury or a drug test. Owens, Rodman and Taylor weren't the first to become involved in such a financial mess, and they surely won't be the last to succumb to the temptation of their celebrity reputation at the prime of their careers. That's not saying that athletes aren't allowed to have a little bit of fun with their status; but let's say that there's a reason why financial planners, good agents and therapists exist.