For professional athletes, the glory of victory may last forever, but the money they earn getting that win certainly doesn't.
A Georgia judge garnished the funds of former NBA sensation Allen Iverson after the former phenom refused to pay an outstanding jewelry bill worth $860,000, adding support to other claims that the pro-athlete may indeed be broke, CBS News reports. Iverson reportedly earned about $154 million in salary alone over the couse of his NBA career, but poor financial planning, extravagant spending and lawsuits have caused A.I. to go broke "by all accounts except his own," Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Kate Fagan wrote in 2010.
Though Iverson reportedly has a laundry list of financial problems, including a gambling problem and missed child support payments, his situation is relatively common among professional athletes, particularly those who have retired. Sixty percent of NBA players become financially insolvent within five years of quitting the league. And pro-football players are even faster to lose their fortunes: More than three-quarters of retired NFLers go broke within two years, according to MSNBC.
Bankruptcy hits professional athletes in a variety of sports, with boxer Mike Tyson, baseball player Lenny Dykstra and figure skater Dorothy Hamill among the most notable examples. What leads our fastest and strongest athletes to financial ruin can widely vary.
For one, it's the nature of the business.
"There's a far shorter peak earnings period [in sports] than in any other profession," money manager Michael Seymour told Sports Illustrated in 2009. "In many cases they lack the time and desire to understand and monitor their investments."
The average span of an NFL career, for example, is just three years, meaning second chances to make up for early mistakes are few and far between. And boy are there mistakes. Athletes have been known to sink millions into conspicuous consumption, make failed investments, waste money lavishing their friends and family, as well as get sunk by child support and divorce payments.
Indeed, family problems can all but ruin a professional athletes finances, with pro-athlete divorce rates between 60 percent and 80 percent, according to SI.
Making poor choices in selecting money-managers can also be disastrous, even though league officials often set up programs to help players with their finances. In the NFL, for example, only about 50 percent of players use league-approved asset managers, The New York Times reports. Many of the rest invest in failed ventures, with only some examples including finger-print sensing credit card system, personal record labels and even the now notorious Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. That's right, you can count legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax among the victims of the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.
Here are 10 star athletes with huge financial problems:
Ex-Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens has been out of work since 2010 and is struggling to maintain his finances, shelling out $44,600 a month to pay child support for his four children, each by a different mother. In February, it was reported that Owens was facing foreclosure on multiple properties.
After the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 2010 that Iverson was broke "by all accounts except his own," Iverson situation only got worse when his earnings were garnished by a Georgia judge over an outstanding jewelry bill.
World Series-winning center-fielder Lenny Dykstra has had a catalog of money woes since retiring, despite at one time founding a magazine, Player's Club, to provide professional athletes with investment advice. He's filed for Chapter 11 and has been charged with bankruptcy fraud.
Ex-NFL star Travis Henry was thrown in jail in 2009 for failing to fully pay child support for his nine kids, each by different mothers. On top of cocaine trafficking charges, Henry has spent $250,000 on jewelry alone which he says "ain't a lot."
Despite making between $300 and $500 million during his career, boxing legend Mike Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003 due to a number of reasons, including alleged embezzlement from manager by Don King, a $16 million marriage settlement and lavish spending on everything from pet tigers to mansions.
Gold-medal winning figure skater Dorothy Hamill found herself in financial strife just a few years after purchasing the Ice Capades franchise. After a subsequent poor investment in an Arizona ice rink, she declared bankruptcy in 1994.
Former Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker blew through the $110 million he made playing in the NBA in just about every way conceivable. He spent lavishly on himself, but also is said to have supported up to 70 people during his career, including buying his mother a mansion, donating to charity and buying custom suits for teammates and coaches.
Swedish tennis legend Bjorn Borg has had a series of financial woes ever since he abruptly walked out on tennis in 1983 at the age of 26. His company Bjorn Borg Design Group filed for bankruptcy in 1989, and years later Borg attempted to sell his collection of championship trophies to an auction house, though he denies it was because of financial troubles.
Marion Jones, who won five track and field Olympic medals, saw her finances drained primarily due to legal fees associated with allegations of performance enhancing drug abuse and a connection to a checking fraud case. Her $2.5 million house was foreclosed on in 2006, and one year later it was reported her bank account's total balance was down to just $2,000. The year after that she was sentenced to 6-months in prison.
Northern Ireland soccer player George Best is known as a legend in many parts of the world for his fancy footwork on the field, but not so much for his financial skills. His appetite for spending ultimately led to his downfall. "I spent a lot of money on booze, [women], and fast cars. The rest I just squandered," he once told the BBC.