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: