The Worst Purchases Made By Athletes

John Halveston | January 29th, 2015

We can all agree that athletes make a lot of money. There is nothing wrong with that.

Where the problem lies is that according to, 78% of NFL players and 60% of NBA players file for bankruptcy within the first five years of retirement.

Here are some of the worst purchases made by athletes that make it easy to believe so many of them go bankrupt in such a short amount of time:

1. Vince Young

Vince Young has had one of the more disappointing careers in the NFL. Once a star prospect on the Texas Longhorns, his NFL quarterback career has been a huge letdown. But he was still able to secure a $26 million paycheck from his rookie contract with the Tennessee Titans.

Like most young, naive athletes, Vince blew through his millions without hesitation. It was reported that in 2007, when he needed to get from Houston to Nashville, he wanted to have as much privacy as possible. So he did what every 24 year old millionaire would do, he bought out 120 tickets on his Southwest Airlines flight. Calculations are that he paid upwards of $22,000 for a 2-hour flight and now… he’s bankrupt.

2. Latrell Sprewell

Latrell is probably best known for choking his coach during practice just because the coach told him that he had to make sharper passes. This already shows you the decision-making skills he possesses.

In 2004, he was offered a 3-year, $21 million contract extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sprewell said that he was offended by the lowball offer and famously said, “I have a family to feed.” They countered their offer with another offer, $0.

Latrell later decided to purchase a $1.5 million yacht. Of that $1.5 million, he was only able to pay for $200,000 of it until he started defaulting on the payments. There was also an instance when Sprewell was driving said yacht and accidentally landed it on the shores of Atwater Beach, Wisconsin. He refused to pay for the yacht to be towed back to the water and was later rescued by local fishermen. The yacht was repossessed and that same year his home was foreclosed.

3. Mike Tyson

Once upon a time, Mike was on top of the world, he couldn’t lose a fight and had career earnings of over $300 million. But now, he is facing bankruptcy and reportedly can’t afford to pay his IRS debts. This is all thanks to his outrageous spending habits.

One of the most peculiar purchases in Mike’s large portfolio of blunders was 2 bengal tigers that cost him $140,000. That would have been fine if the cost was only a one time thing, but the cost to feed them was $8,000 a month and insurance added another $2,000. He then hired an animal trainer for $125,000 a year to take care of the tigers when he wasn’t around. So in one year, the price for the tigers would be triple what he paid and would only increase every subsequent year. If you ask any investor or accountant, they will probably tell you that buying tigers is a bad investment..

4. Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas spent well over $1 million on just his swimming pool. He was once a rising star in the NBA, but after being plagued with injuries, his career abruptly halted. That didn’t stop him from spending over a million dollars constructing one of the largest residential pools in the U.S.

The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the pool is the giant, mountain-like structure that has a fully functional waterfall going into the pool. This was made entirely of imported stones and cost upwards of $500,000. Then he decided to attach an underwater entertainment complex to the pool that includes a bar, tv, and 3 giant fish tanks. This cost him another $500,000 not including the expensive fish and sharks he purchased and took care of in the fish tanks.

5. Kobe Bryant


Back in 2007, Kobe was in the prime of his career. Just turning 29, Kobe and his wife attended the grand opening of BLUSH nightclub in Las Vegas. Also at the event was a poker pro, Antonio Esfandiari. Antonio ordered 2 bottles of Cristal, costing $1,400 each. When Kobe got wind of this, he ordered 5 bottles for him and his wife.

Esfandiari, who gambles for a living, called Kobe’s 5 and raised him 5 more, asking for 10 bottles. Kobe showed didn’t want to be outdone and ended up ordering 15 bottles for just him and his wife. The total came out to $21,000 not including tip for bottles he didn’t even drink. Looks like the only winner that night was the owner of BLUSH nightclub..

6. Curt Schilling

Curt was a long time pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and is probably best known for pitching 7 innings of an ALCS game with a bloody sock to help the Red Sox tie the series at 3-3. The win forced a game 7 where they eventually won the ALCS Championship coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees, the first time that has ever happened in MLB history.

What you probably didn’t know is that Curt invested a boatload of money in a video game firm, 38 Studios, thinking that he would be able to create titles that rivaled long time competitors like EA Sports and Activision. Well, he fell short.. very short. The company was forced to fire all of its employees and close operations and Schilling lost all $50 million he invested. Yes, that’s right. $50 million!

7. Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter was pitched what he thought was the next big invention to hit the market, furniture rafts. The idea was that in a flood, a homeowner would be able to save themselves by inflating a raft underneath their furniture and floating their way to safety.

Hunter immediately invested $70,000 in the idea. The man who pitched the idea took his money and never delivered anything. In fact, he came back asking Hunter for $500,000 more, which is when Hunter finally made the right decision to cut his losses and move on with his life.

8. Marquis Daniels

You have probably never heard of Marquis Daniels. This is probably because he is a career bench-warmer and has played for 4 different teams in his 9 year NBA career. He was making less than $1 million a year playing in the NBA, but that didn’t stop him from purchasing that necklace.

He commissioned a jeweler to use 3D laser technology to design a necklace that resembled his head. The piece was made entirely of 14k gold and diamonds, even the hair was made of black diamond chains. The price of the necklace is unknown but for the 1300 grams of gold and diamonds plus the cost of labor and price markup puts the estimated cost at around $100,000. And just so you know, 1300 grams is just under 3 pounds…

9. Tiger Woods

Tiger bought a $60 million mansion following his divorce from ex-wife Elin Nordegren, making it the most expensive “look at what you’re missing” item ever purchased. That wasn’t even the ridiculous part. What was insane was that he put an extra $20 million in renovations to the property which includes 4 full golf holes and stretches 2 waterfronts.

This purchase came just after Tiger lost most of his sponsorship deals with major brands amidst his cheating scandal. Gatorade, Gillette, AT&T and EA Sports all dropped him, costing him millions of dollars in annual earnings.

10. Eddy Curry

Eddy Curry borrowed $575,000 from a loan company. That wasn’t too bad. The crazy part is that he somehow agreed to take the loan with an 85% interest rate!

He wasn’t even close to paying back the $1.2 million that he owed them and when they took him to court, he revealed something even more shocking. His reasoning behind not being able to pay them back was that his other bills and expenses were too high. The expenses cited included a cable television bill that totaled over $1,000 a MONTH?!

11. Deuce McAllister

Deuce won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints and during his 8 years in the NFL he earned over $70 million. After 3 years of retirement, he filed for bankruptcy.

One of the worst investments he made was when he was almost broke, he decided to invest in a Nissan dealership in Jackson, Mississippi. The dealership failed miserably and reportedly cost McAllister $1.5 million after owing Nissan Motors close to $7 million.

12. Jarrett Jack


Jarrett Jack, who now plays for the Brooklyn Nets, apparently has a major shoe fetish. Not in a kinky way, but rather he’s addicted to buying them. He reportedly has a shoe collection that consists of over 1,500 pairs of sneakers.

The collection is estimated to be worth a whopping $375,000. That’s more than most houses in America. He probably paid the same amount for just the closet that houses all 1,500 pairs of he owns.

13. John Daly

You normally wouldn’t expect a golfer to be a part of a group of athletes who blow their money on worthless things. But John Daly’s body isn’t the only thing that doesn’t fit the mold when it comes to golfers, his spending habits were also outrageous. He famously had alcohol and drug problems, but to top it off, he was addicted to gambling as well.

Nothing depicts his gambling problem more than when he cashed in his golf winnings one day in Vegas and lost all $1.65 million of it in 5 hours. What’s worse? He lost it all playing the slot machines! This might be the worst purchase on the list because he didn’t actually PURCHASE anything.. instead he just threw his money in the toilet.

14. Allen Iverson


Allen Iverson made over $150 million in salary throughout his NBA career. If you factor in endorsement deals, he has made over $200 million lifetime. Yet in 2012, during a divorce proceeding, he reportedly told the courtroom that he couldn’t even afford a cheeseburger.

He had wild spending habits, but nothing could compare to his addiction to buying jewelry. One day, his checking account was overdrawn by over $23,000 because he had visited a jewelry store, a steakhouse and a hotel. The total he spent for that day? $23,255.36. He was also sued by another jeweler because he owed over $860,000 in unpaid diamond jewelry purchases. His wife ended up selling his jewelry, for far less than he paid, just to pay for school supplies and rent.

15. Al Jefferson


Al Jefferson is now the center for the Charlotte Hornets. He spent a ridiculous $23,000 for his custom made bed. The bed measures a massive 10 feet by 12 feet.

To put that into perspective, a regular king sized bed measures 6.33 feet by 6.67 feet. His bed is almost double the size. Last we checked, Al Jefferson is not 11 feet tall, so unless he plans on sleeping with his entire family every night, he could’ve spent that $23,000 somewhere more valuable, like a financial advisor.

16. Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson, also known as Mr. October by MLB enthusiasts, was a huge fan of cars. In fact, he started collecting cars even before he could drive. Throughout his career he amassed upwards of 130 cars in his collection.

Well, at least he USED to have 130 cars. A fire destroyed a quarter of his collection. In one of the warehouses that housed his cars, a fire broke out and completely destroyed 30 to 35 cars, which cost him a total of $4 million. $800,000 for the building and $3.2 million for his cars.

17. Arian Foster


To thank his offensive linemen for their continued hard work protecting him from would-be tacklers, Arian bought them all Christmas gifts. He purchased a new Segway for each of the 5 linemen on his team.

The only problem? The maximum weight limit for a Segway is about 260 pounds and the average weight of an NFL offensive lineman? 312 pounds. It looks like he didn’t really think the decision through and probably threw $35,000 down the toilet.

18. Floyd Mayweather

Floyd may be worth millions now, but something tells us that it won’t last too long after he has retired. Case in point being an iPod case he purchased. He spent $50,000 on a custom made iPod case that was covered in diamonds.

If you look at the picture, it’s for the old school iPods that no one even uses anymore. There is no way he could resell that for anywhere close to what he spent on it. Finance 101, lesson 1: Do the opposite of what Floyd Mayweather does.

19. Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens invested in a Bingo Hall in Alabama. Actually, it was an entertainment complex that also included electronic bingo machines. The only problem? It was considered an illegal gambling operation in the state of Alabama.

Terrell didn’t get all the necessary licenses to run the center and was forced to shut it down, losing $2 million along the way. What’s worse is that owning a gambling establishment is also against NFL policy and Terrell was punished for that as well. After making $80 million playing in the NFL, he is virtually broke. He blames it on friends and family taking advantage of him, being misled by financial advisors, child support and multiple failed investments.. maybe the $2 million Bingo Hall wasn’t the worst investment he made.

20. Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen bought a $4.3 million Gulfstream jet back in 2002. Scottie retired in 2004, but left the Bulls in 1999. Why he would wait to purchase a multi-million dollar jet after leaving the Bulls is a mystery. That wasn’t even the worst part.

The worst part was that the jet could not even fly. He thought he was buying a fully functional jet, but later learned that he would need to pump $1 million more in repairs to make it fly. If there is one thing you learn from this article, make it be that when you’re buying a private jet, make sure that it flies before forking over the millions.

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