Most Famous Athletes That Have Filed for Bankruptcy

| August 2, 2013
Largest Bankruptcies

Largest Bankruptcies (Photo credit: Adam Crowe)

Sports stars and famous athletes command incredible yearly salaries, in addition to having some mind-boggling endorsement deals from famous companies like Adidas, Gatorade, and Nike. Somehow, however, it’s quite common for these sports pros to file for bankruptcy because they’ve been rather irresponsible with their millions. Some of the most surprising sports superstars to end up in a bankruptcy proceeding, and who might have benefited from a visit to, include:

6. Michael Vick

Unfortunately for football quarterback Michael Vick, the incident that most people will remember him for decades from now will be a felony conviction for dog fighting. Although his career limped along after pleading guilty and serving over 20 months in prison, Vick’s financial health wouldn’t survive since he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2008. Vick owed money to everyone from the Royal Bank of Canada to the Atlanta Falcons.

5. Evander Holyfield

One of Evander Holyfield’s claims to fame was the fight with Mike Tyson that was eventually nicknamed the “Bite Fight” because Tyson chewed a giant piece of Holyfield’s ear off during the battle. After living in a 109-room Atlanta mansion, the boxer was forced to give up that palatial residence and file for bankruptcy in 2012.

4. Sheryl Swoopes

A role model for millions of young girls dreaming of success in professional sports, WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes owns three gold medals from participation in the Olympic Games. She excelled on the court where she played from 1997 to 2011. Swoopes reportedly made more than $50 million during her career, but she had to file for bankruptcy in 2004 with debts close to a million dollars.

3. Antoine Walker

Antoine Walker, the 6 foot 9 inch tall basketball player who has played for such teams as the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and Atlanta Hawks has not had the best history with his financial dealings. He was charged with the crime of writing bad checks for some gambling debts he racked up in Las Vegas in 2009. By 2010, he was forced to declare bankruptcy on debts of $12.7 million.

2. Riddick Bowe

Boxer Riddick Bowe was crowned the World heavyweight champion twice in his career and only lost a single fight in all those years in the ring. Despite earning millions during his career, he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2005. Since that time, he has received financial assistance from a non-profit organization that helps broke prize fighters to become financially independent after bankruptcy.

1. Mike Tyson

“Iron Mike” made hundreds of millions of dollars during his boxing career and even survived the reputation-destroying rape conviction and a stint in jail. In 2003, after making many bad financial decisions, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” filed for bankruptcy. He received over $30 per fight at one point in his career. Apparently, it wasn’t enough.

Filing for bankruptcy is a very difficult thing for the average person who doesn’t have millions of dollars at stake, but it must be incredible to be a sports star to enter bankruptcy after having made tens of millions (or even hundreds of millions) of dollars.


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