Now that the Super Bowl is over (let’s not discuss the final score), high school and college athletes everywhere are dreaming of making it big in pro sports.
Contracts worth millions of dollars are possible even for athletes not selected high in any pro draft.
But, just like you and me and all of our clients, money problems aren’t foreign to even some of the wealthiest of pro sports players.
In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest these wealthy players are even more prone to financial problems then the general public.
A March 2009 Sports Illustrated story reported that within two years of retirement, 78% of NFL players file bankruptcy or otherwise face severe financial problems.
Within five years of retirement, nearly 60% of former NBA players are broke.
There are high profile bankruptcy filings like:
- Kenny Anderson, former NBA player who filed bankruptcy in 2005
- Michael Vick, former NFL quarterback, who filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008
- Vince Young, former NFL quarterback who filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year (Young reportedly earned over $34 million during his career).
But the problems are far more widespread.
Between 1999 and 2002 at least 78 players lost more than $42 million dollars because of bad investments according to the NFL Players Association.
In general, the same problems that most people who need to file bankruptcy face also strike someone making millions.
The Sports Illustrated article cited divorce as one of the primary causes of pro athlete financial problems, along with trusting the wrong people.
The real lesson is that the fresh start found in bankruptcy may be necessary regardless of someone’s wealth and position.