Think big , spend big and then end up broke ….
With the upcoming NBA Draft but a few days away and the NBA postseason soon to come to an end . It will be worthwhile assessing how some of these young college players will go about acclimatizing themselves to the role of a professional athlete in the NBA. Repeatedly, we are told that the life of an athlete is not necessarily a glamorous one , yet the NBA does seek to glamorize the lifestyle of its athletes and the game’s highest profiled star , LeBron James , who right now is a participant in this season’s NBA Finals , with the Miami Heat facing off against their Western Conference opponents the San Antonio Spurs .
In his ten years in the NBA , LeBron James has been simply been more than a prodigious talent . He has in fact become the face of the NBA , a marketing phenom , and a face that corporate America now loves and simply cannot enough of . Other than , Kobe Bryant , Tiger Woods , Dale Earnhardt Jr , Peyton Manning and Tom Brady , there might not be a more marketable athlete in the North American market place . For the whining Tim Tebow apologists out there who believe the player to be a bankable and marketable asset? Simply try to assess the so-called high-profiled endorsement deals that he is said to have signed. Not one is with a Fortune 500 Company , and I grant you , because he may well have the highest selling jersey in the NFL , it simply does not equate to millions of dollars for the player , by way of annual residuals or for that matter , major revenue for the NFL franchise that he might actually be assigned .
In this day and age when we have a government that is so damn clueless on the economic woes of the country and wherein the electorate remains apathetic. It should come as no surprise that although financial frugality is preached by the federal government , they simply cannot and choose not to live within their own means . Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the recently appointed Treasury Secretary Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew can point to few positives within the economy as a whole . Likewise within the NBA hierarchy and the outsized ego of David Stern and his notion of a financially stable NBA , and its brand now reaching beyond the borders of North America .
The NBA commissioner still cannot stem the tide of stupidity being shown by the team owners , general managers or the players themselves . A four a half billion dollar a year industry is essentially now on the verge of overheating . Financial restraint is not something that the league can point to and with many of the games` players now earning well into seven figures with multi-year multimillion dollar contracts . I believe that we should be asking, what are the league and union now prepared to do , in order to stem the tide financial capriciousness on the part of the teams and their players ?
At the end of the daft process the rookie players and their agents will meet the general managers and team owners to essentially hammer out the details of their rookie contracts . The top pick in the NBA Draft will be guaranteed a three-year $`12 million contract , with a sliding scale being used to determine the subsequent contracts through the remaining rounds of the draft . Though the general managers and the teams’ legal counsel, can choose to add in certain incentives to such deals. Many of these young rookies are under the impression , are that once, they-put-pen to paper , having signed that deal , they are now set for life , and the subsequent years , in terms of any additional contracts that they may well sign . How this will all fits into their lifestyles can be seen by how they choose to spend their new-found wealth . You can choose to maintain one place of residence and drive one $400,000 sport’s car at a time . Yet somehow , that seems to be lost on a number of these young stars . And if you were of the opinion that the NBA is the only place where such trappings of wealth and opulence may well take place , then you would be sadly mistake , as the NFL and Major League Baseball (MLB) seemingly has players of their own who are of the very same mindset .
In a recent episode expose` documentary , as part of ESPN’s acclaimed series 30/30 , a segue was done on NFL players who have found themselves bankrupt and simply penniless , albeit that a number of them had several very successful years playing in the league . With the average life of an NFL player being no more than 6.8 years , their greatest earning period or span comes between the fifth to eighth years , dependent upon the position played . And clearly in the NFL where quarterbacks come at a premium , they are by far in a way the highest paid in the league on an annual basis and by way of the determining length of a contract.
In recent weeks and months we have seen reigning Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco parlay his spectacular postseason displays into an extraordinarily rewarding contract , that comes courtesy of Baltimore Ravens ` GM Ozzie Newsome and team owner , Steve Bisciotti . Flacco , himself , believes he can be even better this upcoming season , as the Ravens seek to make a successful defense of their Superbowl title . As to how the player will now seek to spend and invest is new-found wealth remains to be seen . Yet , I can only hope that the misfortunes that befell Bernie Kosar , do not become a part of Flacco`s personal and professional life .
From a stellar career in the NFL , upon retirement , Kosar went through a financial and personal maelstrom where his personal fortune , a reputed $ 50 million, simply went up in smoke , through bad business investments , a major divorce settlement , members of the family simply stealing from the player . Most of all , Kosar was simply negligent and all too trusting of a father , who acted as his agent , and was someone , who simply had no legal or financial experience to handle the player`s business affairs . Bernie Kosar today , is a broken man , both financially and from a health standpoint , as he now suffers from arthritic pains in both hands as well as his hips . Furthermore , the former Cleveland Browns ` .. quarterback spoke of the fact, that he also suffers from neurological issues , which he believes came from the multiple concussions suffered throughout much of his professional playing career.
Bernie Kosar joins a long list of professional athletes who down the years have simply been all too foolish with their earnings . It would appear that any business venture offered up as an investment that came their way . Many of these players would simply turn over countless thousands of dollars to their alleged business partners . Many of those schemes in some cases, would turn out to be a Ponzi Scheme or a multi-layered sales` gimmick , where the money was simply being siphoned off to an offshore bank account. Amongst the other NFL players, willing to speak on camera about their own experiences as part of this documentary program , were Andre Rison and Keith McCants . McCants` own story was very troubling , given his career and then his sinking into being a prolific drug user, petty criminal, who would also become homeless and panhandling on the streets of Atlanta , to aid in his chronic drug use . Now five years free, from narcotics and alcohol , Keith McCants spends much of his time speaking to and lecturing young children about the dangers of drugs , alcohol and their dangers as an athlete . McCants would also suggest that the NFL simply as not provided incoming rookies with enough education or information , in warning them of the dangers of suddenly coming into a great deal of money and the sharks who seek to make them their prey . Those signing bonuses as part of a player`s contract, are in fact the only thing that is guaranteed in a compensation package that an NFL player receives .
For Andre Rison , noting was ever too big , as a way of showing off is opulent lifestyle . As mercurial a talent as the wide receiver was said to . It was also his off the field activities and lifestyle that often brought the player to the fans and public`s attention alike . From wanting to be a musical impresario , Rison was known to have once backed a budding rap artist paying some $500,000 merely as an advance for the recording of that artist`s rap album . An album, which would go to sell less than 30,000 units nationally , and would end up being less than a shrewd investment for the player , who would also spend a further $1.5 million to build a state of the art recording studio in his home , in the hopes of budding a budding music star , having also bought a recording facility and created his own record label in downtown Atlanta . Sports` cars , $2,000-00 bottles of champagne merely to celebrate an Atlanta Falcons` win was nothing out of the ordinary for the 1989 NFL first round draft pick for the Indianapolis Colts , as a wide receiver .
Perhaps the most infamous incident we can all remember as it relates to the troubled wide receiver, was the now infamous event of is then companion , musician , Lisa Left-Eye` Lopez , who set fire to the 11,000 square foot , $5 million mansion that the couple shared in suburban Atlanta , Georgia . After the incident , Lopez would state ____ “ I just wanted it to burn and for it to hurt him “ . Andre Rison for his part , was remorseful over the incident , as he believed that he could have handled the situation a great deal better , rather than it turning initially into a physically violent altercation from the outset , before Lisa Lopez`s own actions . Rison does have regrets concerning many episodes concerning is colorful and all too dramatic life. Many of which he acknowledged , that if he had it all to do all over again , he would have been less exuberant and more trusting of those offering more trusting advice . Numerous legal issues in the ensuing years , forfeiture and seizure of property as well as owing state and federal authorities monies in back taxes , and a number of paternity suits have all but left the player bankrupt and penniless .
The NFL does now offer rookie symposiums for their players to attend , which are now mandatory for all rookie entrants to into the league . Those meeting constitute visits and lectures by certified financial planners , accountants , well-respected lawyers and agents . Yet somehow it does seem almost inconceivable that if the statistics are to be believed , as many as 63% of all players within five years of their retirement do undergo financial hardship , with many having to file for personal or corporate bankruptcy . All this ,while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to speak in volumes as to the growing revenues of the NFL , without ever once addressing the financial hardships that befall many current and former players .
Courtesy of ESPN
According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Keith McCants, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature can carry them to victory on the field and ruin off it.
Director Billy Corben (The U, Cocaine Cowboys, Limelight) paints a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes’ bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large while still holding these giants accountable for their own hubris. A story of the dark side of success, “Broke,” is an allegory for the financial woes haunting economies and individuals all over the world.
Director’s Take :
In June 2009, we interviewed quarterback Bernie Kosar for the ESPN 30 for 30, The U. Anyone who knows Bernie will tell you, he’s as kind and generous a guy you could ever meet. In fact, he was extremely generous with his time that morning; he talked with us for several hours and, afterwards, took pictures and signed autographs for the crew.
A few weeks later, Dan LeBatard broke the news: Following a series of bad investments and a costly divorce, Kosar had filed for bankruptcy. It was a shock. Beyond football, Kosar was renowned for his business savvy and known to have been even more financially successful after his decade-long NFL career than during it.
Personally, it broke my heart. Other than appearing tired at times, there was little or no indication during the hours Bernie spent with us that he was in the midst of this ordeal.
In the early part of the millennium, you’d occasionally hear about a high-profile athlete suffering financial difficulties, but Pablo Torre’s article, ‘How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke,’ in the March 2009 Sports Illustrated, cast a spotlight on what seemed to be an emerging epidemic in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown.
These days, it seems there’s a new story every week and we felt these stories were worth exploring. Not everyone was so enthusiastic about it, though.
They say the most uncouth subjects for dinner conversation are politics and religion. I gotta add money to that list. Athletes, a famously proud group, were not particularly anxious to discuss the state of their finances, so getting interviews for this project, not surprisingly, proved to be a challenge. I really admire the people who agreed to speak with us because they sincerely felt like they have something to offer the next generation and hope that others will learn from their experience.
The way “Broke” is structured, it’s not about people, per se, but the problem, told by the people who experience(d) it. It’s essentially a step-by-step guide, How To Lose Millions of Dollars Without Breaking a Sweat.
Click on link to read in full .
In the NBA , the figure is just startling concerning the financial hardship faced by a numbers players there in the immediacy of their retirements . Latrell Sprewell and Antoine Walker are two players , whose stories of financial hardship have been well chronicled , with both having to file bankruptcy , owing their creditors a combined $35 million , with assets of less than $2 million . It is that sort of insanity that tends to be overlooked , as we continue to heap praise upon many of these athletes , in many respects for no good purpose , other tan to laud their athletic feats . With 76% of their players seeking some sort of aid after retirement and considering that in the NBA , salaries are entirely guaranteed . It begs the question , what is it and why is that these players become so enamored with spending so capriciously without ever really thinking about their long-term future and post-game life ? Granted , the likes of Michael Jordan , Dave Bing and Magic Johnson have each become extremely successful entrepreneurs in their own right . Yet it speaks only to a very small percentage overall of the players who can successfully point to the fact , that they have been able to leave the game in a better financial and physical shape than when they first entered the NBA .
Picture gallery .
Again , with the NBA also following in the same footsteps of the NFL in terms of also having their own rookie symposiums . One has to ask , are the leagues in question as well as that of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the NHL doing enough to avoid a major catastrophe , as it relates to the financial well-being of their players ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter at hand ? Chime in with a comment, as you see fit .
Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
(1) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James smiles as he speaks during a news conference before NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat host the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday . James as been at te forefront of te game ever since is entry into the NBA as the number one overall draft pick in the 2003 NBA Draft . In that time he has become the game`s best player as being deemed it`s most marketable star and ambassador , along the way amassing a fortune now an estimated at 130 million . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….
(2) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (L), speaks while Treasury Secretary Jack Lew listens during an open session of the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the Treasury Department, April 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The session was held to discuss the financial markets and emerging threats to financial stability and make relevant recommendations. Getty Images North America/Mark Wilson ….
(3) Superbowl MVP Joe Flacco is seen here with teammate Ray Lewis after the Baltimore Ravens` victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Superbowl (SB XVII) . Flacco in the aftermath of the team`s victory was able to parlay his postseason performances into a multi-year , multi-million dollar contract that makes the quarterback amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Sports Illustrated / Curtis Matthews ….
(4) Former NBA star Antoine Walker , whose storied career saw him win a college national championship as well as an NBA title , but also having earned in excess of $100 million in career earnings , the player filed for personal bankruptcy after some bad business investments and gambling habit that simply overtook his personal and professional life . Walker is now back in the league but playing in the NBA`s Development League , were his impact has been minimal . Antoine Walker still believes that he can still contribute to a legitimate title contender in the NBA at this juncture of his career . AP Photos REUTERS /Keith Marshall …
(5) Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar is seen here with neurosurgeon Dr Richard Sponaugle , as the player makes the public announcement that he is now suffering from a neurological disorder (CTE) that now affects his speech as well as his ambulatory movement . Kosar , one time successful entrepreneur now lives a life of simplicity , relying primarily on his NFL retirement benefits to aid him . Having seen large part of his personal fortune simply disappear through a number of fraudulent deals overseen by his father , and a divorce settlement the player did not challenge . It is extremely difficult to have any compassion or feel any empathy for an individual who simply was far too trusting , naive and who simply chose to ignore the warning signs in his presence at each juncture of his life . Hamilton News Media Outlet ……..
(6) Former NFL wide receiver Andre Rison is seen here with former companion , Lisa Left Eye` Lopez , a co-founder of te seminal best-selling female rap group TLC . The two individuals had a very tempestuous and volatile relationship that was often violent and spontaneous . Rison , no stranger to controversy, has become the public and private face of a gifted athlete who lived an excessive lifestyle and who somehow was able to throw away many of the opportunities tat came his way . Now with little left to his name the former player spends much of his time lecturing young individuals on the dangers that comes along in being an NFL player and not being financially responsible . Getty Images North America / Paul Engle ………
(7) Keith McCants , six-year NFL linebacker professional whose career was essentially cut short by injuries . McCants is seen here talking about his career on te ESPN magazine program 30/30 (Broke) and the fact he is now broke . The player became a chronic drug user addicted pain prescription medication . Unable to meet his demand for many of the narcotics he became addicted to , McCants would resort to and commit acts of petty crime , such as theft , and check cashing fraud to meet his addiction demand . Now drug and alcohol free, Keith McCants has been critical of the NFL and their unwillingness to provide retired veterans with aid for such addictions as well as the fact that at the time of his being drafted there was not a program in place to assist the players in learning financial responsibility , providing them with the proper assistance in terms of agents (now certified) by the NFL , and lawyers (offering legal advice on a wide variety of issues) . The latter scenario was put into place by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue in conjunction with the NFLPA and their , then , Executive Director Gene Upshaw . Courtesy of ESPN @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ……………..
Hot chic pic of the day SI (Sports Illustrated) model Jessica White