Another Pro Athlete Declares Bankruptcy

There are things that just go together: peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and marshmallows, franks and beans, and there are other things that shouldn’t, but do.

By Robert Stitt

In this category are millionaire athletes who declare bankruptcy. While the financial failures of these well-paid, prime-time celebs may not be quite as common as a PB & J, CNN reports that “60 percent of NBA players go broke within five years of retirement….more than 75 percent of [NFL players] are broke within 2 years of leaving the league.”

Perhaps the poster-child of the financially-failed athlete is NBA star Antoine Walker, who famously blew through over $100 million and had to declare bankruptcy. Latrell Sprewell lost his $100 million earned in the NBA as well. Both losses are peanuts compared to the $400 million that Mike Tyson was said to have lost on the way to his day in bankruptcy court. The list continues, and is both sad and long.

One of the newest members of this club is famed NFL running back Clinton Portis.

Portis was the second-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, where he later became the Offensive Rookie of the Year. In his third year in the NFL, he signed a contract for over $50 million with the Washington Redskins and became a two-time Pro Bowl selection. When he left the league, his annual income dropped to a mere $90,000 per year. While that sounds like good money to many, it doesn’t pay for the lifestyle that Portis was accustomed to while he was playing ball, especially with a divorce and child support under his belt. He was forced to declare bankruptcy.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Portis

  • lost $8 million in a failed casino
  • invested $2 million in a failed Ponzi scheme
  • bought expensive cars on credit (over $175,000 owed at the time of bankruptcy filing)
  • borrowed from friends and family ($500,000 each from his mom and Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nischelle Turner)
  • ran up over a $281,000 tab at the MGM casino in Las Vegas
  • owes $1.023 million on his home
  • did not pay his taxes (owes nearly $500,000 in back taxes)
  • did not pay his child support (over $412,000 unpaid)

Sadly, Portis’ story is not unique. In fact, many of the athletes on the bankruptcy list could have their name placed with the bullet-points above in place of Portis. Many young athletes are just children when they are offered millions of dollars. They party, buy cars, get married, have children, get divorced, gamble, don’t pay their taxes, and then leave the game. They don’t seem to understand that just because they no longer make the money, that the bills are still due.

As for Portis, Celebrity Net Worth sums it up like this, “Even though he made over $43 million playing football, now he can’t live on $90,000 a year. He only has $150 in his checking account. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.”

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