In April, I did a cover story on famous athletes and their financial fortunes. Some did well, but many struggled to manage their sudden wealth and there was no shortage of good stories.
We called it “Hall of Fame, Hall of Shame” and it was a fascinating piece for me to research and write. I have has a lifelong love affair with sports that nobody could explain.
My dad hated any type of activity that involved a ball of any kind. In fact, nobody in my family even as much as tried out for an organized sports team to my knowledge. We’re just not an athletic people, as I relentlessly set out to prove.
Over time, I came to realize that my interest in sports went beyond simply satiating my competitive nature. I realized that I like sports because sports imitate life.
It’s true if you think about it. Athletic careers are often nasty, brutish and short – just like life. Those who work the hardest are most often the ones who get ahead and stay ahead – just like life.
There are good guys and bad guys, and life lessons galore. My April story sought to connect the financial needs of numerous pro athletes with the high-net-worth clients many advisors serve.
Since our publication, a couple athletes we profiled have made the news. And a couple other stories caught my attention and would have fit my theme.
Let’s catch up with our subjects in the news:
The first player signed by the WNBA in 1996, Swoopes was a transcendent star and it earned her a $50 million sneaker deal from Nike. She filed for bankruptcy in 2004.
Recent headlines have not been good for Swoopes. Loyola University Chicago fired Swoopes last month after investigating allegations that she mistreated players in her role as head coach of the women’s team.
Swoopes compiled a 31-62 record in three seasons at Loyola.
The NHL star entrusted his millions to his parents, who spent the money on cars, homes and travel. Johnson declared bankruptcy in 2014, claiming no knowledge of his parents’ spending. Creditors claimed he was complicit in the schemes, pointing to his signature on loan documents.
Shortly after my story came out in April, Johnson sued his mother, Kristina Johnson, demanding that she hand over the keys to a BMW. In the lawsuit, Jack Johnson said the car was not a gift. The hockey star is trying to sell off assets to pay the $12.5 million he owes creditors, reports say.
More Hall of Famers
Lest those updates prove too sad, I have some balance for this story. The past few months yielded a few stories of other athletes who would fall into my Hall of Fame category for financial prowess.
Green Bay Packers’ punter Tom Masthay shared his story of sleeping in a closet while in college so he could save money. Later, when he became a successful NFL player, Masthay and his wife adopted a strict financial plan that includes saving for retirement, their children’s education and investing in low-cost index funds.
In another story, NBA player Kwame Leonard told Sports Illustrated he spends his summers in a two-bedroom apartment in San Diego and he often drives a rehabbed ‘97 Chevy Tahoe.
Leonard signed a five-year, $90 million contract in 2015. The Kelley Blue Book value for a 1997 Tahoe is $1,152.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]
© Entire contents copyright 2016 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.