Unwelcome club of sports’ fallen heroes

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Boris Becker has moved into the unwelcome club of sports’ fallen heroes. A not so illustrious club – the fallen greats of sports world. The icons and idols during their heydays, these legends degraded to the stage which can only be a harsh lesson on how a billionaire celebrity must not lead the life.

Read: playboy-becker-loses-judged-bankrupt

InsideSport brings to you the list of 10 sporting legends, whose sharp decline led them to bankruptcy. Celebs or common man – all would like to stay out of this elite club.


Johny Unitas

John Constantine Unitas, nicknamed “Johnny U” and “The Golden Arm”, was an American football player in the National Football League (NFL). Unitas and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 1991 with debts of some $3.2 million. To make matters worse, his family eventually fought over the rights to his memorabilia after Unitas’ death in 2002.


Kenny Anderson

NBA All-Star who earned over $60 million in a 14-year NBA career winded up in bankruptcy in 2005. Well, by purchasing eight cars and a Beverly Hills estate and then getting divorced three times and fathering seven kids that he needed to pay child support for. And finally, losing a court challenge to a prenuptial agreement which allowed his first wife to take half his assets.



America’s Sweetheart, as she was known was a skating champion. Winning the Olympic figure skating gold medal in 1976 and became the star attraction in the Ice Capades skating show until 1984. But then, Hamill made the ultimate bad decision to purchase the Ice Capades in 1993 trying to revive interest in the event. Finally, Hamill sold the company in 1995 and filed for bankruptcy the following year.


Marion Jones

Marion Lois Jones, also known as Marion Jones-Thompson, is an American former world champion track and field athlete and a former professional basketball player for Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. Jones grabbed the spotlight by winning 3 sprinting gold medals at the Sydney games in 2000. But in 2002, she was accused of injecting herself with PEDs several times in Sydney. She finally confessed in 2007 as part of a plea deal involving check-fraud charges. Her earnings dried up, she was stripped of her medals, served six years in prison, and finally had to file for bankruptcy.



One of the most iconic Argentinian footballer, Diego Maradona in March 2009 was accused by Italian officials that he still owed the Italian government $ 41.34 million in taxes; #26.26 million of which was accrued interest on his original debt. The authorities went on to freeze his assets. Maradona, slated to visit India later this year, is currently unemployed.




Mark Brunell still holds the NFL record for most consecutive completions in a single game? He completed 22 straight for the Redskins against Houston in 2006 (David Carr has since tied it). But even though the Super Bowl champion QB earned over $50 million in his 17-year NFL career, his business acumen didn’t match his passing prowess. His real estate ventures tanked along with the housing market, his company defaulted on multiple loans, and Brunell filed for bankruptcy in 2010 with a whopping $25 million in liabilities and just $5 million in assets.



The heavyweight boxing great blew through an estimated quarter billion dollars in earnings? By mimicking Kenny Anderson and fathering lots of children – eleven to be exact. In 2008, the bank wound up foreclosing on Holyfield’s $10 million, 100+ room home in suburban Atlanta. Boxing champions can make a lot of dough and Holyfield was no exception. Plus, he appeared in movies and TV shows and had endorsements for grills, video games, and sodas.



McCarty helped the Detroit Red Wings win four Stanley Cups and played for 15 NHL seasons as a winger. But his fiscal downfall couldn’t be pinned on any one thing. McCarty went through a divorce, gambled quite a bit, and drank more than his fair share of alcohol. When he filed for bankruptcy in 2006 with more than $6 million in liabilities, he claimed that his business partner forged McCarty’s name in order to pull in a $650,000 salary.



The former NCAA national champion signed a $26 million deal with the Titans in 2006 and proceeded to flush it all away over the next several years. Young reportedly spent as much as $200,000 a month, including $5,000 a week at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant during his rookie season. He even borrowed money to throw himself a $300,000 birthday party… during the NFL lockout, when he wasn’t being paid. His frivolous spending (along with child support payments for four kids with four different women) caught up with him this past January when he filed for bankruptcy.



The biggest fallen hero of sports. The perennial heavyweight champion in the late 1980s, Tyson amassed between $300 and $400 million during his boxing career. But when you throw cash at mansions, high-end automobiles, and pet tigers, even that much money can disappear before you know it. When he declared bankruptcy in 2003, he owed $13 million to the IRS and $9 million in his divorce settlement. Some reports say that Tyson was worth less than seven hundred dollars at one point after his bankruptcy. His latest venture is an animated superhero cartoon based on his persona. Time will tell how much can that turns out to be.