It's no secret that many athletes live a life of luxury. Think of the pictures or videos of athletes with flashy sports cars, lavish boats, private jet planes, and sparkling jewelry. The money and fame of becoming a superstar is the result of hard work, dedication, and maybe hitting the genetic lottery. Perhaps no event illustrates that as much as the Olympics.
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, highlighted some familiar American athletes and created new stars. The faces and performances of snowboarders, skiers, and figure skaters are fresh in our minds. Don't forget the Summer Olympics. Those swimmers, basketball players, tennis players, boxers, and track stars hit it big too.
With success comes opportunities, like talk show appearances and endorsement deals. When the money starts (or more of it) rolls in, the question for athletes is: "What do I do with it?" Athletes aren't best known for their money-management strategies, so it sometimes makes for interesting purchases. Athletes like to flaunt their status by buying excessive toys.
For decades, Olympians were only allowed to be amateur athletes. That meant they couldn't be paid at all. No professional contracts. No endorsement deals. Nothing. However, it wasn't until 1992 when a cosmic shift happened. The United States sent the Dream Team, a group of NBA players, to the Barcelona Olympic Games. Since then, American professional basketball players have dominated the event.
The following list looks at 15 American Olympic athletes with the most excessive toys. Some are from are from past decades, and some are still competing. Regardless, they all bought excessive toys.
15 Shaun White
Shaun White, 31, is no stranger to the Olympic spotlight. He is one of the most recognizable faces of the Winter games. The snowboarder won gold medals in the halfpipe in the 2006 Torino Games, the 2010 Vancouver Games, and the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. His skill combined with his marketability helped make him a familiar name. The "Flying Tomato," as he is known, landed endorsement deals with Red Bull, Oakley, Burton, and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few. That has helped make him one of the richest Winter Olympians.
Sometimes White spends that money on excessive toys. At one point, he owned a 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640. The original base manufacturer suggested retail price was $313,600. White totaled the blazing-fast sports car within a month of owning it, according to an interview with Time Magazine.
14 Lindsey Vonn
Anyone who watched downhill skiing during the last three Olympic games, had to notice the media fixated with a blonde American with a bright smile. That is Lindsey Vonn. She became known for her looks as well as her ability on the slopes. In 2010, she appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and was 59th on Maxim's Hot 100 list. Vonn, 31, won gold in Downhill and bronze in Super-G at the Vancouver Games and bronze in Downhill in Peyongchang.
Vonn, who dated Tiger Woods from 2013 to 2015, is worth an estimated $3 million. Endorsements from Under Armor, Rolex, Head, Red Bull, and Oakley have lifted her to that level. She prefers her excessive toys in the form of Audis. She has two, an R8 Spyder Car and a RS6. They are worth between $130,000 to $150,000 and $124,000 to $140,000, respectively.
13 LeBron James
It's not only winter athletes who enjoy spending money on toys. Summer athletes, like LeBron James, do too. One of the best basketball players in history, James, 33, has won three NBA championships and four NBA most valuable player awards. He is a global celebrity and played in three Olympic games. James propelled the United States to gold in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London. He added a bronze in 2004 in Athens.
The leader of the Cleveland Cavalier's contract for the 2017-2018 season is over $33 million, making him the highest-paid player in league history. Add his salary to his major endorsement deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Kia Motors, and Beats by Dre, and there is a lot of money to spend. He certainly spends it. James could have his own car dealership. Some notable rides are a Porsche 911 Turbo S, a Ferrari F430 Spider, a Hummer H2, a Mercedes-Benz S63, a Lamborghini Aventador, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Range Rover HSE, and a Maybach 57S.
12 Michael Phelps
Before Michael Phelps "raced" a shark, he made waves in Olympic swimming pools. With 28 total medals, Phelps, 32, is the most decorated Olympian in history. "The Baltimore Bullet" burst onto the scene in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, winning six gold medals and two bronze medals. His unmatched success continued into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he won five gold medals and a silver. At those games, gold medalists earned $25,000, silver medalists got $15,000, and bronze took home $10,000.
The purse for winning medals isn't the only thing that pushes Phelps to an estimated net worth of around $55 million. His past deals with Visa, Kellogg's, Subway, and Under Armor account for the majority of his income. Phelps spends some of that cash on expensive vehicles. In his collection, he has a Cadillac Escalade, which costs between $72,000 and $94,000, a BMW 760Li, which runs between $74,000 and $141,000, a Range Rover, in the range of $83,000 to $186,000, and a Mercedes-Benz SL63, which is over $200,000.
11 Serena Williams
For Serena Williams, excessive toys these days are mostly reserved for her daughter Alexis Olympia, who was born on Sept. 1, 2017. According to a tweet on Nov. 11, 2017, Williams' husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, he had been buying too many toys.
The 36-year-old tennis superstar won the 2017 Australian Open a week after learning she was pregnant. The tournament victory was her 23 Grand Slam title. Williams has added four gold medals, one championship in Women's Singles and three Women's Doubles titles. She reps brands such as Gatorade, Nike, Delta, Puma, Pepsi, Chase Bank, IBM, and Beats by Dre. She previously had a deal with Aston Martin, but now she sells Lincolns.
While Alexis Olympia has toys, her mother does too. Serena owns an eye-catching red Bentley Continental GT with a reported price tag of about $300,000 and a Mercedes-Benz GLS. Cars aren't the only excessive toys Williams owns. She likes custom-made products. For example, she had specially made all-black Nike tennis shoes with increased ankle support and a custom-made Blackberry Bold 9700.
10 Venus Williams
Venus Williams is no slouch either. Serena's older sister has seven Grand Slam singles titles, tied for 12th-most in history. She also has five Olympic medals--four gold and one silver--giving her a share of the record for the most medals of any man or woman.
Beyond the tennis court, Venus has her own fashion brand called EleVen. The women's active wear line launched in 2007, the same year she earned her associate degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Venus Williams endorses products for Nike, Wrigley's, McDonald's, Tide, Avon Cosmetics, and Adidas.
At a net worth of about $75 million, Venus Williams can splurge on toys. Her top-of-the-line $115,000 Mercedes-Benz GLS is a prime example. If diamonds are a girl's best friend, Venus Williams always has company. Her platinum and diamond chandelier earrings cost $40,000 per pair.
9 Apolo Ohno
When it comes to American speed skating, Apolo Ohno is an all-time great. When it comes to soul patches, he is legendary. Ohno, 35, has eight Olympic medals to his name. The short-track specialist won three medals at the 2006 Turin Winter Games and at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. During the last two Winter Games, Ohno has been a commentator for NBC's speed skating coverage.
If Ohno's face isn't familiar from the speed skating oval, maybe it is from the dance floor. The Seattle native won the Mirrorball Trophy in 2007 on the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars. He could also look familiar from McDonald's, Subway, Hershey's, or Coca-Cola ads.
Ohno, whose net worth is around $9 million, once told Us Weekly, "I prefer experiences versus things." While that maybe true, he still enjoys some excessive toys. His customized 1964 Cadillac can be considered excessive because it is over 18 feet long. Ohno had an extensive car collection, but he sold some because he travels so often. Even so, he was interested in buying more sports cars, a Nissan GT-R, a Ferrari 458 Spider, or the Lamborghini Aventador Spyder, according to Vanity Fair.
8 Caitlyn Jenner
Long before she was a reality television star, Caitlyn Jenner was an Olympian. Jenner won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Summer Games, setting a world-record score. After the event, Jenner became a national hero to many and capitalized on her fame in the United States. Jenner's face covered a number of things from magazines to cereal boxes. As Olympic champion, Jenner became associated with "the breakfast of champions." She became the second athlete named spokesperson for Wheaties. Soon, Jenner added brands like Tropicana, Buster Brown shoes, and Minolta to her list.
These days, Jenner is 68 and has a net worth of around $100 million. She is known for the reality shows Keeping Up with the Kardashians and I Am Cait. Jenner's love of velocity--on land and in the air-- is clear in her excessive toys. Jenner owns a $1.5 million airplane, a purple Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
7 Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Professional boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather has that name for a reason. He is money in the ring and has stacks of it outside. In the ring, he retired with a 50-0 professional record. His 50th victory, a highly touted bout against MMA star Conor McGregor, reportedly landed him $300 million.
Before having the money and the fame, Mayweather took home a bronze medal in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Now, he takes home extravagant purchases. He has an outrageous luxury car collection. According to The New York Post, one Las Vegas dealer has sold him 116 cars, 36 of those for himself. Some of Mayweather's fleet are three Ferraris, a Porsche turbo, a Lamborghini, and three $2 million Bugattis. He also owns a $20,000 Cadillac golf cart. To get off the ground, he owns two private jets. His second purchase was a 14-passenger Gulfstream V jet worth $40 million.
6 Magic Johnson
For basketball player Magic Johnson, winning a championship in his first try is second nature. The hall of famer won an NBA title in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He literally helped the Dream Team to an Olympic gold medal in 1992, leading the team in assists by a wide margin. It was the first time current NBA players could participate.
Johnson retired three times from the NBA after announcing in 1991 that he contracted HIV. In the meantime, the five-time champion has grown Magic Johnson Enterprises into a thriving business. He has used that money to join a group of investors in purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion in 2012. To land major deals, Johnson owns a $40 million Gulfstream G-III private jet, featuring a conference room and a full bathroom with a shower. Johnson has an impressive collection of wheels, including a Mercedes-Benz, a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, Lincoln Navigator, and a Lincoln Mark LT.
5 Ryan Lochte
What would Ryan Lochte do? Depends on the situation. As a swimmer, he would be a force. He has won 12 Olympic medals, six of them gold. Lochte ranks second behind Michael Phelps for most swimming medals.
Outside the pool is another story. Lochte was viewed by some as a loveable, albeit dimwitted, hunk. This persona was on full display in interviews and on his short-lived reality show What Would Ryan Lochte Do? on E! In 2012, he earned over $2 million from deals with companies like Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Gatorade, and AT&T. Some of that commercial appeal died with "Lochtegate," a scandal during the 2016 Summer Games. Lochte and three other swimmers landed in hot water when they urinated in public and falsely claimed they were robbed at gunpoint.
While Lochte sometimes puts his foot in his mouth, his excessive toys are on or in those areas. Lochte loves his shoes. In 2012, Lochte said he owned a collection with more than 130 pairs. He also has sported a $25,000 diamond-encrusted American flag grill.
4 Kevin Durant
As a basketball player, Kevin Durant knows how to cash in from the floor. After all, he's led the league in scoring four times. Since being the second overall pick in 2007, KD has played at an exceptional level. He's a nine-time all-star, won NBA MVP in 2014, and won an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2017.
The former Texas Longhorn also knows how to cash in his checks and how to spend that money. He has a decked out private jet, a Cessna Citation Excel, worth $12 million. KD loves his customized vehicles. He has a GMC van, Jeep Wrangler, and Chevy Camaro all tailored to his desires. On top of that, Durant owns a $200,000 Mercedes-Benz Maybach and a $250,000 Ferrari California.
3 Lance Armstrong
Few athletes have fallen from grace as quickly as cyclist Lance Armstrong. He was a seven-time Tour De France winner and a three-time Olympian. In 2002, Armstrong was Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the year. Ten years later, Armstrong's victories and times were erased after admitting to using performance enhancing substances. Eight sponsors, including Nike, RadioShack, and Anheuser-Busch, dropped Armstrong amid the doping scandal.
Before Armstrong's public image was tarnished, he gained popularity as the face of the Livestrong Foundation. Who could forget those stretchy yellow bracelets? The organization provides free support services to cancer patients. Armstrong established the foundation in 1997 after battling the disease himself.
Armstrong spent his career on two wheels, but he appreciates four-wheeled transportation too. He owns a 1970 Pontiac GTO that was featured on the car show Overhaulin', a Nissan Leaf, Nissan Murano, Cadillac Escalade, and a Chrysler 300C.
2 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal has called himself "The Big Aristotle," a nod to the ancient Greek philosopher. Fitting since Shaq has become a Renaissance man after graduating from Louisiana State University. The 15-time all-star has been a basketball analyst, released four rap albums, appeared in many television shows and movies, and owns a plethora of businesses. Known across the globe, Shaq only played on the 1996 gold-medal winning Olympic team in Atlanta.
Shaq can go from Renaissance man to Superman. Not only does the big fella have a Superman tattoo on his arm, he has many related excessive toys. There's the 450-square foot Superman bed. He bought a custom-made 14-foot motorcycle from Orange County Choppers with the Superman logo on the handlebars. He also owns a customized Superman Cadillac Escalade. Add those to Shaq's massive collection--including Hummer H2s, a Lamborghini Gallardo, and a Mercedes-Benz S-Class--and he's got a lot of toys.
1 Michael Jordan
Basketball icon Michael "Air" Jordan launched himself into celebrity with his jaw-dropping dunks. These days, Jordan is taking off in his Gulfstream IV private jet. The plane currently sports an elephant-themed paint job repping a design of one of his sneakers.
The six-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist has a packed garage. Among Jordan's stylish rides are two Ferraris, a Porsche 911, a Range Rover, Cadillac XLR, a Chevy Corvette, an Aston Martin, a Toyota Land Cruiser, and Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. At around $300,000, the McLaren is one of the most expensive cars Jordan owns. The former Chicago Bull also rides a Ducati 999. The high-performance motorcycle has a price tag of $8,000.
If Jordan needs to check the time, he's got it covered. He has two stunning Rolex watches. One custom watch that he wears golfing cost $8,000. Another, featuring a platinum band and a face with blue diamonds, Jordan purchased for $85,000.