There are two kinds of tippers in this world: the ones who tip generously whenever they go out to eat, and the ones who are cheapskates and don’t tip enough. In the world of sports, where athletes can rack up expensive bills on their nights out, this can especially be the case. Luckily for waiters and bartenders around the world, there are athletes who give them just a little bit more money than usual. In fact, sometimes they give a lot more money than was even on their bill to begin with. In this list, we’ll be counting down the nine most generously tipping athletes in the world of sports.
Looking at these nine athletes, it’s clear that not only do they make huge bucks, they have every excuse to not only rack up gigantic tabs at bars, restaurants and the like, but to also give the waiters a great end to their shift just because they can. Some athletes are willing to pay close to 100% of their bill as a tip, while others are willing to do one better and tip their waiter well in excess of both the bill and the gratuity that came with it – just ask Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning.
While there are athletes in certain sports that are just as well-known as the ones on this list in their respective sport, their tipping abilities are in direct contrast to their rivals: Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras, Phil Mickelson vs. Tiger Woods, Charles Barkley vs. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. As far as the ones who are in the good books of many a waiter and bartender, it shows that not only are they not stingy with money, they aren’t too cheap even when they make millions of dollars. Here are nine of the biggest tippers in sports, listed in alphabetical order by last name.
9 Andre Agassi
In direct contrast to his former tennis rival Pete Sampras – at least, according to what he says in his autobiography – Andre Agassi has been known for being a great tipper. For example, when going out once to eat at a restaurant in Washington D.C., the tennis legend’s tab came up to about $60. To some, this might be relatively modest for a rich, famous athlete. However, Agassi did one better when he left the tip: he tipped $100 once it was time to pay up – a tip adding up to 167%. Although Agassi took some flak for criticizing Pete Sampras for tipping one dollar to a valet, you can’t say he’s a hypocrite.
8 Marion Barber
Although he may be more well known these days for his brushes with the law than for his exploits on a football field, retired NFL running back Marion Barber understands the importance of tipping generously. After a night out at M2, a bar in New York City, Barber ended up racking up a $14,000 tab with a $3,000 tip (21.4%) attached to it. While his playing days might be over and his legal woes probably setting his pocketbook back even further, you can’t say he’s stingy with his cash, especially since this particular night out happened in 2009 in the midst of the recession.
7 Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley’s history as one of the greatest tippers in sports – and for that matter, celebrities in general – is pretty much unparalleled, and there are plenty of stories to accompany his generous-tipping legacy. For example, Barkley admitted in a recent interview with Conan O’Brien that he once tipped $25,000 to a blackjack dealer after playing a blackjack game and winning $700,000 out of it – and Barkley told Conan he thought he should have tipped even more. Barkley has also been known for frequently giving money to the homeless, giving millions of dollars to Alabama schools, and he once paid a Philadelphia busboy’s tuition.
6 David Beckham
Unlike his wife Victoria, who has a reputation for not being the most generous tipper, David Beckham has been known to do exactly the opposite. In fact, he’s been known to pay tips far larger than the actual bills. While out at a restaurant in L.A. with a few teammates while he was still playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS, Beckham drank only mineral water on a tab that also included some food and beer. Becks and his teammates rang up a $100 bill, but being the gentleman that he is, he tipped the waitress $1,000.
5 Kobe Bryant
Say what you want about Kobe’s personal character off the basketball court over the course of his career, but one thing he hasn’t been getting negative publicity for is his ability to tip well. One night while he was out at a nightclub in its VIP area, Kobe paid for two bottles of champagne for his friends. And that was just his friends, too: the basketball superstar reportedly only drank water during his night out. As he and his pals left the club at around 4 a.m., he tipped the waitresses $2,000. Although it’s not known how much the tab actually was, it’s still rather generous.
4 Tamba Hali
He’s been referred to as the NFL’s biggest tipper, and it’s pretty obvious as to why. After a night spent eating out with friends and family at Brazilian steakhouse restaurant Fogo de Chao (where he is reportedly a regular) following a big victory, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali racked up a bill of $1827.09, including a gratuity of $296.69 – pretty expensive in and of itself. Hali ended up leaving a $1,000 tip; good enough for 84% of what his tab had already come up to. The day after, Hali tipped a car wash attendant handsomely – to the tune of $400.
3 Peyton Manning
Not only is he still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Peyton Manning is also a complete gentlemen – including with waiters at restaurants. During a night out eating at a steakhouse in North Carolina a couple years back, Manning’s bill came up to $739, which included an 18 per cent gratuity added by the restaurant. Although he could have just as easily tipped a regular 15 percent, Manning did one better and gave the waiter an extra $200 and added a further $314 as a tip. Sadly for Manning’s waiter, he was fired from his job at the steakhouse after posting his receipt on the Internet for the world to see what a gentleman the quarterback is.
2 Phil Mickelson
In stark contrast to his golfing rival Tiger Woods – notorious for rarely ever tipping at all – Phil Mickelson’s reputation as a generous tipper knows few bounds. To paraphrase Rick Reilly of ESPN, Mickelson will give a little kid $100 after buying a 50 cent lemonade from them without asking for any change back. Moreover, he has been known for giving away money generously in not just a tipping context either: he once paid off the tuition and living expense increases of the daughter of former football player Conrad Dobler, and gave $1,000 tips to the men in the Champions locker room after his first win at the Masters.
1 Bubba Watson
Phil Mickelson isn’t the only professional golfing star to build up a reputation for tipping handsomely. Fellow Masters champion Bubba Watson has also been known to be generous with waiters once the bill comes around. After having won the green jacket at arguably golf’s biggest tournament, Watson went to go eat at Waffle House and despite the actual amount on his tab being unknown, he left a $148 tip at the end of the night. In the words of ESPN’s Rick Reilly, his rather generous tip – given the fact that it’s a Waffle House – was “bigger than a Bubba drive.”
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