With the obscene amount of money athletes make per week, let alone per year, you’d think most of them would be relatively generous with their cash. Think again. In fact, for some of the greatest athletes to have ever graced stadiums and/or television screens, they’re actually quite cheap. Perhaps one of the major reasons these nine athletes have maintained their ridiculous wealth is because once the bill comes round their way when they’re at a club or a restaurant, the leave a very minimal tip – if they even leave one at all. With that in mind, we’ll be counting down nine of the worst tippers in sports history.
During an interview with Conan O’Brien, former NBA star Charles Barkley specifically called out several of the athletes on this list for not tipping well enough. Barkley – known for being a very generous tipper – probably has reason to not be impressed. Specifically calling out fellow basketball stars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the former has a reputation for never tipping anyone no matter what, and the latter has been known for being so bad at tipping he’s earned a nickname for it. When you consider the net worths of some of these athletes – for example, former NFL great Dan Marino’s net worth of $35 million, and golfer Tiger Woods’ $500 million net worth – there’s really no excuse to cheap out when those waiters don’t make nearly as much as they do.
Regardless of the fact that many of these athletes are among the greatest their sport has ever seen, reading about their lack of generosity to restaurant and bar staff on nights out makes it a lot harder to like them as a person compared to their status as an athlete. On that note, here are nine of the worst tippers in all of sports, listed in alphabetical order by last name.
9 Derrick Brooks
After your team wins a major trophy, it might be tempting to think that you’re on top of the world and therefore you’re above pretty normal things like tipping a waiter when you go out to eat somewhere. For former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, this is exactly the case. While going out to eat at a Tampa restaurant, Brooks’ meal was comped – in other words, given to him free of charge – just because the people at the restaurant were happy to see him go there. Sadly for those same people, Brooks wasn’t terribly grateful, and ate his free meal without leaving them a tip.
8 Allen Iverson
One of several basketball players on this list known for not being terribly generous with their tips, Allen Iverson’s story is a particularly head-shaking one. During his bachelor party in Philadelphia, Iverson threw two $100 bills at the feet of the manager and stormed out without leaving a tip. This came after he and his friends started another tab following his mother paying for their first one. One sports blogger who works in Las Vegas has also said that Iverson was playing a table game during the NBA All-Star Weekend and would pull “wads of $10,000 out of his jacket at a rate of 10k every 10 minutes” but would still be stingy with his money.
7 LeBron James
Although the man who recently returned to the team that made him a star is still one of the best players in basketball, LeBron’s reputation as a tipper is far from legendary. If anything, it’s legendary in exactly the opposite way his basketball career is. During a night out eating at Cleveland’s XO Prime Steaks, King James ate in a way that fits his nickname until 3:45 a.m., with a bill coming up to $800. Instead of giving the wait staff their fair share in tips for being there at such a late hour, LeBron instead gave them only $10 on top of his bill – in other words, 1.25 per cent.
6 Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
While he’s seemingly much more well-known nowadays for starring in family-friendly movies than for anything related to sports, the retired wrestler/former Calgary Stampeder Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is also known for his poor tipping. After eating steak at a restaurant in Texas, a waiter at that restaurant claimed that he had only left a five percent tip (reportedly worth seven dollars) when the bill came. In addition to that, he asked the restaurant to open early when he came to eat so that he could do so away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Perhaps he’s not as nice as he presents himself to be – at least not to waiters.
5 Michael Jordan
He might be the greatest basketball player of all time, but as far as his willingness to tip is concerned, Michael Jordan is so cheap he squeaks. In Chicago specifically, MJ has built up a reputation for leaving without giving any money whatsoever in tips – and that’s even in instances where his bills come up to more than $1,000. Described by Charles Barkley as being “as cheap as they come,” Jordan also has a reputation in D.C. for having never tipped anybody while in the twilight of his career with the Washington Wizards, and once left a Las Vegas nightclub also without leaving even the slightest bit of change in tips.
4 Dan Marino
Despite being arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history to have never won a Super Bowl, Dan Marino’s reputation with restaurant staff is far from glorious. According to wait staff who have served him in the past, Marino won’t even go to speak to them directly. Instead, he has his entourage (or one member of his entourage) go and tip them, despite his extremely high net worth of $35 million. Reportedly, Marino will tip $10 on a $210 tab – a five per cent tip if you round it up. One waiter who served Marino in Clearwater, FL has also claimed that he received a $10 tip on his $150 bill.
3 Scottie Pippen
They call him “No Tippin’ Pippen” for a reason. Like his former Bulls teammate Michael Jordan, former NBA great Scottie Pippen has a reputation for stiffing wait staff while out eating. For example, he has been known for leaving a $25 tip on an $800 bill at a restaurant in Portland (in other words, a three percent tip), and has also bragged about his non-tipping ways to his teammates. Yes, you read that right: bragging about not tipping. Furthermore, there’s a thread on the Internet where past waiters of Pippen’s discuss his less-than-generous reputation in restaurants.
2 Pete Sampras
In Andre Agassi’s autobiography, the tennis legend makes remarks about certain contemporaries of his on the court. One of the players who got it perhaps the worst from him was Pete Sampras, particularly with regards to how bad he was with tipping. After having seen Sampras leave a restaurant, Agassi – who has a reputation for being an excellent tipper – went to the valet and asked how much Sampras had tipped them, to find out he had only tipped one dollar. Agassi later apologized for his remarks after Sampras claimed to be upset about it, and it’s unknown how bad he actually is at tipping in general, other than just valets.
1 Tiger Woods
In stark contrast to his golfing peers Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods is well-known for not tipping at all, according to ESPN’s Rick Reilly as well as former coach Hank Heaney. Despite his $500 million net worth, Tiger never carries cash around with him. As a result, he’s had
mistresses girls he’s dated tip wait staff for him, and also once re-pocketed money that was intended as a five dollar tip on another night out during a game of $10,000-a-hand blackjack. Perhaps that’s why he’s been able to hang on to his obscene net worth for so long?