“Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad” is an adage that gets thrown around in public service announcements. At least half of that saying has been proven time and time again by notable sports personalities, even in this day and age when one would think that individuals who have millions upon millions of dollars and access to any number of resources would know better. The sports world is nevertheless filled with a long history of athletes either ignoring conventional wisdom or seemingly not caring about the amount of women they get pregnant or the amount of children they conceive so long as they are physically able to do so.
This type of lifestyle is hardly a secret among those who run the top professional sports leagues in North America. The National Football League is just one example of an organization that puts together seminars on how having multiple children with multiple women can lead to players who made millions of dollars going broke even before they hang up their cleats for good. Those rookie symposiums run by former players have not, as one would expect, gotten through to every young athlete who has made it into the NFL, and thus multiple members of the pro football world are mentioned in this piece.
It is easy for those on the outside, some of whom wait for famous people to experience falls from grace, to look at these types of stories and mock the athletes involved. Some of these cases are far from laughing matters. Athletes who find themselves on the hook for multiple child support payments sometimes put their health and even their lives at risk to make as much money as possible before they can no longer receive compensation for performing in their sports. Be smart, future athletes, and listen to advice handed down from generations of players who came before you.
10 Jason Caffey
A National Basketball Association player able to be a secondary piece on those Chicago Bulls teams that featured Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen had to feel blessed. Jason Caffey was one such individual. Caffey won back-to-back championships as a member of the Bulls, and the only reason he did not win a third was because he was traded before that opportunity arose. Caffey was apparently busy off of the court as well. He has been credited with having ten children with eight different women, not to mention being involved with an incident that reportedly left a man “too emotionally distraught to strip."
9 Willis McGahee
8 Antonio Cromartie
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is an NFL defensive back who plays for the New York Giants as of June 2015. Antonio Cromartie is a cornerback on the roster of the New York Jets who has earned the nickname “Fathers-Cromartie” because of the amount of children he has produced during his life. Cromartie is, if the tales are accurate, the father of 12 kids from a total of nine different women. Cromartie was in sports headlines in June of 2015 when he found himself in an Internet feud with Kellen Winslow Jr. Winslow dared Cromartie to learn the names of all of his children. Ouch.
7 Mike Tyson
It was, even in the days long before social media websites were in the imaginations of developers, far from a secret that “Iron” Mike Tyson was a womanizer. The former heavyweight champion of the world who spent time behind bars on a rape conviction has thus far been married three times, and he considers himself to have eight total children. Six of those are Tyson's biological kids from three different women. One of Tyson's daughters tragically passed away when she was a toddler. He also serves as the father of Gena Turner, the oldest daughter of his second wife.
6 Shawn Kemp
There are pockets of basketball fans who grew up in the 1990s who will largely remember Shawn Kemp for two reasons: His character was a monster in editions of the iconic video game NBA Jam, and Kemp has also been credited with fathering a bunch of kids during his younger days. It is considered to be common knowledge in the sports world that Kemp had fathered seven children with six different women by the time that the player had turned 28 years old. Internet rumors that have never been confirmed have estimated that Kemp's actual number of children could be in the double-digits.
5 Muhammad Ali
His legacy as the “The Greatest” in the history of the sport of boxing is set in stone, and nobody can take anything away from what Muhammad Ali accomplished during his legendary career. The number of children that Ali conceived before his body became affected by Parkinson's Disease has become a topic of debate over the past year or so. Known to have nine children with five different women, a 33-year-old named Kiiursti Mensah Ali emerged in September 2014, claiming to be a “secret daughter” of the boxing great. For what it's worth, the two do look quite a bit alike.
Manuel Francisco dos Santos, better known as “Garrincha,” was on the Brazil Men's National Teams that won the FIFA World Cup in 1958 and 1962, and he was awarded the Most Outstanding Player honor for the '62 tournament. He was named to multiple all-time teams, including the World Team of the 20th Century. “The Little Bird” was also known for having multiple affairs during his life. Garrincha is credited with having fathered at least 14 children, and the total amount of women that he impregnated is something that he himself may not have known when he passed away in 1983.
3 Travis Henry
Travis Henry was once a promising NFL running back, one who even made a Pro Bowl squad early into his career. His commitment to being the best professional possible was questioned multiple times, and his playing days technically ended with Henry on league suspension when he got himself into legal trouble. Henry was reportedly responsible for fathering 11 children with 10 different women back in 2009 when he was busted on drug charges. The athlete who had once put pen to paper on a contract worth over $22 million got himself sent to prison on cocaine-trafficking charges.
2 Calvin Murphy
The story of Calvin Murphy is one filled with ups, downs and some bizarre and ultimately unfortunate accusations. Murphy spent over a decade as an active player in the NBA, putting up such impressive statistics that he was named to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame a decade after he retired from the game. He was also credited with fathering 14 children from nine separate women. That story went from being an intriguing tale to a particularly ugly story when five of his daughters accused him of molestation. Murphy was, after a lengthy criminal case, acquitted of those charges in December of 2004.
1 Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield was, in the prime of his boxing career, “The Real Deal” and an in-ring “Warrior” who sacrificed his body, mind and likely years of his life to his profession. A man who should be recognized as one of the best heavyweight fighters of his era will instead go down as a sad story of a man who got at least six women pregnant. It is believed that Holyfield, who has had financial difficulties for years, has fathered no fewer than 11 children. Odds are that Holyfield, into his 50s, would try to secure a professional fight to this day in order to earn another paycheck if he could get cleared for a battle. He thankfully cannot receive that clearance.