Many athletes nowadays, even half decent athletes, who participate in the world’s most watched, most popular sports around the globe earn what a lot of people deem to be a ridiculous amount of money, millions of dollars just for kicking a football, hitting a baseball, or dribbling a basketball. I know there’s more to it than that, a lot more goes into being a pro sportsman – it’s a nice gig if you can get it, be smart with your cash and you’re set for life. People tend to be envious of the salaries earned by sportsman. To take that famous saying from The Wolf Of Wall Street, “give me that amount of money, I know how to spend it better” – that’s probably how a lot of people feel, and judging by these ridiculous spending habits, these utterly stupid purchases that sportsmen have made, they could be right.
But many athletes don’t give their futures a second thought; when they get their salaries, they start earning millions, then spend, and spend hard. Sure, they’ve earned their money and are entitled to splash their cash on whatever they want, but some of their purchases, their frivolous spending, causes a lot of raised eyebrows; sometimes it seems they spend just for the sake of spending, without much thought, and it’s evident they haven’t really thought about it because these are the athletes who tend to end up in trouble financially at some point down the line.
So, here it is – get ready for a lot of incredulous head shaking to begin – 15 athletes who have splashed their cash on the most ludicrous things.
15 Ellis Coleman - Pet Flying Squirrel
Ellis Coleman isn’t the most prominent name on this list, nor does he participate in one of the world’s biggest sports or earn millions for his endeavors, but what he spent what little money he earned competing as a wrestler on was just so ridiculous, hence he had to make this list.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Ellis represented the USA in wrestling, the Greco-Roman 60 kg competition to be more specific. He didn’t set the world alight, but it did enable him to bring his famous move onto the world stage. Ever since he started his wrestling days, Ellis has made one move his own: jumping over his opponents’ back as he grabs them and takes them down – a move that’s earned him the nickname, the “Flying Squirrel.” It’s a move that’s made him famous and one he’s used time and time again in various competitions.
Ellis had found fame and was dedicated to making it last and for that nickname to stick, so what did he do? He went and bought a pet flying squirrel, that’s what. He named the squirrel “Rocky” – of course, what else would you call a pet squirrel – and apparently it cost him $500, a hefty sum for someone who’s not earning megabucks.
14 Terrell Owens – Bingo Hall
Terrell Owens is truly a larger than life character. He was exuberant on the football field, known for his often over-the-top touchdown celebrations, and that was totally fine, fans loved it, because he was able to back up those wild celebrations with exceptional performances. He was also larger than life off the football field; he lived life large – and would probably still be doing so had bankruptcy not gotten a hold of him – and went on frivolous spending pursuits, spending his millions on truly ridiculous stuff. One of these things he thought would be a good idea to buy, was an entertainment complex, a complex that included a bingo hall - not the smartest of decisions from someone who was an active NFL player at the time, and wasn’t allowed to invest in gambling. Secondly, he didn’t do his due diligence before shelling out megabucks for the complex; a number of things didn’t adhere to Alabama’s rules and regulations, hence why it never got off the ground and the whole investment was a failure from the get go.
13 Lenny Dykstra - Wayne Gretzky's Custom Designed Home
Upon first hearing about this, it doesn’t sound too farfetched or too ridiculous. Wayne Gretzky's an NHL legend, and he did have one fine home, so lots of people would’ve loved to have purchased his not so humble abode when it went up for sale. Lenny Dykstra, former Major League Baseball centre fielder, wasn't sparing any expenses. He spent $18,500,000 to be exact. That’s how much he shelled out for the former NHL star’s home, and no one gave it a second thought – he was after all, loaded. But what people didn’t know is that he was orchestrating a financial fraud. He had lost a ton of cash due to poor business decisions, tried to cover everything up, and essentially conned people into thinking he could afford that mansion, but in reality he didn’t have a penny to his name. Not a good idea, shelling out upwards of $18M for a prime piece of real estate if you’re broke. His fraudulent activities eventually came back to haunt him, he was caught, and ended up doing prison time; needless to say, he lost the house too.
12 Michael Vick – Dog Slaughterhouse
This one’s seriously strange. We’ve become accustomed to hearing about athletes spending their salaries on jewellery, fancy cars, houses etc. But a dog slaughterhouse? That’s a new one.
Michael Vick has only just retired from the NFL, but he must be incredibly thankful that he was able to do so of his own accord. He got in five more years of NFL action then he thought he would, because it was very nearly all finished for him back in 2007.
It was discovered that he was involved in a dog fighting ring, which was of course, illegal, and something that he’d been responsible for bankrolling. He owned a K-9 slaughterhouse, and after police raided the facility, they found dogs that had been abused, tortured, that were kept in shocking conditions, not to mention the drugs and a gambling ring. His legal fees and subsequent prison sentence financially crippled Vick, and are thought to have cost him in the region of $130,000,000.
11 Gilbert Arenas – Shark Tank
Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas was renowned for living the lavish lifestyle. He spent his cash on the normal stuff – normal for people earning that kind of pay-packet anyway – on fancy cars, parties, the usual, but also shelled out on some truly ridiculous things, things that ended up costing him a load of dough.
Gilbert basically turned his home in D.C. into a shark-infested mansion, and spent millions on the whole thing, millions that were subsequently wasted when he was traded to Orlando. The shark tank cost him a ton of dough, including thousands a month just for its upkeep.
When he was traded, he couldn’t bear to part ways with his beloved shark tank, so it took him until 2013 to put it on the market. Of course the giant shark tank’s would have been the main selling point, as would the three giant aquariums he had in the mansion. The sharks weren’t just contained to a single tank either; they were all over the place, in the entryway, in his rec-room, the foyer area, the den and near the pool – breaking glass in Arenas’ place really would have had serious implications!
10 Chris Singleton - $10,000 Worth Of Lottery Tickets
Chris Singleton currently applies his trade in Greece, playing for the Greek basketball side, Panathinaikos. He’s still a relatively young lad at the age of 27, and so when he started earning megabucks, he started to spend, wasting the majority of his income on anything and everything. But he wanted more of it, more cash, lots more of it. This is one guy who thought he was using his brain and was embarking on a high-percentage business proposition. That proposition was buying as many lottery tickets as possible, stacks and stacks of lottery tickets, in the hope of getting some winning numbers, getting the golden ticket so to speak, and pocketing even more cash. That’s exactly what he did, and he went out and spent $10 grand on lottery tickets, but the gamble didn’t pay off, so it was essentially money down the drain. It’s still small change to a guy on Chris’ salary, but even so, he’d have been better off spending it on jewellery, a night out, a party, something he could get some enjoyment out of rather than wasted pieces of worthless paper.
9 Nelson Cruz – Fire Truck
I’ve thrown a curve ball at you here, because although this might seem like a ridiculous purchase, it’s actually the anomaly in this article, an odd one to throw into the mix. Most of you after hearing about a pro baseball player buying a fire truck, probably think he’s going to be buying it for his own amusement, just because he can, just because he’s always wanted one. I wouldn’t put that past a lot of pro sportsman, in which case it would be a ridiculous purchase and raise a lot of eyebrows. But Nelson’s heart was in the right place when he purchased the fire truck, and he did so for a reason.
Nelson Cruz grew up in a very poor area of the Dominican Republic. The city he grew up in was so poor in fact, that it didn’t even have a single ambulance or fire truck, so Cruz, after making a success of things, wanted to give something back to help his fellow citizens, so he bought the area a fire truck. That’s what you call a pretty decent gesture!
8 Novak Djokovic – World’s Supply Of Donkey’s Cheese
Yes, you read that correctly: Novak Djokovic, one of the greatest – and incidentally, wealthiest – tennis players of all time, spent, what we can only presume to be a ton of cash – not that it would’ve dented his bank balance in the slightest – on a world’s supply of donkey’s cheese!
Novak has become famous for his health fads, for going on certain diets, and manipulating his body through food to try and better his tennis game, but this is one health fad that (besides being difficult, because getting donkey cheese is quite hard) that no one expected.
It’s the world’s most expensive type of cheese made from donkey’s milk, and Novak bought the entire annual production of the cheese for his chain of restaurants. The cheese, known as “pule,” in his Serbian homeland, where it’s made, is truly decadent, luxurious, and became Novak’s when he snapped up the donkey farm in Serbia, the only place where the cheese is made.
7 Darnell Dockett – Alligator
Darnell Dockett had a ten year career in the NFL playing for the Arizona Cardinals, and he had a pretty decent time of it too. He was a mainstay of the Cardinals’ side, and was a consistent performer, solid without being spectacular, but his prowess on the football field still earned him plenty of plaudits.
He was always there but never really in the limelight for his footballing accomplishments, but one thing that did get plenty of people talking about him was his choice of pet. In 2011, Darnell ended up getting himself a pet alligator – certainly an impulse purchase and a spending decision that raised plenty of eyebrows.
Darnell took a trip to the Florida Everglades, was attacked by a gator during his time there, and so naturally, he had to then go and buy one for himself. It’s unlikely to have cost him an arm and a leg – in financial terms – but it’s still, as I’m sure many of you would agree, a truly weird and just downright ridiculous purchase.
6 Danny Granger – Bat Cave
If you’ve got cash to burn, what do you go and spend your money on? Developing the lower floor of your house into a Bat Cave of course. Now, most people customize their house, pimp it out so to speak, make a games room, maybe a man cave, but a bat cave? That’s certainly a new one. Danny Granger’s subterranean bat cave would’ve cost a bomb, and it wouldn’t have gotten him a return when it came time to sell the house on, unless he finds someone who loves that kind of stuff – a young guy with money to burn and an obsession for the strange and wonderful, a guy kind of like him! It was made out to be like the Bat Cave from the actual Batman movies. The drive-in pathway, the tunnel that illuminates as the car drives through, it had all that – actually kind of cool if you think about it.
5 Deuce McAllister – Nissan Dealership
From the kind of awesome Bat Cave – but still ridiculous I might add – to the downright ludicrous. If you’re going to earn millions playing pro football, at least spend it on something a little better than this: a Nissan Dealership. Deuce McAllister was probably thinking about his retirement, ways to keep a steady income coming in, but this is one investment strategy that went belly up, as did most of his other financial dealings actually. He was eager to make his money work rather than just having it all sit in a bank account, but perhaps he should have done just that because in the end, he ended up losing it all. He purchased a Nissan dealership for around $1,500,000, it was an utter flop from the get go – I guess people just weren’t interested in buying Nissan – and he ended up having to auction off his Louisiana home.
4 Curt Schilling – Video Game Studio
When Curt Schilling retired from baseball, he really wanted to continue living his life in the limelight, and wanted to be known for something, not just an ex-baseball player. So naturally, he started out on the path of creating his very own video game empire. That would be great if he knew anything about video games, or the business side of things that comes with such a huge project, but he didn’t have a clue, and that venture ended up crashing and burning. He named the company “38 Studios,” his number from his baseball days, but it didn’t bring him much luck this time around. He pumped a staggering $50M into the venture, and in the end, they only released one game, “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning” which actually did quite well, but the problem was that it wasn’t enough to keep the company afloat, and 38 Studios subsequently went broke and called it a day in 2012.
3 Evander Holyfield - 54,000 Square Foot Home
Upon first reading this, it doesn’t sound too ludicrous a purchase. Evander Holyfield was after all, one of the greatest boxers to have ever laced up the gloves, and he earned a ton of money during his days in the ring because of it…but not this much money. Perhaps it’s all those headbutts, that biting, those ferocious punches that he suffered at the hands of Mike Tyson that left his head in a bit of a spin, that left him unable to do simple math, because there was no way Evander could’ve afforded that place. He probably thought once you buy a place, that’s the only money you’re ever going to spend on it, but of course that’s only the beginning. The mansion cost him $20,000,000, had over a 100 rooms, bowling alleys, was kitted out with plenty of other stuff, and cost him $155,000 a year in taxes. When you add to that his other spending habits and paying child support to his many kids, he was left without a dime, and the house ended up having to be sold for $7.5M – a massive loss.
2 Scottie Pippen – Private Jet
What the hell is Scottie Pippen, retired NBA legend, going to need a private jet for? It’s not like he’s Michael Jordan! No, but seriously, there is no reason for Scottie to have shelled out $3,400,000 for a private jet, other than just to look cool, just to be able to say “look what I’ve got.” It was a ridiculous purchase, and ended up contributing to him becoming bankrupt. His financial advisor was actually pretty dodgy and ended up being arrested for bank fraud; Scottie must have clocked that something wasn’t right when his advisor gave him the go ahead to spend a crazy amount of cash on a private jet, on something that would just sit and look pretty on the runway. To make matters worse, when they bought the jet, Scottie’s team missed the scheduled inspection, found out it wasn’t fit to be taken in the air, and had to shell out another $1M in repairs, except Scottie couldn’t afford it. The jet never took off and ended up being a huge waste of time and money.
1 Mike Tyson – Tigers
Who else is going to be number one on this list but Mike Tyson? The baddest man on the planet is also one of the stupidest when it comes to blowing his cash, but one of his purchases shocked people more than most. It’s no wonder he ended up going broke and having money worries down the line when he spends his cash on things like this, things that shouldn’t even be allowed to be brought really, especially by someone with Tyson’s fragile mind.
He wanted to add to that whole terrifying monster persona, and did that by getting himself three Bengal Tigers. Yes, three! It cost him $140,000, but he’s another guy who didn’t do the math. One tiger eats 40 pounds of meat a day, beef costs around $3.87, so just keeping one of those beasts fed for a year would’ve cost him another $60,000. And this was on top of his many other lavish purchases. No wonder his fortune disappeared in the 90s!