Top Stories
Top Stories
Personal Finance

Foul ball: 10 top-earning athletes who lost a lot of money

Key Points
  • Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson, ordered to pay back a defaulted $2.4 million-plus loan and sued for $6.6 million by another creditor, is only the latest pro sports player to fall on financial hard times.
  • Here's a look at 10 well-known athletes who lost a lot of money and bounced back — or didn't.
Adrian Peterson #26 of the Washington Redskins looks on after being tackled by the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half at FedExField on Dec. 30, 2018 in Landover, Maryland.
Scott Taetsch | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Professional athletes suddenly striking it rich and then precipitously losing it all is a tale familiar to many.

The latest news on this financial front is that NFL star football player Adrian Peterson, a Washington Redskins running back, was ordered by a Maryland court to pay back more than $2.4 million to a lender after he defaulted on a 2016 loan. He's also being sued for $6.6 million by another creditor who claims he defaulted on a loan.

Peterson, 34, has earned a reported $99.2 million over his 12-year career. He just signed a new two-year, $5 million deal with the Redskins this spring, so all might not yet be lost.

Here's a look at 10 other well-known pro athletes who faced significant financial setbacks that they eventually bounced back from — or didn't.

Boris Becker

Shaun Botterill | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

The German three-time Wimbledon champ, 51, declared bankruptcy in 2017 despite having reportedly raked in anywhere from $63 million to $200 million during a 15-year tennis career that began back in 1984. But he seems to have regained his footing and is reportedly now worth about $10 million.

John Daly

Michael Reaves | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Pro golfer John Daly, 53, told ESPN in 2016 that he lost $98 million to gambling. The 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 Open Championship winner said he thinks he's won back about $48 million, but that still left him a jaw-dropping $50 million in the hole at one point. Today, Daly — who has admitted to past addiction problems — is still playing golf and is worth around $2 million.

Evander Holyfield

Phillip Faraone | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Estimated by some to have earned as much as half a billion dollars over the course of a three-decade boxing career that ran from 1984 to 2014, Evander Holyfield, 56, is now worth 1,000 times less, at about $500,000.

Bernie Kosar

Diamond Images | Diamond Images | Getty Images

It's thought this former Cleveland Browns quarterback, now 55, earned as much as $19 million in the course of his football career. But by one estimate, Kosar is now worth about $100,000, having lost it all to divorce settlements and corrupt agents.

Dan Marino

Joel Auerbach | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

The former Miami Dolphins quarterback legend reportedly lost as much as $14 million to a bad investment back in 2012. But Marino, 57, apparently is a comeback kid and is now, by some accounts, still worth around $35 million.

Warren Sapp

George Gojkovich | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

With an estimated $60 million in total earnings, retired NFL player Sapp could have lived on easy street for the rest of his life. But the 46-year-old former defensive tackle is now an estimated $1 million in debt and is reportedly pulling in only about half of that annually in salary from post-football gigs.

Lawrence Taylor

Jim McIsaac | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Reportedly having earned as much as $60 million in total, this 60-year-old former New York Giants linebacker today is worth about $100,000, according to one source. Legal and family troubles, partying and lavish spending were reportedly to blame.

Mike Tyson

Rich Polk | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Once the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in history, "Iron Mike" amassed more than $300 million in earnings and winnings — before losing most of it. Tyson's is a story of financial, personal and professional ups and downs, roller-coastering from downfall to comeback. Now 53, Tyson declared bankruptcy back in 2003. His current net worth is estimated by at least one source to be just 1/100th of his former wealth, at $3 million.

Michael Vick

Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Now reportedly worth an estimated $16 million, the 39-year-old former quarterback lost up to $130 million after a stint in prison, personal bankruptcy, spending and investment mistakes and an ill-advised and highly publicized dogfighting venture.

Vince Young

Handout | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Now reportedly $1.5 million in the hole, the 36-year-old former quarterback filed for bankruptcy in 2014 — just seven years after he'd signed a $25 million contract with the Tennessee Titans. Young told Sports Illustrated that he hadn't paid attention to his finances until his sports career was over — and it was too late.