Top12 Broke Athletes That Lost Everything

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We are all aware of how bad decisions can affect our lives soo adversely. Similarly, in today’s article, we will be focusing on some of the top broke athletes in the world. 

The athletes mentioned here were some of the most well-known faces in their industries. However, their series of bad decisions and choices led them to hit rock bottom. 

Diego Maradona (Source: Quotes of Famous People)
Diego Maradona (Source: Quotes of Famous People)

Not to mention, most of them were surrounded by numerous controversies and got themselves into trouble or two. So, get ready, because this is going to be an interesting topic. 

Top 12 Broke Athletes That Lost Everything

The list below about the top broke athletes are prepared by referencing various trusted sites such as Wealthy Diligent.

Rank Name of Players Sport
12 Dorothy Hamill Figure Skating
11 Darren McCarty Ice Hockey
10 Sheryl Swoopes Basketball
9 Lenny Dykstra Baseball
8 Terrell Owens American Football
7 Antoine Walker Basketball
6 Vince Young American Football
5 Warren Sapp American Football
4 O.J. Simpson American Football 
3 Diego Maradona Soccer
2 Michael Vick American Football 
1 Mike Tyson Boxing

12. Dorothy Hamill

Most famously known as the ‘America’s Sweetheart,’ Dorothy Hamill is one of the most popular figure skaters of the 1970s. 

Moreover, this talented athlete found herself loved not just in America but all over the world. Hamill was a legend in the skating scene, just like Michael Jordan in basketball. 

Dorothy Hamil (Source: Wikimedia)
Dorothy Hamil (Source: Wikimedia)

Most importantly, one of her most highlighted achievements was the gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics that took place in Austria. As a result, she is the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame of 1991 and the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame of 2000.

Although she had multiple successes 70s and early 90s, Hamill had to file for bankruptcy due to a failed business venture. This was after she purchased the Ice Capades that fell through.

As of now, Hamill has managed to come up financially and is doing fine. 

11. Darren McCarty

Known as the ‘Enforcer on the ice,’ Darren McCarty is a name that had shattered through the Ice Hocking community during the late 90s and the 2000s.

With a professional career spanning 17 years, this Canadian star made sure to imprint his name on the sport of Ice Skating. In his 17 years long Ice Skating career, McCarty found himself bouncing around from OHL, NHL, IHL, and AHL. 

Out of these, McCarty found the most success with the Detroit Red Wings. This was where he had won four Stanley Cups.

Darren McCarty (Source: Wikimedia)
Darren McCarty (Source: Wikimedia)

Although ice hockey players make less money than players from other sports, McCarthy was able to bag around $15 million during his playtime. 

However, a big bag doesn’t guarantee good decisions because, in 2006, McCarty filed for bankruptcy. This was due to his drugs addiction, gambling, and bad business ventures.  

Currently, McCarty is doing well and has started a marijuana brand for supplying legal medical pot. 

Some athletes have earned the best athlete name title after changing their names. Here we have the best athletes known by different names!

10. Sheryl Swoopes

When it comes to Basketball, Sheryl Swoopes is a name that’s much heard of. Sheryl is a highly respected figure in the sport, especially in the women’s section. 

Moreover, Swoopes won 4 WNBA Championships, 3 MVPs, 6 All-Star Game Appearances, and led the WNBA to score twice. Also, playing for team USA, she secured 3 gold medals in the Olympics. 

Swoopes was so good in the sport that her name was placed in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame after retiring.

Sheryl Swoopes (Source: Wikimedia)
Sheryl Swoopes (Source: Wikimedia)

When it comes to payment contracts, players of the WNBA make a lot less than the NBA. However, this wasn’t the case for Swoopes because she made over $50 million throughout her professional career.

Unfortunately, she lost all of her fortunes in bad investments, corrupt lawyers, and debts. As a result, she had to file for bankruptcy in 2004. 

At the moment, Swoopes is doing well, and she is the president of ‘Sheryl Swoopes Foundation for Youth Inc.’

9. Lenny Dykstra

When it comes to Major League Baseball, Lenny Dykstra is another legendary figure who was best known for his fearless play. 

In his 11 year-long professional career Dykstra played for the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets. 

Moreover, this prominent figure was a 3-time All-Star, 1986 World Series Champion, and the Silver Slugger Award winner.

His net worth was recorded to be around $58 million in 2008.

Lenny Dykstra (Source: Wikimedia)
Lenny Dykstra (Source: Wikimedia)

Unfortunately, this was all going to hit the floor because, in 2009, he filed for bankruptcy for failure in ventures, drug abuse, overspending, fraud, and various other offenses. In addition, Dykstra also had to spend 6 1/2 months in prison. 

Since then, Dykstra has been on and off the court for various offenses. 

8. Terrell Owens

Love him or hate him, Terrell Owens was one of the most entertaining professional NFL athletes to walk the stadium. 

In addition, Owens had a 16 years long prominent professional career in the NFL. During his time at the NFL, Owens received 5 First-Team All-Pro honors, became a 6 time Pro Bowl, 3rd All-Time in receiving yards, and numerous other prestigious awards. 

Owens was also voted for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame.

According to the analysts, Owens earned around $80 million throughout his professional career. His popularity and brand deals filled his wallet like every famous NFL athlete. 

2 May 2017; Terrell Owens (Source: Wikimedia)
2 May 2017; Terrell Owens (Source: Wikimedia)

Unfortunately, Owens became one of the top broke athletes when he filed for bankruptcy in 2012 due to bad investments.

As of now, Owens is doing much better and has become more financially successful. 

7. Antoine Walker

Antonie Walker isn’t an exception when it comes to early success and fame. But, with a successful playtime at college, Walker got the push he needed in the professional field.

In other words, Walker was the SEC Tournament MVP, a member of the First Team All-SEC, and also the winner of the 1996 NCAA National Championship. This was all during his time at the University of Kentucky.

Antonie Walker (Source: Wikimedia)
Antonie Walker (Source: Wikimedia)

Talking about his achievements, Walker was a three-time NBA All-Star and the NBA Champion of 2006.

And throughout his 13 year-long professional career, Walker bagged himself around $108 million.

However, his $108 million wasn’t going to stay for long because, in 2010, Walker filed for bankruptcy after recklessly spending and gambling. 

6. Vince Young

Most notably known as ‘The hero of the 2006 Rose Bowl Game’, Vince Young is one of the most successful quarterbacks to make today’s listing of top broke athletes. 

This NFL legend was already a champion before joining the pro leagues. Because during his college years, Young won multiple awards and helped secure multiple victories.

Vince Young (Source: Quotes of Famous People)
Vince Young (Source: Quotes of Famous People)

After joining the NFL, Young became the Offensive Rookie of the Year and was named into the Pro Bowls two times. 

Moreover, Young earned around $64 million during his career as an athlete. This includes his brand deals money. 

Unfortunately, after a series of reckless spending and mismanagement of money, Young filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

Presently, Young is stable and is enjoying his life with his family. 

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5. Warren Sapp

Dominating the college football, Warren Sapp wasn’t an exception when it comes to having one of the best plays. Plus, how can we forget that this talented athlete was the winner of the 1991 National Championship and the receiver of the 1994 All-American honor?

During his 13 seasons in the NFL, Sapp made 7 Pro Bowl appearances, received First-Team All-Pro honors 4 times, and most notably won the 2003’s Super Bowl with Tampa Bay.

Also, how can we forget that Sapp’s defensive tackle of 96.5 sacks is the second-highest in NFL. Throughout his professional career, Sapp earned $82.2 million. 

Warren Sapp (Source: Wikimedia)
Warren Sapp (Source: Wikimedia)

Sadly, after reckless spending and some legal troubles, Sapp filed for bankruptcy in 2012. 

Currently, Sapp is doing well, likes to travel with his family, and loves fishing. 

4. O.J. Simpson

There isn’t a fan of the NFL who doesn’t know O.J. Simpson; this NFL legend dominated the field between the 60s and 80s. 

Having played 11 seasons professionally, O.J. Simpson became the first player to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a single season. His record for the single-season yards per game average at 143.1 is still untouched to this day.

O.J. Simpson-on-his-trial
O.J. Simpson on his trial (Source: Instagram)

After his retirement, Simpson’s name was placed in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Simpsons earned around $11 million during his professional career. But, of course, this would go away after he got arrested for murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages in the civil trial.

In soccer history, fans have witnessed some famous and unique goals. So, in today’s article, we have come up with our own top list.

3. Diego Maradona

Known as ‘The Golden Boy’ of Soccer, Diego Maradona was an Argentine professional soccer legend globally considered one of the most outstanding players in the sport’s history.

Although Maradona played for different clubs teams, fans loved him and followed after him to whichever club he joined.

Also, let’s not forget Maradona was one of the big reasons for Mexico’s 1986 FIFA World Cup victory. It was here where Maradona received the ‘Golden Ball’ award and also became one of two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century Award.

It is reported that he earned around $43 million playing soccer. 

Diego Maradona (Source Metro)
Diego Maradona (Source: Metro)

Sadly, Maradona became one of the top broke athletes after getting involved in a tax dispute with Italian authorities dating back to his time playing in Napoli.

During his demise, Maradona had a net worth of $500 thousand.

You might want to listen to the audiobook of Maradona named “Maradona: The Hand of God.

2. Michael Vick

Agree or not, Michael Vick is the best dual-threat quarterback to play in the NFL. He is the player who entirely transformed the quarterback position like no other player.

Professional career lasting 13 seasons, Vick was the first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Let’s not forget that Vick still holds the record for the most career rushing yards done by a quarterback (6,109).

Michael Vick
Michael Vick attending a press meet (Source:

According to Sports Illustrated, talking about his total earnings, it surpassed $100 million. 

However, Vick had to file for bankruptcy due to bad investments, lawsuits, illegal activities, and money mismanagement. 

1. Mike Tyson

Well-known as ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet,’ Mike Tyson is a legend everyone knows of. With 50 victories and 6 losses, Tyson is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

Not to mention, he was the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title. He was 20 years old during this feat.

In addition, Tyson was the first heavyweight boxer to hold the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles continuously.

As dominant as he was in boxing, he was equally controversial. Talking about his earnings, Tyson earned over $300 million throughout his boxing career.

Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson

However, Tyson became one of the top broke athletes after getting in trouble for a few offenses, extravagant spending, drug addiction, and lawsuits. 

At the present time, Mike Tyson has brought many positive changes and is doing very well, financially, physically, and socially. 


From today’s article, it can be seen how easily one can lose everything that has taken years to make. One simple bad decision is all it takes for all of it to come crumbling down. 

Hence, we must always be careful about what we say, what we do, and how our actions affect others around us. 

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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