The Rundown

Top 10 sports stars who blew fortunes

The Rundown

Basketball legend Dennis Rodman has burned through a £20 million fortune, and is now facing a potential spell in jail over unpaid child maintenance grants.

He's not the first sporting household name to end up bankrupt, however: we run down the top 10 sports stars who squandered their fortunes, starting with the basketball star himself.

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Former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman arrives at the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass., on Friday night, Aug. 1
Basketball: Dennis Rodman

In the 1980s and 1990s, Dennis Rodman became a basketball legend, playing in the same all-conquering Chicago Bulls team as the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

It wasn't just his on-court success that made him famous - not that he was short on that score, with five NBA championships and a place in the NBA Hall of Fame.

With his aggressive style and habit of dying his hair bizarre colours, he became one of the most recognisable faces in the sport - if not all of sport. His fame earned him an estimated $30 million fortune, and he enjoyed a lifestyle that saw him rub shoulders with showzbiz pals, make several movie appearances and marry Carmen Electra.

All that cost money, however, as did his 47ft speedboat (tastefully named 'Sexual Chocolate'), the illegal helicopters at his 40th birthday, a pick-up truck with his portrait painted on the bonnet and the endless parties at his beachside home.

Rodman, now 50, is said by his lawyer to be broke and alcoholic, and owes £500,000 in child maintenance payments to his third wife, Michelle, as well as nearly £70,000 in unpaid tax. The commissioner overseeing his case will issue his sentence on May 29, and has said that the fallen idol will be given community service rather than jail.

How he will catch up with his back payments on his current estimated salary of £30,000-a-year is another matter entirely. Rodman doesn't even have a pension, having cashed in his NBA plan to pay off debts a few years ago.

Football: Peter Shilton

The former England goalkeeper was once the highest-earning footballer in the country, but blew his fortune on gambling and disastrous business ventures. He recovered and emerged to become a motivational speaker, but sadly he recently split from his wife, Sue, who had stood by him through everything since 1970.

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Golf: John Daly

The 'Wild Thing' burst onto the scene when he arrived at the 1991 US PGA Championship as the ninth alternate, having driven all night to get to the course, and blew away the field with his unprecedented huge drives and an often miraculous short game touch. He instantly became one of the biggest draws in the game, and his 1995 Open Championship victory only added to the legend. His penchant for alcohol and gambling cost him everything, however: he reportedly once lost $1.65 million on Las Vegas slot machines in just five hours. He claims to have lost a total of $50 or $60 million, and was saved from bankruptcy several times by the generosity of his sponsors. He still has enough skill and public affection to be making a decent living.

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Evander Holyfield of the U.S. stands over Francois Botha of South Africa after knocking down Botha in the eighth round of their heavyweight bout at th...
Boxing: Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson

The once undisputed heavyweight champions of the world both earned vast fortunes in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Holyfield picked up over $250m in his career, but had the bank foreclose on his $10m house in 2008 (his house, incidentally, had 109 rooms). Holyfield cites poor business decisions and his two failed marriages (which have left him with huge child support bills) as the reasons for his financial woes.

Tyson, meanwhile, burnt through even more cash: some $300m and more went down the toilet - literally, at one point. Among his many extravagances was an exotic bathroom suite whose bathtub alone cost $2m! He was declared bankrupt in 2003 with a reported $34m debt. He returned to the ring to pay off his bills, but hit the rocks again and was convicted of cocaine possession in 2007. Today, he makes ends meet by appearing as himself in movies and tends his pigeons at home in New York.

Darts: Jocky Wilson

The recently-deceased darts legend was a double world champion who became an icon, earning millions and even having his image appear on Top of The Pops. But his excessive drinking began to take its toll - he once lost a game he'd been well in charge of as he got drunker and drunker, and fell off the stage at the end of the match. Two years after retiring to his hometown of Kirkcaldy, Fife, he was declared bankrupt and ended up living in a one-bedroom flat ravaged by diabetes and arthritis.

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Football: Paul Gascoigne

The likeable Geordie became the talisman of English football following his outstanding performances at the 1990 World Cup, and the nation's darling when he was pictured blubbing his eyes out after getting a yellow card in the semi-final. Injuries and heavy drinking meant that he rarely exhibited his talent to its full again, but it was after his retirement that things started to go seriously wrong. Bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, alcoholism and gambling problems sent him spiralling downwards. In 2008 he reportedly told paramedics to let him die while they pumped his stomach following a drink and drugs binge. He has blown £14m, and has narrowly avoided bankruptcy several times over the last few years after agreeing voluntary repayment schemes instead.

Football: Peter Marinello

The Scottish football star became Arsenal's most expensive signing when he joined the Gunners for £100,000 in 1970, and his career started in fine fashion with a goal against Manchester United. Hailed as the new George Best, he took that label too literally with a lavish livestyle and heavy drinking that undermined his talent. A string of injuries didn't help, and within three years he was scratching around for contracts wherever he could get them. His luck didn't change in retirement, and a failed business dealing in 1994 saw him declared bankrupt.

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Snooker: Alex Higgins

The Northern Irishman's flamboyant style earned him legions of fans, but even in his heyday his excessive drinking meant he only won two World Championshipa - despite being the most naturally-talented player of his generation. He earned millions, but drank it all away - often with the help of Jimmy White and Oliver Reed. By 2009 he was living in a caravan, and the year after needed friends to raise money for teeth implants to help him put on weight and avoid death. The money was raised but Higgins was never well enough to have the implants, and he died in July 2010.

Basketball: Latrell Sprewell

The NBA superstar's career came to a premature end in 2005 when he rejected a three-year, $21m deal from the Minnesota Timberwolves, claiming that he couldn't afford to feed his family on such a paltry sum. Despite having earned $96m in his career to that date, he found it even harder to keep those mouths fed after retirement. His financial woes included having his 70ft yacht and two $5m mansions repossessed, and getting sued for $200m by a former girlfriend.

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