Following in the not-so-proud tradition of ridiculous fad websites such as People of Walmart and Awkward Family Photos, the Rich Kids of Instagram recently took the world by storm. Although, unlike its predecessors that invoked mostly insults and mockery, the Rich Kids of Instagram have attracted predominately ire and disdain from the media and the public at large.
It's probably because there are few things more irritating to the middle class masses than seeing overprivileged narcissists whose only talents are talking about themselves (or taking photos of themselves) and spending their parents' money with absolute abandon.
As horrifying as it is, the Rich Kids of Instagram has actually given me a new perspective on the Rich Athletes of Instagram. Most athletes who are bad with money grew up with none of it, so it's more defensible. Yes, it's still annoying to see someone whose house is in foreclosure buying diamonds and sports cars, but at least they have jobs.
So forget the vile Rich Kids of Instagram. Instead, let's take a look at the Rich Athletes of Instagram who are living almost as large, but at least they're performing a service.
Let me see a show of hands from anyone surprised that one of Jerry Jones' boys travels by private jet.
Nobody? Didn't think so.
Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has jetted off to New York City and Atlantis in recent months, likely donning Reebok's finest ZigTechs.
Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice disappointed big time at the 2012 Olympics, failing to medal in any of her events.
But Rice didn't leave London empty-handed; she left with a pair of sneaks autographed by her new BFF, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, whom she was rumored to be romancing during the games.
If you really want to feel like a poor bastard, check out the lives that the dogs of professional athletes are living.
Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn earns his pina coladas and gigantic trucks, but those adorable dogs are just freeloaders.
Giants safety Antrel Rolle finally found some bling to go with his white suits and custom-spiked kicks. I guess a Super Bowl ring goes with everything, though.
Although, I am wondering if all those JELL-O shots had anything to do with Rolle thinking those shoes were a good idea.
It's good to be Clippers superstar point guard Chris Paul: traveling in private jets, donning custom gold Jordans to match your Olympic gold medal, parties in what looks like heaven and top-of-the-line golf clubs emblazoned with his nickname.
Too bad he plays for the Clippers.
If you thought you spotted the Dolphins running back running errands this summer, you probably did not.
Not unless you were picking up your dry cleaning in Miami, Vienna or Mykonos.
But you may have bumped into Bush's dog, who earns his living captaining chartered boats in Miami.
I almost forgot what boxing legend Mike Tyson looked like without a face tattoo and holding large amounts of money!
Apparently that face tattoo has been good for his social life, though. Tyson has been hanging with soap star Mark Consuelos, snowboarder Shaun White and rap music mogul P. Diddy in recent months and, obviously, bragging about it on Instagram.
Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins is set to earn just more than $3.5 million this year, a paltry sum by NBA standards. But the cost of living situation in Sacramento, a relatively undesirable location by California standards, works out in this kid's favor.
Cousins is no doubt eager to get out of Sacramento, but his dog is enjoying his lavish Sac-town lifestyle in the meantime.
Despite his penchant for the occasional headline-making faux pas, Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson's performance on the field earned him a big-time payday in early 2012.
Stevie J's money will keep him in bow ties and medallions for a long time to come, but it's his personality that has always lured in the ladies and landed him guest spots on SportsCenter.
I watched my share of Olympic swimming this summer, but hadn't heard of Australian Olympic sprint swimmer Eamon Sullivan before stumbling across his photos on Instagram.
I'm assuming he doesn't have anywhere near the medal haul of Michael Phelps, but he certainly is living the good life.
Bulls point guard Nate Robinson might not be the biggest name in the NBA, but he's living just as well as most of them.
It was actually difficult to narrow down his pictures to just four, because the only thing Robinson loves more than the finer things in life is taking pictures of himself enjoying the finer things in life.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison is one of the biggest, baddest dudes in the NFL. That's on the field, though; off the field he's apparently a big teddy bear—or a Pooh Bear.
Besides hanging poolside this summer, Harrison has been hanging with Winnie the Pooh, framing currency and hanging in the vicinity of very large animals. I hope that isn't a pet.
The Thunder's James Harden's Instagram photo feed is predictably entertaining. Much like the NBA's 2012 Sixth Man of the Year himself, Harden's photos are an eclectic and interesting bunch that are more than worth checking out, but without going entirely over the top.
There's no doubt that two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck rides (and walks) in style, but the two Super Bowls he's won with the Giants have earned him some things that money alone just can't buy—such as Super Bowl bling and trips to the White House.
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo's Instagram is pretty much what you'd expect from the meticulously manscaped footballer.
Actually, if anything, it was a little bit underwhelming given what I've seen of him.
Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge doesn't let the rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest get him in a funk.
When he doesn't have his Air Jordans on the gas of his epic Bugatti, Aldrige is jetting off on a private plane to swanky tropical resorts—doesn't get much more swanky than an oceanside infinity pool.
Ahh, now here's an athlete living large in a way that seems a bit more responsible.
Niners tight end Vernon Davis' Instagram photos show him living an enviable life, but not engaging in the kind of excess you'll see from a lot of other athletes.
Plus, look at Davis meeting the president—he looks like an adorable kid on Christmas.
Sixers forward Evan Turner is obviously very wealthy and wants everyone to know all about it.
There's really no other reason to plunk down money for a Rolex watch. He's a professional athlete and can't wear it to work, can't wear it on his jet ski and probably has very few activities on a strict timetable that require punctuality.
I really don't have any problem with athletes dropping cash on lavish items, particularly in their first few years as a professional.
Cars…watches…whatever—it's Vontae Davis' money.
But for some reason, it annoys me when men spend excessively on Louis Vuitton luggage. Are you the Dolphins cornerback, or Jessica Simpson?
Things haven't exactly gone well for the Cavaliers as a team since their one-man band LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.
But obviously things are going just fine off the court for one Kyrie Irving.
Who needs LeBron when you've got sick kicks, a sicker puppy, your own arcade and a candy apple red (and certified chick magnet) Ferrari?
It's no surprise that a long-time NFL starting running back has a sweet car, travels to exotic locales and is on the Calvin Klein free underwear mailing list.
But Ryan Grant also has someone awesome enough in his life to buy him a motorcycle for his birthday.
I got a high five for my last birthday.
Nets point guard Deron Williams is pretty much the king of Brooklyn.
That is a pretty good thing, because I know from watching Pretty Woman over and over years ago that shopping on Wilshire Boulevard is only for snotty rich people and hookers with a heart of gold.
Same thing with Lamborghinis.
Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is feeling the void left by playoff failure with plenty of material possessions.
Weatherspoon's sizable car collection, shoe collection and jewelry purchases must eat up a substantial chunk of his $725,000 salary.
I imagine the No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft makes a quite a good living over the life of his career, but let's just hope for the sake of Kings point guard Tyreke Evans that the checks keep rolling in for years to come.
In a league known for big personalities and bigger spenders, Evans manages to stand out among them—mostly because he owns enough diamonds to be seen from space.
I never would have thought that skateboarding could ever become so lucrative, but from what I've seen of Tony Hawk on Instagram, he might very well be the richest man in the world.
So let that be a lesson to all you kids out there: Drop out of high school immediately, and ask your parents for some money to buy a skateboard.
Fancy watches, expensive booze and gold medals are all par for the course this summer for the U.S. men's national basketball team.
However, the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony was the only member of the team I found on Instagram dressed like an urban Monopoly man—all he needs is a monocle.
Recently cut Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson is going to have a tough time paying his bills if he doesn't find a job soon.
He also might want to thinking about investing some of his money in the market or even putting some in the bank—shoes are a bad investment, and stacks of money covered in diamonds don't earn any interest.
Here we go again.
Ugly head-butting incident aside, Chad Johnson's eventual divorce from wife Evelyn Lozada was more than apparent on the couple's wedding day—he wore those horrifying shoes on the big day.
Oh, and apparently he pays his child support in cash; weird, but at least he pays.
Dwyane Wade might not be the biggest member of the Heat's "Big Three," but he certainly seems to be the biggest spender.
Hubolt watches, sick kicks and helicopters are just a few of the lavish indulgences D-Wade has been bragging about on Instagram.