25 Crazy Things Athletes Have Done with Their Paychecks
Ever buy a walking cane with a golden lion head handle? How about a truck bed’s worth of Ranch Pringles?
Making those kinds of purchases requires strange circumstances, spontaneity and the odd willingness to spend money in weird or ridiculous manner—something sports figures specialize in, of course.
The following are some of the craziest, strangest and/or most unexpected monetary expenditures that athletes (and coaches) have ever put on the books.
Some involve larger-than-life, swinging-past-your-knees money while others cost less than a side of indigestion at Taco Bell.
But they all share the same strange edge of the unexpected and ridiculous.
Rich, creamy donkey cheese—can you ever get enough of it?
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic allegedly couldn’t, and was said to have bought the entire world’s supply of what is said to be the most expensive cheese in the world.
First reports indicated that Djokovic purchased the only Serbian donkey farm where the cheese—known as “pule"—can be made.
Djokovic would later deny that he bought the entire world’s supply, but instead had merely tasted the cheese and considered serving it in a chain of restaurants he plans to open in Serbia.
Buying a Mugger Some McDonald’s
Former Philadelphia 76ers guard Lou Williams (now with the Atlanta Hawks) was driving in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve in 2011 when he was approached by an armed robber at a stoplight.
Then something loopy happened.
Apparently the gunman recognized Williams and changed his mind about the whole kill-you-and-take-your-money thing, and praised the NBA player for his positive impact on the community.
“A guy tried to rob me but decided not to because of whatever I do in the community,” Williams said. “He’s a Lou Williams fan, so he didn’t rob me... I treated him to McDonald’s.”
I don’t know about you, but this whole scenario sounds...wait for it...fishaay fishaaaay.
Believe it or not, but legal bounty programs once existed in the NFL.
Former Packers great Reggie White submitted his “Smash for Cash” idea to the league in 1996, asking if he and teammates could sponsor $500 payouts for big hits on opponents.
The NFL agreed, with the stipulation that the players only use their own personal money, the sums weren’t too extravagant and the hits weren’t illegal.
How things have changed.
Pet Flying Squirrels
How do you know you’ve “made it” as an athlete (and a human being)?
When some hands you the receipt for a flying mammal. That’s how.
US Olympic wrestler Ellis Coleman reached that zenith of existence sometime in 2012 when he bought a flying squirrel prior to the beginning of the London Olympic Games. Coleman said he purchased the animal because it matches his nickname “Flying Squirrel,” a moniker given to him in honor of his signature takedown maneuver.
The squirrel’s name is Rocky (of course), and he reportedly cost Coleman $500.
You read that correctly—the pinnacle of man’s achievement on this earth can be purchased for half a grand.
Breast Pumps for Their Teammates
For those of you who don’t know, buying items off a bridal registry is rarely an easy, normal thing to do.
Engaged couples go to a Pottery Barn and set up a list with the store of all the home necessities they want their wedding guests to purchase for them, and the typical bridal registry is filled with homemaking necessities such as plates, cookware, wine glasses, breast pumps...
Wait a minute—that's not normal. But someone did put a breast pump on their bridal registry, and that someone was Evan Longoria.
According to Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, he had to pick up the tab on a breast pump (they go up to $350) for Longoria’s bridal registry.
“Most expensive thing on the registry and I have to buy it,” Price said jokingly.
Buying New Clothes Instead Packing Them
At a certain point, spending money recklessly stops being disappointing and becomes art.
Which makes former NBA star Allen Iverson a veritable Michelangelo.
Iverson fell into bankruptcy in early 2012 after reportedly burning over $200 million in career earnings. How did he do it?
A lot of ways, but one of the most pointless was his penchant for buying new clothes while traveling instead of packing garments he already owned.
According to Forbes, Iverson didn’t like traveling with luggage and, instead of dragging around a suitcase, he instead bought new clothes wherever he went. Which begs the question—What happened to old clothes?
Something tells me he didn’t donate them to Goodwill or needy scarecrows.
Full-Page Ads Guaranteeing Championships
Dad always said not to write checks my butt couldn’t cash.
But he never mentioned anything about buying print ads I couldn’t back up, which is precisely what Panthers center Ryan Kalil did in 2012 when he took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer promising fans their team would win the Super Bowl in 2013.
Kalil’s 178-word ad promised Panthers fans they would win the Lombardi Trophy with “one hundred-percent sterling silver victory.”
Unfortunately for Kalil, the Panthers didn’t even make the playoffs. We only hope the paper didn’t levy him with an additional charge for failing to deliver.
Toys for Days
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas made some youngsters in the New Orleans area very happy when he filled five separate shopping baskets to the brim with toys to donate to Toys For Tots.
Hopefully he didn’t skimp on the Hot Wheels, CrossFire and Crazy Bones.
Buy a Tiger
Mike Tyson’s tigers have become an integral part of the ongoing myth that is Mike Tyson.
Tyson bought a set of female Bengals for $140,000, and paid $4,000 a month after that in food and care for the animals.
The price of owning the majestic creatures eventually caught up to the former heavyweight champion, however, and he was forced to sell them.
One of his tigers was found caged behind and and seized from a tattoo shop in Gary, Ind., by police. Of course.
Big Macs for the Whole Stadium
With his team in the lead and the clock winding down, Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins told his team to dribble out the final seconds of a December 2012 game against the Atlanta Hawks.
And the hometown Philly fans were booing him.
Why? They wanted burgers.
The score of the game was 99-80, and if the 76ers reached the 100 point mark, there would be free Big Macs for everyone.
Philadelphia’s Evan Turner was reportedly pleading with the crowd and pointing at Collins, who had the game announcer tell the crowd that the burgers were on him over the PA system.
Segways for Everyone!
How do grown rich men say thank you?
By buying each other expensive adult scooters.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster and Reggie Bush of the Miami Dolphins both bought the pricey devices for their offensive linemen (on separate occasions) over the last two years.
And it would appear they were a hit.
The purchase could also be considered a smart move, considering they don’t want those men to lose any of that blocking weight by endeavoring in any needless walking.
Take Their Niece on a Soho Shopping Spree
Alex Rodriguez found himself in a pickle after taking his 20-year-old niece Michelle Silva on a shopping spree at New York fashion boutique Blue & Cream.
The Yankees third basemen ended up dropping over $17,000 on clothes for his niece, including a pair of $1,200 shoes (I hope they were pumps).
Unfortunately, Rodriguez’s sister believed uncle A-Rod had went too far in spoiling her daughter, and the slugger found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to return the purchases.
Even more unfortunate for Rodriguez, Blue & Cream doesn’t do these so-called “returns,” which proved A-Rod cannot cannot catch a break even on his best days.
Sleep with the Fishes
Head to McDonalds
“Joe Flacco! You just signed the largest contract in the NFL! What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to McDonald’s!” (peels out in his truck).
That’s correct—after signing a six-year, $121 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens, Flacco headed straight for the golden arches.
Flacco went through the drive through, ordering a 10-piece chicken mcnugget, fries and an unsweetened ice tea (really, unsweetened?).
But that’s just regular Joe being regular Joe. The Super Bowl MVP maintains that winning the Lombardi Trophy and signing big-dollar contracts hasn’t changed his average guy ways.
Going to McDonald's isn't crazy, that is, unless you just inked a $100 million-plus contract. In which case, no one could ever see that coming.
Broken Down OJ-Mobiles
Former NBA guard Delonte West bought a 1994 "OJ Simpson-Style" Ford Bronco for $4,000 during the 2011 NBA lockout.
And the people world chuckled, shook their heads and went back playing Angry Birds or whatever it was we all did back then.
Lawyering Up over Doggy Damage
St. Louis Blues forward TJ Oshie came home to his Missouri penthouse to find his home a little roughed up.
Oshie’s canines apparently had chewed through a set of $12,000 custom patio screen doors and scratched the $1,000 frames—damage his developer is suing him over.
A Night at the Hardwood Suite
Got $25,000 you’re looking to get rid of in one night? Are you a fan of playing basketball in your house?
Then the Hardwood Suite at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas is your place.
The 10,000 square-foot hotel room is one of the biggest I’ve ever heard of and comes complete with a basketball court (electronic scoreboard included), king-sized beds that fold down out of the wall onto the court, a giant jacuzzi and a basketball-leather chased stairwell, among many other amenities.
Athletes like Ron Artest have stayed here before, and entire companies have rented the place out for events.
$1 Million in Child Support a Month
It didn’t go through, but a titanic money-draining (and family wrecking) scenario could’ve played out for Kobe Bryant had he not reconciled with his wife in January.
Divorce is always very expensive proposition in general (I would not know), and in California, getting a divorce is about as pricey as anywhere else in the world.
As it happened, when Vanessa Bryant threatened her husband with a divorce in December of 2011, Bryant could’ve potentially faced with paying well over $1 million in in spousal and child support a month.
Long story short, in accordance with California’s law, Kobe’s estimated annual income of $53.2 million would’ve resulted in $1 million a month in spousal support for Vanessa and $365,000 a month for his two daughters, Natalia and Gianna.
Also, that million a month in spousal support could’ve potentially been for life, given Vanessa and Kobe had been together for over 10 years and a Californian “longterm marriage” clause could’ve been invoked by a judge.
Buy a Firetruck for the Community
Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz decided to give back to his hometown in the Dominican Republic by buying purchasing a firetruck for the city of San Francisco de Macoris.
“In my hometown we don’t have ambulances or firetrucks, so I decided to buy one,” Cruz said. “It was yellow, so we had to paint it red.
Cruz’s fire engine purchase ended up providing his community with more than he even first intended, with Texas first-responder service American Medical Response chipping in two ambulances on to go with the truck.
TGI Friday’s, Cheesecake Factory and Other Vince Young Things
What’s the fastest way to burn through $26 million, you ask?
Cheesecake, commercial jets and appetizers smothered in Jack Daniel’s sauce, it would appear.
Former Texas Longhorns quarterback Vince Young entered the NFL with high expectations on his shoulders, signing a $26 million-guaranteed contract with Tennessee Titans his rookie year.
But Young ended up underperforming for the Titans, and eventually found himself out of work and broke.
As it turns out, Young had been burning through money by treating teammates and friends to dinners at TGI Friday’s (why?) and drinks at the Cheesecake Factory. It was also reported Young would buy out the seats on entire commercial airline flights so he and his buddies could fly by themselves.
Something also tells me that Young also got hit with hidden fees in his 401K.
Stacks on Stacks of Lottery Tickets
Some athletes fritter away their money on pointless things—sleek cars, sprawling manors and the flossy flossy.
But other athletes—guys like Chris Singleton—have a keener sense of money management. They know high-percentage business proposition when they see them.
Which could explain why in March 2012 the Washington Wizards rookie dropped $10,000 on lottery tickets, hoping to hit pay dirt on a $640 million jackpot.
Sure, it’s but a small chunk of change to an NBA player. But considering he’s making ~$1.5 million a year, it’s wasn’t exactly a Dollar Store purchase.
Hawaii for Everyone!
After earning his fifth invitation to the Pro Bowl in 2012, North Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith decided he wanted some company in Honolulu.
The star veteran invited the Panthers’ entire wide receiving corps to come with him to Honolulu, offering to pay for their travel and lodging.
“All those guys ran routes to get me open,” Smith said. “For me to sit here and say I did it on my own... it’s unfair. This is an opportunity for me to thank them and enjoy as a group the success that we all played a part in.”
Putting an ATM in Their House
Never have cash on hand?
Tired of having to run to the bank before a lavish night on the town?
Well, for the low, low price of $3,500 a month you can put an ATM in your kitchen just like Brooklyn Nets forward DeShawn Stevenson!
Stevens had an automatic teller carted into his Dallas, Texas, home so his guests can make a withdrawal when they’re playing cards and low on scratch.
The convenience isn’t free, however—Stevens’ machine charges a $4.50 fee for each transaction. Pretty expensive, considering the Loch Ness Monster only charges $3.50 a transaction.
Paying Fines for Billboards You Didn’t Put Up
A billboard calling for Tim Tebow to replace then-Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton went up near a major Denver highway in 2011, and it made several of Tebow’s teammates very prickly.
The “advertisement” had been created and paid for by Broncos fans, however it irritated the other quarterbacks on the team enough to institute a fine system on Tebow—docking money every day the sign stood.
The sign stood for six days before Tebow was given the starting nod over Orton, and he ended up not having to pay the fine.
While money changed hands over the sign, the sheer fact a man could’ve had to shell out dough over the actions of a few fans is appalling and crazy enough to warrant a spot on here.
This is Nino.
He is the pet of Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett buy a pet Florida alligator. He is a Florida alligator, and one of several that Dockett claimed nearly chomped a piece out of him during a trip he took to the Florida Everglades in 2011.
Naturally, after nearly being eaten by one these large descendants of the dinosaur, Dockett had to have one.
Probably because they got all them teeth. And no toothbrush.