Dez Bryant's $55K Dinner and The Top 5 Most Outrageous Sports Money Headlines

Robert PecchioContributor IIISeptember 30, 2010

Dez Bryant's $55K Dinner and The Top 5 Most Outrageous Sports Money Headlines

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    Just when you felt like you could relate to these overpaid NFL celebrities, Dez Bryant goes and does something like this.

    Admit it.  The NFL was slowly becoming more normal—its players more “common man” than ever before and more comparable to the average Joe's that create their paycheck.

    Ben "the Ripper" Roethlisberger’s name was no longer taking up airtime.  Michael Vick was acting like a model citizen.  Ray Lewis had officially postponed all street fighting until after retirement.

    Heck, Brian Urlacher, Mr. Blue Collar himself, was even back in the starting lineup.

    Then, just when you were beginning to feel like one of the guys, like you might even enjoy hanging out with your favorite footballers, the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant goes and drops $55,000 on dinner.

    Bryant incurred this large bill by treating a boatload of his fellow players to a meal at Pappas Brothers Steakhouse.  The dinner came as a result of Bryant refusing to complete his rookie duty of carrying teammates’ equipment. 

    In professional sports, it’s referred to as hazing. 

    In real life, it’s called a college education.

    Because professional athletes do many things that regular people do, (i.e. buy houses in normal neighborhoods, marry people they met in normal places, attend normal high schools) we are often deluded into thinking that they are normal people. 

    But, in reality, they are celebrities.  And many times they have the capability to spend just as flamboyantly as celebrities do.

    The following is a list of the other four craziest sports money headlines of all time, rivaling anything you might see on an episode of MTV Cribs.

# 4: Mike Piazza's $15K Walk Through Central Park

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    In 1999, the New York Mets signed power-hitting catcher Mike Piazza to a groundbreaking $91 million 7-year contract. 

    As if that wasn't enough, one day, just by walking through Central Park, Mike Piazza made more money than most people make in half a year.  

    According to local sources, Piazza was contacted by researchers conducting a sociological experiment. 

    He was reportedly given $15,000 dollars to take a walk through Central Park and catalog how many people had the nerve to come and up and talk to him.

#3: Latrell Sprewell:

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    In the final season of the five-year $62 million dollar deal he signed with the Knicks, Latrell Sprewell admitted to being insulted by the contract extension offered to him by his current team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

    Apparently, the Timberwolves had offered Sprewell a measly 3 year—$21 million deal.  

    Sprewell declined the extension with indignation, saying that such a paltry sum was insulting because “I got my family to feed.”

#2: Mike Tyson:

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    At the pinnacle of his career, few celebrities were more recognizable than former heavyweight champion “Iron” Mike Tyson.   Tyson reportedly made over $400 million dollars in 20 years of fighting and endorsement deals.

    Yet, in an interview in 2010, Mike Tyson admitted to being completely broke—living paycheck to paycheck.  Years earlier, Tyson declared bankruptcy, citing an extravagant lifestyle that far exceed his monetary means. 

    What kind of lifestyle was Tyson leading?

    According to the New York Times:

    • Tyson had a credit line of $23 million at a jewelry store in Las Vegas where, on one occasion, he picked up a $173,000 gold chain without putting any money down on the day of purchase.
    • Owed music producer Jimmy Henchmen $450,000 for his services.
    • Possessed assets (cars and two Las Vegas homes) that ranged from $10-50 million dollars each.

    These are just a few examples.

    This guy was living like modern day royalty.

#1: Lebron James' High School Hummer

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    By his senior season of high school, LeBron James was already more recognizable to the public than most professional athletes.  His face was all over sports magazines and national news outlets.  His games received national coverage on ESPN. 

    James, of course, was catapulted to this celebrity status as an 18 year old high school student.  While writers and analysts from all over the country scrutinized his game film, Lebron filled out his math homework and attended school assemblies.

    James’ mother Gloria apparently had had enough of this “normal guy” classification.  For his 18th birthday, Gloria took out a loan to buy James a new H2 Hummer, complete with video game equipment and televisions. 

    It was the single most inappropriate purchase by an athlete, unprecedented in its scope and implication. 

    LeBron’s Hummer takes the cake as number #1 most ridiculous sports money headline. 

    At least the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant has that much money in the bank…or at least….had.