Being a millionaire athlete is probably a pretty sweet gig.
But when you’re a millionaire athlete, you have to manage all that money.
Often, millionaire athletes will employ someone to handle their money for them. Sometimes it works. But sometimes it doesn’t.
World Cup champion skier Lindsey Vonn is the latest athlete whose financial advisor dropped the ball. On Sunday, Vonn posted a message on her Facebook page saying she had paid off the more than $1.7 million she owed in back taxes.
The amount was first reported by the Detroit News after the IRS handed Vonn and her estranged husband a tax lien earlier this month.
Here’s the statement from Vonn:
I am disappointed with this situation. I just recently became aware of the outstanding balance, and I have done everything in my power to settle it immediately. The money owed was for the 2010 tax year, which was filed on time, and it has been paid in full. This is an important lesson for me. Not being in control of my finances and relying on someone else who you believed had your best interest at heart was a mistake and one I will not make twice.
Vonn, who won the World Cup title this season by amassing a record 1,980 points, separated from Thomas Vonn, her husband of four years, in November.
She is only the latest prominent athlete to run into financial trouble — but it sounds like she was able to nip it in the bud before serious damage was done.
Many others cannot say the same thing.
Former NFL lineman Warren Sapp filed for bankruptcy last week and currently owes more than $6.7 million to creditors and back child support and alimony.
The bank account of former NBA star Allen Iverson was seized last month after he could not pay a jeweler about $860,000. Iverson made $154 million during his NBA career, not including numerous sponsorship deals.
Former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman owes more than $800,000 in back child support and $51,000 in spousal support. He faces 20 days in jail, which could be reduced to community service. Rodman, who was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame last summer, also owes $350,000 in back taxes after withdrawing his NBA pension to pay previous debts.
Former NFL star receiver Terrell Owens recently told GQ Magazine that nearly all of the $80 million he earned during his career is gone, much of it lost to foolhardy real estate investments. Owens pays $44,600 monthly in child support for the four children he had with four different women.
Former MLB star Lenny Dykstra was sentenced to three years in state prison after he pleaded no contest to grand theft auto and attempting to use false documentation to steal or lease cars. Dykstra also faces federal bankruptcy charges after previously claiming he did not have sufficient funds to pay off more than $31 million in debt.
Former Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister owes his ex-wife $11,000 per month in child support, a fee that he claims has drained him dry.
According to a Sports Illustrated report, 78 percent of NFL players and 60 percent of NBA players file for bankruptcy within two years of their retirement. And professional football and basketball players are clearly not the only athletes guilty of financial mismanagement and negligence. It’s an ongoing issue that will continue to confront individuals without the knowledge, resources or interest to handle millions of dollars — and many are unable to recover the way Vonn apparently has.