‘Broke’: New Documentary Looks at How Pro Athletes (Foolishly) Lose All Their Money

April 20, 2012  |  

This is a documentary I am dying to see because it’s going to explain an issue I just can’t wrap my head around—how pro athletes like Antoine Walker, Bob Whitfield, Terrel Owens, and hundreds more, squander all their (millions of dollars of) earnings.

Coming to the Tribeca film festival next week is a new feature-length doc from ESPN films that will shed some light on why, according to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of NBA players and 78 percent of NFL players run out of funds within five years of retirement. Simply titled, “Broke,” the film is described as “an allegory for the financial woes haunting economies and individuals all over the world.”

“Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, most pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Jamal Mashburn, Bernie Kosar, and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature carries them to victory on the field and ruin off it.”

Director Billy Corben looks to “paint a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes’ bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large while still holding these giants accountable for their own hubris.” If this documentary really exposes the reality of losing millions of dollars of  money that’s not guaranteed practically overnight, it should be required viewing for anyone signing a new contract. #BreakTheCycle.

See more info on “Broke” on the Tribeca Film Festival website. Would you check this out?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • Satcheven

    the number 1 reason these guys go broke is divorce and too kids /child support with too many women.5,000-20,000 a month for 18 years will wipe you out

  • FromUR2UB

    I can’t wait to see this.  It should be required viewing for athletes, especially rookies.

  • maggie

    Black people in this country still have a ‘day-to-day’ mentality–residuals from slavery.  We don’t think about 10+ years from now as whole.  If we did, we would be making different decisions when it comes to marriage, business, schools, property, etc . .

    • Nitty

      Stop generalizing pple all the damn time.
      What’s wrong with you?
      Grow up

  • Janice Dee

    Looking forward to seeing this at some point.  Should be very interesting!

  • most of these guys are only in college for their athletic abilities, and in high school they are praised for them, teachers, and coaches keeps giving them passes as long as they keep winning games. But when it comes to basic knowledge and money management they fail. 

  • Rastaman

    I have a good
    friend who played big time college football and knew many college team mates
    who went on to have pro careers and he schooled me to a lot of what the
    thinking is for a majority of these guys and I have to say, I am not too
    surprised when I hear so many go broke. The fact is there are many white males
    in other industries, such as high finance who come into a lot of money at a
    very young age and blow it as quickly as or even more quickly than many of
    these ex jocks. We just don’t hear about them because they are not public

    I go back to
    my early 20s and I realize I blew a lot of my measly salary on party and
    bullshit and I know folks who had as measly incomes who declared bankruptcy due
    to bad relationships, living above their means or too many expenses catching
    overwhelming their lower incomes. I also know if I had access to as much money
    as some of these pro athletes then I too may have had no limits on my spending
    other than a depleted bank account until payday.

    Lots of
    people claim they would be different but there is a reason auto insurance
    companies lower your rates substantially when you pass the age of 30. The
    statistics show that after that age people are less likely to engage in riskier
    behaviors. Spending too much money without much thought for tomorrow is very risky

    • Nitty

      You felt like writing a whole script today huh?
      Summarize your work nxt time
      Time is money and you have wasted it just like you’d have wasted that same money you are talking about

      • rastaman

        How about kill yourself, timely enough?

  • ieshapatterson

    anything that can shed light on to why millionaires go broke is worth watching.

  • L-Boogie

    I think it has a lot to do with where these athletes come from.  Some come from humble beginnings and do not have the necessary skills to maintain and manage money.  Learn the skills necessary to maintain your own finances because people are not trustworthy.  I learned that the hard way.

    • Kenedy

      I agree. I think it also has alot to do with how they are treated as college athletes & how they are recruited. Most of them don’t take studies seriously, or ONLY end up in college because of their athletic ability….& therefore don’t really develop any critical cognitive skills. If they were forced to actually graduate & get their degrees before being recruited, then maybe they would have a backup plan aka a job after they retire. Treating them like super stars when they are college athletes is where the problem begins in my opinion. Yes, collegiate athletics bring the schools alot of revenue…but doesn’t that show where our priorities lie as a socitey when it comes to our institutions of higher education??

      • FromUR2UB

        Yes, I once dated a guy who had been a college athlete, and he said that the athletes were treated like campus royalty…had their own cafeteria, with a menu that matched any fine restaurant.  Their dorm was set apart from the rest of the student population and was nicer.  When they traveled to other cities, there were “groupies” there to meet them, compliments of the coaching staff.  In a sense, they are set up for this kind of failure because being catered to like that can be very seductive for anybody.  The lesson they don’t learn early enough is that it won’t last forever.

        If coaches and team owners really cared about these guys – ha! longshot! – they would have someone mentor them about money management, which should probably include identifying and avoiding the would-be leeches.  But, that’s not likely to happen because they’re using the guys to line their own pockets, and willingly provide them anything that makes that easier.

  • NP

    This is going to be good can’t wait to see this one.

  • F3ral Anarchy

     this should be an interesting documentary.  im curious to see why it is so many black athletes have this issue….but not so much for the whites.  Am i to assume whites just arent publicly declaring they are broke? 

    • Half_the_Man_I_Used_to_Be

      They do mention Bernie Kosar.

      Maybe this is anecdotal evidence.  But recently, I’ve heard about white athletes going bankrupt due to bad business deals.  They don’t have 10 kids or Maseratis or yards of Dope Rope.  They just bought real estate in Florida, Nevada or Arizona……….

      I haven’t heard of many broke hockey players.  Canada’s economy is doing better than ours.  Eh?

      • Mls2698

        Interesting point you made, but I think the athletes who invest in business do so out of greed, then are scrammed (looking for the quick turn around). I’d have to say that if I were to invest in something, it would be toilet paper; I mean really, who is going to stop using it. Also, I think that blacks have family members who run their finances into the ground. Remember Keysha Cole’s family wanted her to buy them a house immediately, but her financial adviser said it wasn’t the best time to do so. Oh, the pressure.

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