Sports Lists

Hilarious Things Athletes Buy with Their Money

Matt HaupertFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2014

Hilarious Things Athletes Buy with Their Money

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    It’s every child’s dream.

    Become a successful athlete, make millions of dollars, buy your mom a house, pay for your sister’s education, found a groundbreaking new charity and fund the discovery of a cure for cancer.

    Unfortunately, every child doesn’t end up achieving even the first part this dream, and oftentimes, the ones that do are a lot more interested in spending that money on enormous beds, wild animals and limitless supplies of pistachios. (Literally. Just keep reading.)

    Indeed, one of the most amusing and profoundly entertaining aspects of sports is that so often, players have the skills to earn millions and millions of dollars, but lack the self-control to spend it wisely.

    These superstars provide us with a great lesson in financial responsibility, a great example of what happens when selfishness and stupidity join forces and the punchline of a great big joke all at the same time.

    When the high salaries of athletes don’t end up going towards anything that could possibly make the world a better place, the best we can do is laugh all the way to the nearest discount convenience store.

Deshawn Stevenson: ATM

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    As a kid, I was always fascinated by the concept of the ATM: a magical machine that gives you as much money as you want just by pushing a couple buttons. It was so simple—such an obvious solution to all the economic problems in our country. All we need to do is stick ATMs everywhere, and people can have as much money as they need!

    When I learned the sad truth about ATMs and how they work, my fascination for them quickly wore off. Deshawn Stevenson’s did not. In fact, Stevenson, who played for six different NBA teams between 2000 and 2013, decided to get an ATM installed in his own kitchen.

    All of a sudden, my wallet seems like a really lame place to keep my money. Why carry cash when a quick swipe next to the refrigerator can provide you the exact bills you need when you need them?

    In really looking at the purchase, it’s tough say whether Stevenson is just another rich and delusional athlete or a brilliant businessman. Use of the home-ATM comes at a price: Friends and family are charged a transaction fee of $4.50.

    On second thought, maybe I’ll stick with the wallet.

Marquis Daniels: Diamond Necklace of His Own Head

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    One of the funniest things about sports is the gargantuan egos of athletes who think very highly of themselves for being really good (or not that good) at playing games in front of people.

    Marquis Daniels was an often-useful but never-great basketball player during his 10-year career. Not good enough to make an All-Star game, but according to Daniels, still plenty good enough to warrant a diamond necklace featuring a replica of his own head.

    According to Ian Harrison of MSN Sports, Daniels commissioned an “upscale Beverly Hills Jeweler to make a 3-D, diamond-encrusted model of [his] own head,” made with “more than a kilogram of gold and hundreds of precious stones, complete with porcelain eyes and black diamond chains for dreadlocks.”

    I wonder how many other world greats have gotten their own heads sculpted out of diamonds to celebrate their own accomplishments?

    Did Leonardo Da Vinci commission a Leonardo Da Vinci diamond necklace after painting the Mona Lisa?

    Did Shakespeare order a golden sculpture of his own face that he could wear around his neck after penning the final lines of Hamlet?

    Or perhaps Neil Armstrong was presented with a chain of precious stones, each with his face carefully carved onto its surface, as he took the first human steps on the moon?

    Nope. Just Daniels. Just good old Marquis Daniels and his 10 years of doing a mediocre job throwing around a basketball.

Rollie Fingers: Pistachio Farms

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The American Dream: freedom, prosperity, opportunity and miles upon miles of pistachios.

    At least, that’s the American Dream according to former pitching great Rollie Fingers, who decided to spend most of his bottomless bank account investing in Pistachio Farms.

    Fingers finally had what every ambitious little boy dreams of when imagining his own inevitable career as a professional athlete: pistachio sandwiches, pistachio smoothies, pistachio pancakes, clothes made of pistachios, homes built out of nothing but pistachios!

    Unfortunately, it turns out that bank account wasn’t so bottomless after all. Three years into the investment, Fingers filed for bankruptcy. His dream, his dignity and his lifetime supply of pistachios vanished into a memory.

     

Chad Johnson: Aquarium Headboard

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    A wise crab once said, “Under the sea, under the sea; darling it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me.”

    Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Johnson apparently took these words to heart. Johnson’s headboard is a full aquarium, so every night as he falls asleep, he gazes into the depths of the ocean as tropical fish swim above him.

    With this one simple purchase, he has accomplished exactly what we all dream of doing when we’re rich and famous: owning cool exotic pets, living underwater and having the coolest headboard in the neighborhood.

    Well played, Chad. Well played.

Lawrence Taylor: Prostitutes for Opposing Players

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    Mark Lyons/Getty Images

    The pressure on professional athletes to succeed is extraordinarily high. Winning truly is everything, and players need to go extreme measures to do it. Most take on excruciating practice schedules and workout routines. Some turn to performance-enhancing drugs.

    Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor had a different method. Before a big game, Taylor would regularly order prostitutes for the opposing players to keep them up all night and tire them out before they played.

    Via NBC Sports’ Gregg Rosenthal:

    “You know what they like and what type of women they like and you just call the service.  What you got?” Taylor told 60 Minutes in 2003, when he was marketing his autobiography.  “The idea was to keep the player up all night.  Just as long as you can.”

    Credit is definitely due to Taylor for using his hard-earned money for a noble cause. Rather than wasting his earnings on frivolous material possessions, Taylor’s money was spent in the name of victory.

    Either that, or he was just practicing really, really great sportsmanship.

     

Mike Tyson: White Bengal Tigers

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Mike Tyson knows how to spend his millions better than perhaps anyone else in the business. He once purchased a $2 million bathtub for his wife-to-be only to scare her away after barely a year of marriage.

    His most famous purchase—and his most extravagant—came when he bought three Bengal tigers and took care of them for a year. This decision was absurd for a number of reasons:

    1. White Bengal tigers are endangered. This means Mike Tyson was in charge of three of the precious remaining few White Bengal tigers in the entire world. The species could die out soon and cease to exist for the rest of eternity, and yet three of them are hanging out in Mike Tyson’s backyard receiving care from a man who bit another guy’s ear.

    2. Tyson hired an animal trainer to keep track of the tigers whenever he was in Las Vegas. Good call, Mike—those tigers definitely needed an animal trainer when you were gone, but were perfectly fine whenever you were around! Nothing beats being raised by your real “dad.” Especially if he knows literally nothing about your species or how to keep you alive!

    3. Tyson obviously had to get rid of them before long, and according to David MacIntyre of The Richest, “one of them was sold to an Indiana tattoo artist, who kept it and three other tigers behind the tattoo shop he owned – until they were confiscated by the USDA in 2010."

    Come on, Mike. Maybe next time just go with a guinea pig. If nothing else, it’s a species that you're unlikely to wipe off the face of the earth.

Lionel Messi: Neighbor's House

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Neighborly disputes are common and there are plenty of acceptable ways to go about making peace.

    Direct confrontation is the easiest, though sometimes this can cause even more problems. Sometimes a formal complaint to a landlord is necessary, though this approach can certainly come across as passive aggressive or rude. Depending on the situation, problems may be able to be resolved with a simple picket fence down the middle of a shared lawn.

    Lionel Messi decided to use his immense wealth to skip all these steps and take care of the problem himself by buying the neighbor’s house and shutting them up for good.

    The strange part is, his neighbors were literally asking for it. As reported by Rick Chandler of Sports Grid:

    The people who owned the house next to his, in Castelldefels, Spain, were remodeling it, but ran out of money. So they asked Messi to buy it from them — and Messi refused.The neighbors decided to make so much racket that Messi would have to buy them out. They rented out rooms in their house, and the renters made so much noise, and did so much snooping on Messi’s property, that they made themselves a complete nuisance.

    This seems like either a weird sequel to Neighbors or an awesome new sales technique. Either way, the neighbors got exactly what they wanted and Messi ended up with a brand new house to call his own and a little more peace and quiet each night.

    In the long line of strange purchases by wealthy athletes, Messi’s winds up as perhaps the most practical of them all.

Gilbert Arenas: Sharks

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    Mike Tyson is not the only athlete with a deep affection for wild animals.

    While Tyson made headlines with his White Bengal tiger purchase, Gilbert Arenas was quietly taking care of the live sharks that lived in his own personal shark tank. Raising the pets was not a cheap endeavor: According to the Washington Post, it cost “$5000 to feed them and $1,500 for a keeper to come in from Columbus to take care of them.”

    Perhaps Arenas was a big Shark Week fan who wanted to experience the deadly fish firsthand. Perhaps he just liked the fact that in many ways, they seemed to reflect his own character: easily aggravated, extremely dangerous and best if viewed at a distance.

Al Jefferson: Giant Bed

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The one thing I’ve always hated about my bed is that it’s just not big enough for anything cool. Sure, there’s plenty of space to sleep, and room for a guest or two—but I’m talking about a bed big enough for a game of soccer, a cocktail party or a 9-hole golf course.

    Bobcats center Al Jefferson has all that and more.

    With an abnormal size of 10 feet by 12 feet, Jefferson’s bed is large enough to fit any of the following:

    With space like that, why would you ever get out of bed again? At $23,000, though, I think I’ll stick with the simpler Ikea model. If I end up deciding to spend that much, I could always buy 200 of them.

Jerome WIlliams: Personal Mascot

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    The Angels have the Rally Monkey. The Phillies have the Phillie Phanatic. The Brewers have a troupe of racing sausages. And Jerome Williams has “Junk Yard Dog.”

    Despite never averaging more than 10 points per game, Williams decided he was worthy of developing his own personal mascot, becoming the first NBA player to do so. His fuzzy friend was inspired by his own nickname, and represented only Williams himself—never a team that he played for.

    How much easier would life be with a giant dog by your side, cheering you along as you got up for work in the morning, made yourself breakfast and missed a few shots in an NBA game? How much cooler would you look in public as your two-legged dog flipped and danced and posed for pictures in a nonstop celebration of your awesomeness? Talk about living the high life!

    To be fair, Williams did actually use this mascot for a pretty great cause. Junk Yard Dog went into Detroit schools to motivate students and get them excited about their own individuality and ability to change the world. Maybe Williams is one millionaire athlete who really got it right.

Darnell Dockett: Alligator (Honorable Mention)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    In an effort to join the ranks of professional athletes with exotic dangerous pets, Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett became the proud father of his own baby alligator.

    While we appreciate his effort, he doesn’t quite stack up with the brave and mighty Tyson and Arenas. A cute little baby alligator probably can't even eat him, and the species is nowhere near going extinct. Child's play.

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