Dennis Rodman; A Former NBA Superstar Gone Broke
Many former NBA superstars have gone broke and the five-time NBA champion, Dennis Rodman, is one of them. If it wasn’t for the bad choices he made later in his life, Rodman’s story would have been a very inspiring one. He was the eldest of 29 children from 16 different mothers, his father left him and his two sisters with his mother to raise on her own so she had to work 3 jobs to provide for them. His family struggled to survive until he was absorbed into the world of basketball where he finally found his place but like everything else, it was not to last. This is a story of rags to riches that ended in tragedy.
His basketball career began in 1986 where he quickly established himself as a formidable player when he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. He is the lowest scoring inductee of the Basketball Hall of Fame, with an average of 11 points per game, dominating without the need to score with his rebounding abilities improving the efficiency of his teammates. A player whose prolific career spanned many years wherein he has earned $29 million in contract earnings alone. During the peak of his fame, he also made millions more from endorsements and television appearances. By the end of it, his estimated total income was at around $50 million. His basketball fame reunited him and his father. In 1992, Dennis visited the Philippines following an exhibition game. Met his father, who now lives there, for the first time after 42 years.
In spite his undeniable skills, Dennis’ erratic behavior caused him to be traded by several teams over the years which ultimately led to his departure from the NBA. He had a “bad boy” reputation on the court, committing countless technical fouls and disrupting the locker room, which hurt the team he was in. His basketball career ended after fizzling out in stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. He was one of the top 20 players of all time. If only he was as good at managing his attitude and finances as he was in playing basketball.
When his 14 year career ended he took on roles in celebrity reality shows, professional wrestling, and low budget films. Rodman flew to North Korea and coached the North Korean Basketball Association, becoming a self-imposed diplomat. Not much has been heard of him for some time compared to when he was an NBA superstar, but the long time of silence was to be broken only for his name to resurface in the headlines due to the news of his financial troubles.
Before the struggle although Rodman’s life was no longer the topic of sports news and channels, he still made a buzz with his extravagant lifestyle, flying all over the world to host nightclub parties even throwing ones of his own in the comforts of his Newport Beach home that garnered numerous complaints from the neighbors. He thoroughly enjoyed a luxurious life for years since his retirement, spending on luxury items such as a 74-foot speedboat, an illegal helicopter beach landing, a customized Ford 350 pickup, and several other big ticket items.
After enjoying several years spending the money he earned from the league, at the age of 50 he faced his downfall. Rodman’s finance from sky high has made it to the rock bottom. Bad investments and bad choices have proven to be his downfall, continuing to spend lavishly in spite no longer earning as much as his glory days ended with him becoming broke.
Upon retirement, Rodman had a $285 thousand debt to the IRS and a $219 thousand debt to the state of Florida for child support. Withdrew his NBA pension to pay off the previously mentioned debts, resulting to a debt of $350 thousand in back taxes relating to the pension.
Agreeing to his third wife’s, Michelle Rodman’s, desire for divorce Dennis’ situation went even further downhill. His net worth hit the negative one million dollar range, allegedly owing an estimated $809 thousand in back child support for their two children, along with $51 thousand in back spousal support. Being completely broke, Rodman couldn’t afford to pay any of these fees up front and came to an agreement of paying $4.5 thousand to Michelle every month until it is fully paid which will obviously take some time.
From the stress of the divorce and the financial burdens, Rodman’s already known drinking problem got worse resulting to him becoming seriously ill. His sickness greatly impacts his ability to get work, his marketability has been steadily diminishing making it impossible for the former NBA legend to pay the $5 thousand he owes monthly for one child from another relationship in addition to Michelle’s monthly.
It’s an all too familiar NBA story. Most of the former star athletes go broke within five years upon retirement, unable to adjust their lifestyle as needed with their huge paychecks no longer there to support them. I hope his story can serve as a lesson to all of us so we may prevent suffering the same fate.
We all want to be successful but in order to truly conquer life, we must think beyond earning. When you finally reach your financial goal, without proper money management this would only provide you with temporary comfort and might even prove to be a huge problem in the future as you have seen in the stories of several people who went from rags to riches and back to rags. Never act like your money would never run out. Use it well so it may serve you well.
No matter how successful you get, manage your money wisely and invest in things that can become your Money Machine because there is no guarantee that once you reach the top, you will stay at the top. The goal should be financial freedom. Work for money until your money can work for you.
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