Even More Insane Athlete Purchases
Early last year I published “25 Insane Athlete Purchases,” which was popular because the public likes to know what athletes are wasting their piles of money on. It was kind of like a supermarket tabloid for sports fans.
Whether it’s the voyeuristic look into their lives we enjoy or the opportunity to feel slightly superior for a moment about our ability—driven by necessity—to control our spending, there’s no question that extravagant purchases by athletes continue to pique our curiosity.
For that reason, here are even more insane athlete purchases.
Michael Jordan: Private Jet
This is Michael Jordan’s second appearance on this list because...well...when you have a lot of money, you buy a lot of insanely expensive stuff. MJ’s customized Gulfstream IV private jet cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million.
He isn't called "His Airness" for nothing.
Alex Rodriguez: Art
Since he’s going to have a lot of free time on his hands in 2014, it seems embattled Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is already looking into new hobbies. In December, observers spotted him at the Massimo de Carlo Gallery in Miami.
According to sources at the New York Post's Page Six, A-Rod was “negotiating over a $140,000 piece by Lowman,” which he ultimately bought. Apparently he already owns pieces by Nate Lowman, as well as Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Vince Young: Casual Dining
Former first-round draft pick Vince Young recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Houston court. A week later he asked a judge to dismiss the bankruptcy petition. That ongoing drama aside, Young’s reckless spending early in his career is a major contributing factor to his current situation.
In September 2012, the 3HL radio show (h/t USA Today) in Nashville chronicled some of Young’s crazier expenditures based on firsthand testimonials they gathered. Though Young never officially confirmed the details, he didn't deny them either.
Among the revelations was his penchant for the casual dining experience. During his rookie season with the Titans, he reportedly spent as much as $5,000 per week at the Cheesecake Factory and once dropped $6,000 in one night at T.G.I. Fridays.
Deuce McAllister: Nissan Dealership
Former NFL running back Deuce McAllister lost a bundle of money during his career on a number of failed business ventures. Chief among them is the Nissan dealership he purchased in Jackson, Miss. Not a great investment.
How much he paid for the lot is unknown, but details from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed in 2009 revealed that he owed well over $6 million to Nissan, per USA Today. The lot was eventually auctioned off as part of his bankruptcy settlement.
Reggie Jackson: Vintage Car Collection
In 2010, Yankee great Reggie Jackson had such a sizable classic car collection that selling 15 of them to "simplify" his life didn’t even make a dent, according to Chris Woodyard of USA Today. The cars he sold were valued from anywhere between $300,000 and $900,000.
Don’t worry about him, though; he’s still got plenty of horsepower. Mr. October’s collection still boasts more than 70 vintage cars. The bulk of them are from the 1950s and '60s, and most are worth over six figures—some of them well over.
Tom Brady: Real Estate
Al Jefferson: A Bed
Terrell Owens: A Bingo Hall
In November 2011, CourthouseNews.com reported that former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens filed a lawsuit against an attorney who allegedly convinced him to invest in a bingo hall.
Apparently T.O. forked over $2 million to an “entertainment center that included a gaming hall with electronic bingo, which is an illegal gambling operation in Alabama, and a violation of NFL policy.”
Wow. That’s some money the cash-strapped Owens would love to have back.
Dwyane Wade: A Church
This one isn’t insane in the way that most of these other purchases are. The decision of Heat superstar Dwyane Wade to buy his mother a church back in 2008 is more like, “Whoa. What an insanely great son who really takes car of his mom.”
Many years ago Jolinda Wade was a very different woman; she was heavily involved in drugs and did time in prison. Eventually, at Dwyane’s urging, she got clean, turned her life around and then devoted herself to “spreading the world of God,” per an Associated Press report on ESPN.com.
Which is exactly why he made the decision to buy her the church. Said Wade, "Everybody thinks I'm the miraculous story in the family. I think she is. I think what I've done means I've been very blessed, but she's been more than blessed. She's been anointed."
Mike Tyson: White Tigers
Mike Tyson was a helluva boxer back in the day but was not nearly as gifted in managing his money. He dropped money on all kinds of ridiculous things, including a ridiculously oversized Ohio mansion that now sits abandoned.
Of the many purchases he probably regrets, the three white tigers he bought for $70,000 each have to be among them. The tigers ate $1,500 worth of food each day, and Tyson employed an animal trainer to care for them at $125,000 per year.
Tiger Woods: Golf Carts
In 2012, Tiger Woods’ former coach Hank Haney revealed how the golf great spent some of that mountainous pile of money he rakes in each year. Per BusinessInsider.com, Haney revealed the details of one particularly tricked-out golf cart in his book The Big Miss:
When Haney showed up to Tiger's house on his first day, Tiger was on his front lawn next to his tricked out, custom-built golf cart. It had "spinner wheels with a TW logo, a stereo system, and a top speed of 28 miles per hour." ... That's twice as fast as a normal golf cart.
Kobe Bryant: Helicopter
Lakers great Kobe Bryant has more money than most people could spend in a lifetime—maybe even in several lifetimes. That's why he doesn’t bother wasting time navigating the notoriously vexing Los Angeles traffic in a car like everyone else.
Instead of commuting to practice and games at the Staples Center by car, Bryant travels via helicopter. Whether he actually owns the chopper or just has a helicopter guy is unknown, but he probably owns it.
After all, Kobe can afford it. Honestly, it would probably be cheaper to buy one than to constantly rent it out (and lend it to friends) on a moment's notice.
Bubba Watson: Golf Cart Hovercraft
Golfer Bubba Watson has been working in conjunction with Oakley, one of his main sponsors, to hype the BW1 golf cart hovercraft. He participated in a public demonstration of the prototype in April 2013, three months before it went on sale.
Though the terms of the deal were not made public, it’s hard to imagine Watson didn’t get a hovercraft out of it. The BW1 retails for $58,000, and although he probably didn’t pay for his, it still seemed worth mentioning.
Usain Bolt: Sports Cars
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt isn’t just the fastest man on the track; he’s also more often than not the fastest man on any given road.
Although there’s no official count on his inventory—or its overall cost—it’s quite clear he’s dropped more than a few shekels on his car collection.
Bubba Watson: General Lee
Golfer Bubba Watson is a longtime fan of The Dukes of Hazzard, a ridiculous show that actually has its moments. After winning The Masters in 2012, he finally broke down and decided to buy the General Lee, his dream car.
He plunked down $110,000 for the car—a bid the seller actually described as “disappointing.” Watson couldn’t have been more pleased with his (apparent) bargain buy and happily tweeted about it at the time.
Floyd Mayweather: Floyd Mayweather Tickets
Last fall, inexplicably rich boxer Floyd Mayweather dropped $605,000 on the most worthy cause he could have possible conceived of—himself. "Money" spent all that...money...on tickets for TMT (The Money Team) to attend his fight against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Tony Manfred of Business Insider reported that the amount, which represented just 1.5 percent of his total purse for the fight, was simply deducted from his check. The only surprise here? Mayweather was actually paid with a check! Normally he deals exclusively in cash.
Jose Canseco: Fainting Goats
In November 2013, juiced-up former MLB slugger Jose Canseco made a million headlines when he tweeted a photo of a not-so-routine traffic stop. Police pulled Canseco and his girlfriend over for speeding with a couple of fainting goats, which were wearing diapers, occupying the pack of his SUV.
Apparently he and his lady had seen a documentary on fainting goats at some point, and she—she being model Leila Knight—decided they needed to add them to their already extensive collection of animals. I’m not saying he’s an animal hoarder, but yes, that’s actually what I’m saying.
No word on how much he paid for the goats, but it’s safe to assume that both he and the goats will eventually come to regret the purchase—assuming they haven’t already reached that conclusion.
Antrel Rolle: Diamond Jesus Pendant
Recently, Giants safety Antrel Rolle posted a photo to Instagram with the caption, “Why not spoil myself??? I work damn hard for it…” A golden Jesus pendant covered in diamonds definitely qualifies as a splurge.
There’s no way to know how much that eyesore set him back, but it’s safe to say it was a huge pile of money that Jesus probably would have preferred he donate to charity.
J.R. Smith: Black Jesus Pendant
Speaking of diamond Jesus! They must have had a special on these for New York athletes or something—that’s the only way to explain this craziness.
In April 2013, TMZ reported that the New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith was being sued for $48,000 by Lemmerman’s for failing to pay a $25,500 bill of custom jewelry in 2010.
The black Jesus diamond pendant was said to be worth $15,000 alone.
Michael Jordan: Unsellable Mansion
While playing for the Bulls back in the '90s, the legendary Michael Jordan dropped quite a few doubloons on a sprawling Highland Park mansion. The 56,000-square-foot estate sits on seven acres, and some of its features include nine bedrooms, 19 bathrooms, a basketball court, cigar room, beauty parlor and a personalized No. 23 iron gate.
As glorious as the property is, it seems His Airness may have overbuilt for the neighborhood—or any other neighborhood for that matter. He has been trying to sell the home for more than two years now; most recently it failed to sell via auction. It was originally listed for $29 million, but the reserve price on the auction was “just” $13 million.