Millionaire Athletes Going Broke

I just recently watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 series titled “Broke”. Essentially it is a documentary on athletes who have made hundreds of millions of dollars but are flat out broke.  I am by no means a financial expert, but feel that I could give wise counsel to almost all of the situations discussed. This counsel wouldn’t come from me, but would come from God’s word. Had these athletes followed a biblical worldview of handling their finances, I believe their lives would look completely different.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not trying to come off as judgmental (I know I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and my mistakes don’t show up on Sports Center or USA Today!)- my intention is to show that God’s word is applicable not only to the average “Joe” but to everyone- regardless of income, status, job title or lack of job title. Here are a few thoughts that stuck out to me from watching the show:

  • As an athlete, one of the most humiliating things you can say to an opponent is that you “own” them. It means that they are inferior and that they call the shots. An overriding theme of this documentary was athletes being owned by debt.

 “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

  • Seeking counsel seemed to be another theme in these athletes financial demise. They either didn’t seek counsel or they sought counsel from people who were self serving.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” -Proverbs 12:15

 “The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsel of the wicked are deceitful.” – Proverbs 12:5

  • Most of these athletes came into their professional sports as kids who had never been equipped to handle finances. They have never had any training or anyone to walk along side of them and “mentor” them. This seemed to be a prevalent key to their financial demise and a perceived failure from the colleges and leagues that employed them or gave them scholarships.

“Train a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

  •  Athletes never want to look like a fool- they want to look like the hero. No one wants to be on Sports Center’s Top Ten Plays by dropping a ball, fumbling on the one-yard line, or air balling a free throw. Yet when it came to saving money, a majority of these athletes looked just like that, a fool.

 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” –Proverbs 21:20

  •  Many of these athletes have come from poor or poverty stricken homes and have never had any money. They have started their careers going from zero to financial hero without ever having the opportunity to be tested with small or average amounts of money.

 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” –Luke 16:10

  •  Another overriding theme was that these athletes never knew how much money they had or where their money was going. They weren’t involved in the planning of their finances and never took any type of initiative.

 “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.” – Proverbs 24:3-4

 There are many more biblical principles that could be applied to this documentary. I encourage you to watch, from a biblical worldview lens, the next time it is on. The reality is this- it is obvious that these athletes (or advisors) have squandered what was entrusted to them. But they really are a reflection of our society as a whole, just on a larger scale. They are really no different than a lot of people in our cities or towns. The biggest difference is their amounts and their high profiles. I would encourage you to think about how you can help the people in your area deal with their finances from a biblical perspective. Taking them through a Compass Small Group Study is a great place to start!

God Bless, Kyle

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About Compass - finances God's way

Compass—finances God’s way, is a worldwide non-profit interdenominational ministry that teaches people how to handle money based on the principles of the Bible.
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3 Responses to Millionaire Athletes Going Broke

  1. larryweber says:

    I was a sport agent for several years. What you describe below is unfortunately not uncommon. I have helped many athletes with the transition from elite athlete to regular person since giving up the sport agent business. They experience something called “athlete transition” that leaves a huge void in their life and heart when they leave elite sport. Like all of us, they need Jesus to fill the void.

  2. Steve Moore says:

    I Tivoed this and watched it recently. Eye-opening and very sad. Thank God for guys like Dave Szafranski (a regular guest on MoneyWise) who is certified by the NFL to offer his financial planning services to these guys. He is honest and skilled at what he does and always looks for opportunities to share spiritual values as well as good financial direction.

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