When you finally make it to the top of your sport, be it football, baseball, basketball or any other professional sport, there is one thing that you simply cannot get away from and that is money. As a famed athlete you will see sponsorships deals, high wages and money being thrown at you from all angles as you progress through the sport. For most athletes, they spend the large majority of their time training or practicing the sport which has taken them to such dizzy heights and that leaves little time to splash the cash which they have in their pockets.
Once you have bought the house, the cars, the clothes and the jewelry, paid for a few vacations and picked up a rare pet or two, what is there left to spend money on? Why of course, making more of it by way of gambling, pro athletes have strict rules on gambling but many are able to find legal ways of staking their money in different places, some may even look for sport betting options in Canada or other countries where the rules differ slightly.
Today we’re going to take a look at 10 sports stars who loved nothing than more than spending their free time and their pocket money on the ancient art of gambling.
Ex-pro footballer Paul Hornung was a running back for the Green Bay Packers during the early 60s, he was a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP in 1961 as well as being part of the team that won the very first Super Bowl back in 1967. Hornung loved nothing more than throwing his money at a good spread and unfortunately for him he was banned for the entire ’63 season for betting on football games. The running back claimed that he would stop gambling and after some friendly lobbying from a certain Vince Lombardi, he was reinstated for the ’64 season.
Gifted young receiver Kenny McKinley was a hot prospect for the Denver Broncos who last year sadly took his own life. It was later revealed that the young footballer loved nothing more than hitting the casinos, specifically in Vegas and owed money to a number of Las Vegas casinos as well as to a teammate. The debts became too much and after a bout of depression the young footballer could find no other way out. The sad side to gambling.
The 49-0 boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather is well known for his penchant for gambling, so much so that there are even some casinos in Vegas that won’t take his bets any more as a result of his infamous lucky winning streaks which sees him clean up on a regular basis. Floyd often posts his bets and his winnings on social media and some of the sums which he likes to gamble are staggering, equally, so are some of his winnings.
US pro golfer John Daly was raking in the money during the 80s and 90s and with his iconic and colorful style of both playing and dressing, he became an instant hit on the circuit. John Daly has confessed that he simply loves gambling in all of its forms and was as surprised as most of us when it became clear that during a 12-year stint throughout the 90s and early 00s, Daly lost between $50-60 million. $5,000 slots and 36-hour blackjack marathons contributed to Daly’s losses but fortunately for the golfer, his income can more than support it and his winnings are pretty high too.
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons
Pete Rose played Major League Baseball from 1963 until his retirement in 1969, Rose was a phenomenal baseball player who holds several MLB records including for hits and at-bats and he collected 3 series rings, an MVP and a Golden Gloves award. Following his retirement however it was discovered the Rose loved to gamble and after being found having bet on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds, Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball and was denied entry into the Hall of Fame.
One of the greatest baseball players of his generation, Alex Rodriguez gained notoriety for his impressive performances for the New York Yankees as short-stop and third baseman and is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time. Rodriguez however, like many who have gone before him loved nothing more than gambling, specifically in high-stakes poker games and, to the dislike of the MLB, often illegal, high-stakes poker games.
Denny McClain worked with Pete Rose on the 1969 How to Play Better Baseball and it would seem that the two had more than just the book in common. McClain loved to gamble on horse and he enjoyed it so much that he even invested in a bookmaking operation. Unfortunately, the other members of the operation were the Syrian mob and as the years progressed, the baseball player got into lots of difficulties with his new friends including being injured by the mob for them to win a bet.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Even Air Jordan couldn’t contain himself when it came to the casino and he was regularly spotted in Atlantic City playing high-stakes. Rumors even circulated that Jordan’s first retirement in ’93 was about getting his addiction dealt with although they are unsupported claims.
A promising draft pick for the Indianapolis Colts, Art Schlichter’s career soon took a turn for the worst after he racked up huge debts through his love for gambling. By the end of 1985 the NFL player had debts of $700,000 and even got picked up by cops for his part in a multi-million dollar sports betting scheme, this guy loved money and gambling way more than football.
Lenny Dykstra formed a solid MLB career for the New York Mets and later the Phillies, he was a 3-time All Star and and a World Series champion but he will be remembered far more avidly for his love of gambling rather than his baseball ability. St one point, Dykstra was riding high in his career, pulling in millions, betting big and winning bigger, his luck ran out however and after finishing his career and going bankrupt, Dykstra ended up spending time living out of his own car, quite the fall from grace.
Who is your favorite gambling sports star, the winners? The losers? Or the ones who haven’t quite made it to the front pages yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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