Insane Athlete Purchases
When you have a lot of money, your purchases can get really interesting!
Professional athletes rake in some hefty salaries playing for their respective teams. But as good as they are at making money, they’re even better at spending it. Though players in the NFL, NBA, MLB and other national leagues often make purchases that the average person could never imagine, some buys are absurd and over-the-top — even by celebrity standards.
From custom shark tanks to tricked-out rides, here are some of most insane purchases ever made by pro athletes.
Gilbert Arenas — Shark Tanks
As revealed in a 2014 report from The Washington Post, NBA star Gilbert Arenas has spent thousands of dollars to properly maintain his sharks. Yes, he has his own personal shark tank. It costs a whopping $5,000 every single month to feed the animals and an additional $1,500 to pay someone to take care of them.
Mike Tyson — Bengal Tigers
Mike Tyson has pulled a lot of crazy stunts, from his infamous face tattoo to that whole ear-biting incident.
But one of his most questionable actions? Shelling out thousands to purchase three white Bengal tigers, which required him to spend a reported $4,000 a month in care and more than $100,00 a year to insure. Tyson later sold the costly “pets” after running into financial problems, although his love for tigers lives on in as a plot point in “The Hangover” franchise.
Marquis Daniels — Face Pendant
Marquis Daniels made headlines for commissioning a 3-D pendant of his own likeness. That’s right, he actually requested a bedazzled necklace of his own face. It’s unclear exactly how much he paid. But considering that it was a custom order made up of 14-karat gold, it’s probably safe to say it wasn’t cheap.
Arian Foster — A Fleet Of Segways
After earning a five-year, $43.5 million contract in 2012, Arian Foster decided to splurge — on Segways. One of the running back’s biggest purchases was a fleet of Segways that he bought as Christmas presents for his offensive linemen. He may have had good intentions but, considering that some top-of-the-line Segways can cost around $7,000, that’s quite a lot to spend on a not-particularly-practical gift.
Alfonso Soriano – Blue Hummer
Most athletes have at least one expensive car in their garages, if not more. But Alfonso Soriano took it to the next level with his blue Hummer (similar in color to the one pictured below), which was both an eyesore and a huge gas guzzler. The athlete paid a hefty amount for the car itself — and then, as if that wasn’t enough, dropped another reported $100,000 to paint it an obnoxious blue and put in a tricked-out stereo and a plaque with his name on it.
He later turned around and put the car up for sale for less than $40,000.
Terrell Owens — Bingo Hall
With the encouragement of an attorney, Terrell Owens sunk $2 million into an Alabama bingo hall. The problem? Owens apparently failed to do his research and didn’t realize that not only was the gambling operation illegal in the state, but the investment was also a violation of NFL policy. After the project collapsed, Owens sued the attorney who talked him into the deal.
Scottie Pippen — Private Jet
Scottie Pippen once plunked down around $4 million to buy his own private jet, a Gulfstream II. But that in itself, while wildly over-the-top, isn’t the craziest part. The NBA star bought the jet without having his scheduled inspection, thus failing to realize that the plane would require another $1 million in repairs. Pippen refused to pay, and the jet was grounded after only two months.
Eddy Curry — Cable
Paying for cable isn’t particularly crazy — unless you spend over $1,000 a month on it. That’s how much Eddy Curry told a judge he spent on his cable and satellite bill in 2010. At the time, the basketball player was ordered to pay $75,000 a month to a loan company to which he owed $1.2 million. Curry explained that the reason he couldn’t pay off the debt was that he was still paying the expenses for several cars, a chef and, yes, that absolutely outrageous cable bill.
Deuce McAllister — Nissan Dealership
Former New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister spent a hefty chunk of his NFL salary in businesses throughout his native Mississippi. But perhaps the biggest misstep? He invested millions into opening his own Nissan car dealership, despite knowing basically nothing about the car sales business. The dealership closed in 2009 after filing for bankruptcy. McAllister and the Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation later went to court over a federal lawsuit involving the business.
Michael Vick — Custom Fish Pond
Michael Vick has made a lot of terrible financial choices, with the headline-making large-scale dog fighting operation topping the list. But his expensive custom fish pond might be his second-worst investment yet. The former footballer spent $85,000 to establish the pond and an additional almost $50,000 for landscaping. And this was after he’d already filed for bankruptcy — not exactly a smart way to get back on track.
Shaquille O’Neal — Three Cars In One Day
Imagine a young athletic star on the brink of a huge career who has just received his first big paycheck. What would you do with all that money? Well, if you’re a young Shaquille O’Neal, you immediately spend it. As the NBA Hall of Famer recently recounted, he spent his first $1 million in one day on cars and jewelry.
The NBA star says he bought himself a Mercedes-Benz, but then returned to the dealership later to buy two more for his mother and father. He capped off his shopping spree with some diamonds and fancy suits. Luckily, his bank manager helped him get back on track, and he’s been making smarter financial decisions ever since.
Al Jefferson — Giant Bed
Basketball players typically tower over the rest of us, so it makes sense that they’d need a bigger bed. But NBA player Al Jefferson may have gone too far. The athlete reportedly shelled out over $20,000 for a huge bed that measures at 10 feet by 12 feet. To put that into perspective, you can fit a Mini Cooper on that bed and still have plenty of room left over. Yeah, Jefferson is tall, but he’s not that tall.
Floyd Mayweather — Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch
Many athletes spend thousands of dollars on blinged-out jewelry and accessories, but Floyd Mayweather took it to an entirely new level in 2018. The boxer forked over a whopping $18 million (!!) to buy Jacob & Co.’s Billionaire diamond watch. The timepiece, which Forbes describes as “exceptionally extravagant,” features 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds. Still, is a single watch ever really worth the price of several nice homes? Apparently, Mayweather thought so.
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Kobe Bryant — Private Helicopter
Kobe Bryant didn’t actually purchase his own private helicopter, but he may as well have. The NBA superstar rented out one helicopter so often that some outlets started dubbing it the “Kobe-copter.” He regularly used the helicopter to fly to games so he wouldn’t have to sit in L.A. traffic, sometimes even lending it out to his fellow teammates. For his part, Bryant says he didn’t consider the helicopter a luxury, but more of a tool to prevent his body from getting stiff while sitting in traffic.
DeShawn Stevenson — At-Home ATM
It definitely isn’t the most expensive purchase on this list, but it is among the weirdest. In 2012, it was revealed that DeShawn Stevenson apparently had an ATM machine installed inside his house. Because apparently, banks are too much of a hassle? The NBA player reportedly shelled out about $3,500 for the ATM, but that’s not even the best part. Per TMZ, Stevenson charges his friends and fellow NBA players $4.50 per transaction to use the ATM.
Latrell Sprewell — Luxury Yacht
Former NBA player Latrell Sprewell once famously turned down a three-year, $21 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, saying it wasn’t enough to feed his family. Maybe he should’ve reconsidered. Before leaving the team, the basketball player spent $1.5 million on a 70-foot yacht called “Milwaukee’s Best.” The vessel required monthly payments of $10,322 but was repossessed by a bank in 2007.
Darnell Dockett — Pet Alligator
In 2011, Darnell Dockett decided to buy an alligator, which he named Nino. Though it’s unclear how much he shelled out for the exotic pet, Dockett was clearly excited about the bizarre purchase, even suggesting that he was going to bring Nino to training camp. In 2014, he tweeted that he paid for another gator named Honey, who was expected to reach 500 pounds. Because you know what they say — one gator just isn’t enough!
— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) October 25, 2014
Yoenis Céspedes — Grand-Champion Pig
Just because you have the money to buy an unconventional pet doesn’t mean you should — especially if you don’t bother doing any research first. In 2016, baseball player Yoenis Céspedes spent $7,000 on a grand-champion pig at a 4-H Club Auction in Florida. Unfortunately, he didn’t pay much attention to the state law regarding auctions, and the animal had to be sent to a butcher just days later. Needless to say, PETA wasn’t happy with the athlete.
The organization released a statement that read, “Yoenis Céspedes can afford $7,000 out of his own pocket, and this loving, loyal, and clever pig is paying the real price with his life. It’s a shame that Céspedes dropped the ball here and missed the opportunity to send this pig to a sanctuary.”
Carmelo Anthony — Camel
Like many other athletes, Carmelo Anthony couldn’t just settle for an ordinary pet. Instead, the NBA star opted to buy his own camel — because, you know, a camel is an obvious choice for a basketball star who plays for the Knicks and lives in New York City. Anthony tweeted about the purchase, writing, “Everybody got dogs and cats as pets, I got a camel!”
Lionel Messi — His Neighbor’s House
Dealing with obnoxious neighbors is an inevitable part of life, but soccer star Lionel Messi definitely has a unique way of handling it. When his neighbors proved to be too noisy for his liking, Messi decided to go ahead and just buy their house. According to Fox Sports, Messi initially tried to erect a privacy wall between his house in Castelldefels, Spain, and that of his neighbors, but building regulations wouldn’t allow it. So he finally just bought the property outright — and just like that, bye, bye neighbors!
Jarrett Jack — Sneakers
NBA veteran Jarrett Jack is a major sneakerhead — and that’s putting it lightly. The basketball star is known for his massive shoe collection, which reportedly consists of more than 1,500 pairs of sneakers, including many limited-edition shoes. The athlete reportedly wears a different pair every day and carries multiple options on road trips. Though the exact cost of his entire collection is unknown, Jack has admitted to paying as much as $2,000 for a single pair of sneakers, so you can bet it’s worth a pretty penny.
Joe Johnson — Shoe Closet
Although his collection isn’t quite as extensive as that of Jarrett Jack’s, Joe Johnson does have hundreds of sneakers. But the most impressive part of his shoe game is the storage space they’re housed in. Sports Illustrated once photographed the basketball player’s shoe closet, which includes floor-to-ceiling shelving, complete with recessed lighting on each rack. It basically looks like an in-home Foot Locker.
Curt Schilling — Video Game Empire
After helping lead the Red Sox to a World Series win, former pitcher Curt Schilling retired and decided to sink $50 million of his fortune into a new career — video games. The baseball player launched a gaming company, 38 Studios, which he said would deliver an entirely new experience that would rival “World of Warcraft.”
Schilling (seen presenting one such game below) even got the state of Rhode Island to invest $75 million into the company with the hopes of creating hundreds of jobs and more revenue for the state. Unfortunately, Schilling, though a gamer at heart, neglected to admit that he had virtually no management experience or business acumen, and the entire business went kaput in only two years.
Darius Miles — Presidential Paint Job
Speaking of insane purchases, Darius Miles once actually shelled out money to have someone paint a $100 bill — with a close-up of Benjamin Franklin’s face — on the hood of his car. As if having the likeness of a Founding Father on your car isn’t stand-out enough, the basketball player made a special request that Franklin be depicted smoking a joint.
Evander Holyfield — Mega-Mansion
Evander Holyfield earned hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of his legendary boxing career — and he had no problem spending it. But his biggest purchase of all had to be his ginormous, 54,000-square-foot, 235-acre estate in Georgia. The mega-mansion consisted of 109 rooms (!) and tons of farming land and reportedly required $1 million in annual maintenance fees.
The property eventually went into foreclosure and Holyfield was forced to leave the property for good. In 2014, Rick Ross shelled out $5.8 million for the property, which is the largest single-family home in the state of Georgia.