I love the action. I love the adrenaline, going in [the casino].”

— John Daly


When an athlete is at his/her peak, he/she is on top of the world. At the same time, all famous professional athletes feel pressure. The world is looking at them, rooting for them, rooting against them, and following their games and everyday lives. The pressure is extreme, and the fame is incredible. With this pressure and fame, comes a huge salary. Top-paid professional athletes get paid millions upon millions of dollars per year. With this kind of money, people might think that athletes will never have to work after their professional athletic careers have ended. And, truthfully, that is what many athletes think, too. They are in their primes at a young age and are not fully developed mature adults. They have inflated egos, and some spend the money they make like there is no tomorrow. John Daly, one of the most famous golfers ever, who won multiple championships, lost over $50 million through gambling. Other big names like Mike Tyson and Mark Brunell also went broke or became heavily in debt. The giant stage and the giant paycheck mixed with the wrong person can cause that person to fall.

Daly is a world-famous golfer with a household name. He won four international championships, has five PGA tour victories under his belt, and is still playing professionally today. Daly is only 53 and has a net worth of $2 million. He has already made over $10 million in on-course money in addition to thousands more in off-course endorsements. His career started in 1987 when he was only 21 years old. He was on top of the world and making millions. He said it himself: he loves adrenaline rushes. Many famous athletes do, which is what leads them to make mistakes that ruin their careers and their financial lives. Daly was a gambler, and he became an addict. According to a 2014 article from The Golf Channel (golfchannel.com) entitled “Daly Estimates Gambling Losses at $55 Million,” Daly stated, “I love the action. I love the adrenaline, going in [the casino].” Daly was not just addicted to gambling; he needed the adrenaline rush. Because of this, Daly lost almost $55 million. He explained that he was in shock when he saw how much money he truly lost; he did not realize that his debt was so extreme. After coming to terms with the extreme debt, he matured over the years and decreased how often he gambles. Now, he only gambles a little bit of money at a time. He learned from his mistakes and realized that the high was not worth the debt. Today, Daly is playing golf and making money without losing it.

At only 20 years old, Tyson became the youngest professional boxer to win a heavyweight championship. He was a world heavyweight champion who, throughout his career, won over $700 million. That amount of money would last most people many lifetimes, but Tyson spent all of it, and more. He was $23 million in debt in 2003 and filed for bankruptcy. Tyson lived the high life on the big stage and spent his money on lavish things. He bought over 200 cars during his career and owns an enormous mansion. He was married three times and spoiled all of his wives and children. He had many boxing accomplishments but is now only worth $3 million, $270 million less than he was at the peak of his career. Despite all of this, Tyson claims he is happy.

Phil Mickelson, Mark Brunell, and Randy Moss are other world-famous athletes who have been in debt or gone broke. They have experienced success that most people cannot even dream of. They have also made more money than most people would believe, but they all lost it. Most people would not and do not know how to manage this amount of money. People of different ages had different reactions when asked how they would manage such a large amount of money at a young age. Sophomore Rachel Belmont said she would buy a house and a dog, and sophomore Tyler Ippolito said he would invest. Adults took a longer time to think about the question when they were asked. Instead of having to think to the future, these adults have firsthand experience with managing money. English Teachers Jessica Sanders and Roseanne Mitchell agree that they would have spent some of their money frivolously if they had made this sum of money when they were young. Health Teacher Jennifer Kramer said that she would want someone qualified to manage her money, but she would also want to travel a lot. The different answers to this question show that there is no good answer or perfect way to manage an incredibly large amount of money.

Athletes live on adrenaline rushes. The highs they get from hitting a walk-off home run or shooting the winning shot is unmatchable. Famous athletes are watched and loved by millions. They live their lives on a giant stage. With this giant stage, there comes a giant paycheck, but you cannot play a sport forever. After bad decisions and abundant spending, many famous athletes find themselves in piles of debt. Within the blink of an eye, their money is gone, and they have fallen.