I just recently had a chance to see ESPN's 30 for 30 episode, Broke, which was based on a bunch of athletes who accumulated heaps of money only to go broke in the 80s, 90s, and the 2000s. Here are a few things I took away from the episode:
1) Athletes sure do spend a lot of money.
Being a resident of New York and a big fan of hip-hop music, it is no surprise that people with new money love to floss. I've seen plenty of rappers and athletes out and about in over the years. The trendy outfits, flashy jewelry, and fast women are omnipresent. However, I was unaware of the sheer upkeep involved in maintaining this lifestyle on a daily basis. It never occurred to me that these guys have to floss every time they step out of the house. Every club, every bar, everything you do, you must maintain this baller image. That in and of itself is such a hard lifestyle to uphold. You basically have to live your life like a king from some fairy tale. You constantly have to adorn yourself with jewels and expensive things, or else people think that you are a broke joke. This sort of lifestyle does not seem fun at all.
2) Andre Rison sure did love the 90s.
Andre Rison was featured prominently in the documentary. He only looks a few years removed from his prime. His face is a little fatter but he appears to be in decent shape and it doesn't seem like the last time he played in the NFL was over a decade ago. Of course, I remembered him from his days with the Atlanta Falcons, as well as his relationship with Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez from the R&B group TLC. She also infamously burned down his mansion one night during a fight in which he beat her and she responded by putting flame to his bathroom.
The way Rison described it, the nineties were just one great big blowout party for him. He bought all the fancy cars often competing with teammates on who had the newest, flashiest ride. He made it seem as if they would check out the car dealerships everyday and the instant something new popped up, the first one to purchase it won some kind of informal prize. He was this way in his purchase of clothes, jewelry and everything else too.
He also described how he was one of the original guys to make it rain in the stripclubs, by taking $1 dollar, $5 dollar, or even $100 dollar bills and throwing them into the air as the ladies danced. As if that wasn't enough he spoke about how he drank so much champagne he couldn't drink anymore. He would spend 15k between him and his friends at the club on a regular basis, often having absolutely no idea how much was spent until months later. Rison spoke of waking up in the mornings laid out in the hotel room with 10k in one pocket, 15k on the floor and 5k in a coat pocket. This was a regular occurrence for him. He would spend so much that he would be broke in the offseason, only to resume the same activities the next season. I'm not sure one could get a nice fulfilling life by pursuing a strategy such as this, but it makes for a ton of entertaining stories, I'd imagine.
3) Making money is a business.
The heading of this section is a summary for the remainder of the documentary. Some people will watch this and think, "These athletes are stupid for blowing their money and if it was me, I'd still be wealthy." Others may look at them and feel sorry for them as if they don't deserve any of the bad that happened in their lives. I look at it without passing moral judgement, however, what I do think is that those who grow up in money are inherently better at keeping money, and that holds true whether you are an athlete, entertainer, or lottery winner.
What I mean by this is that simply making it pro and signing a big check is not the end of a lifelong dream, it is a beginning into a whole new world. You are stepping away from everything you ever knew and are moving into a realm that includes, agents, advisers, and lawyers. You also have family, groupies, and sharks who want to take you every last scent. Not only is it hard for a 21 year old athlete to navigate this, it is hard for anyone to navigate this at any age, especially if you are unfamiliar with it.
The amount of people in theses guys lives that are just there to milk money or get a handout or get a loan or girls that want to get babies or guys that want money to open a record label or car wash or get into sports betting or invest in a business, is ridiculously high. On top of that you are supposed to continue to play your sport and have your mind focused at all times. I believe it was ex-NBA all-star Jamal Mashburn who said, "Once you receive that first check, you are now a business." How you run that business is one of the most important things you could learn as a young athlete. It is a shame that there is no entity out there to hammer this lesson home. The same topics this documentary covered will continue as long as non millionaires get checks to make them millionaires. Maintaining
money is a mental mind state. Those who are into flossing and spending do not have the requisite mind state for success in the business of making money. And if you aren't into the business of making money, when you have a ton of money, you can expect the vultures to gather around as if you were carrion.
4) WOMEN, WOMEN, WOMEN
Lastly, If you want to blow your money fast and you are a millionaire. Get married and/or have kids. If you met your girlfriend at a club in V.I.P, she is probably not the right girl for you. If you are dating a singer in an R&B group who is known for being crazy, she is probably not the right girl for you. If you are dating a nanny or actress, she is probably not the right girl for you. If you are dating a girl that is a member of ballerstatus.com, she is probably not the right girl for you. Luckily, I don't have any of these problems.
All in all its a decent documentary. It lacks true story form and plays out more like an extended 60 Minutes segment, but it is decent. If you are a big fan of Andre Rison, I'd give this a look.
Ryan Nar writes for Docksquad Sports and can be found on Twitter @ryannarsayshi