Life after sports means bankruptcy to some

Planning ahead is key to staying out of financial trouble


MIAMI – It's not uncommon to hear about former professional athletes blowing through their wealth after their playing days are over. 

Seventy-eight percent of NFL players and about sixty percent of NBA players end up in bankruptcy just years after retirement. But there are a few players who plan ahead by building their brands before it's too late.

Miami Heat and NBA champion point guard Mario Chalmers knows the importance of branding. 

This summer, he was busy making appearances across the country. He helped organized basketball camps, like the one at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami. 

"I am really trying to get out there. I need to brand myself and let people know what I'm doing," he told Local 10's Constance Jones.

Life as a professional sports star is the good life. But when they retire or when the game retires them, many end up broke.

Former Miami Heat forward Antoine Walker declared bankruptcy and was forced to move into a $900 per month apartment with a roommate after making $110 million.

Pro baseball player Lenny Dykstra was recently released from prison after serving time for bankruptcy fraud. Despite $250 million in career earnings, four-time heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield had his home foreclosed.

The average career span for NBA players is five-to-six years. For NFL players, it's even shorter: just 3 1/2 years. That's why they work with sports marketers to build their image during their playing days.

For fifteen years, Floyd Raglin has worked with the best in the business. He is a sports marketer who finds his players corporate marketing opportunities, product endorsements and speaking engagements. His biggest client is Dennis Rodman. 

"If you are going to get into marketing, there is nobody better than Dennis," Ralglin said. "Not going to say everything is right or wrong, but he is still on the top of the game right now."

Floyd said not everyone is Rodman, so he encourages his clients to start early.

There are some veteran players who got it right.

Former Dolphin John Offerdahl now runs several restaurants around South Florida. His company's net worth an estimated $1.3 billion.

Miami's own Alonzo Mourning is worth about $90 million. He has kept his brand current through his many charitable events.

Almost all major league sports teams require their players to go through a financial planning workshop. Chalmers told Local 10 the Miami Heat require all players to take the class.