Christensen: Cautionary Tales
By Todd Christensen, The Mtn. InsiderApril 17, 2012
This past week, two different stories came to the attention of the sporting public by two very different personalities, and they were two experiences that paralleled in an unfortunate way.
Antoine Walker, he of the ‘shimmy-shake’ when he was starring with the Boston Celtics, finally called it quits at the age of 35. He had been playing for the Idaho Stampeders in the D League hoping for one more shot at the big-time that never came to fruition. One might ask why a star of his magnitude and someone who had made over 110 million dollars in his career was doing, balling it in the bush leagues. But through profligate spending and bad business decisions, he was broke and actually needed the money to fend off creditors.
Beginning in the '70s, Leigh Steinberg launched a career as an agent that was nonpareil. At one point, he represented eight consecutive first round selections. He was the agent that inspired the iconic movie Jerry Maguire and in 1999 he and his two partners sold their business to the Assante Corporation for a cool $120 million. While questionable business decisions were part of the downfall for Steinberg, the major culprit was demon rum. By 2008, he had lost his family and on January 11 of this year he was forced to file bankruptcy.
In a difficult economy and a country in which the average American household brings in $38K per year, it’s difficult to have sympathy for either one of these cases. To have lost those considerable fortunes is an embarrassment of epic proportions, something that will irrevocably change their respective lives and lifestyles. Naturally as we read such things, we think that we would never be that foolish. But these particular cases are not the first and will certainly not be the last of indiscriminate uses of the dollar.
Oscar Wilde pointed out, "There are two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want. The other is getting it." The lesson to us individually and collectively is to rejoice in our respective portion.
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