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It’s become a tired story in the world of professional sports. Welcome to the club, Warren Sapp. A superstar athlete banks millions only to lose it all shortly after his or her career ends.

Sapp is forced to sell his entire Air Jordan collection to pay off his massive debt. He currently owes more than $6.7 million to creditors and back child support and alimony, according to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in South Florida. The court documents detail Sapp’s $6.45 million in assets which include nearly $6,500 worth of Jordan brand shoes and a $1,200 lion skin rug. Sapp currently earns a monthly income of $115,881.


His epic collection of the classic shoe, designed and produced for Nike by now-retired basketball legend Michael Jordan, comprises 240 pairs, and is worth around $6,500. Some pairs (size 15) are worn, some have never been touched.

Sapp filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in April claiming he’d racked up millions of dollars in debts since he retired from the NFL. The 39-year-old’s debts include hundreds of thousands of dollars that he owes in child support payments to four different mothers. On top of the hefty child support payments, he owes $853,000 to the IRS for 2006, another $89,000 for 2010 and $2,858 in medical bills for ‘Corrective Speech and Language Therapy.’


His pricy shoe addiction probably didn’t help stave off his money meltdown. But Sapp’s loss could now be your gain because he’s selling up his entire closet-full of Jordans with all proceeds going towards paying back his creditors. Air Jordans were first released onto the sneaker market in 1985 and Michael Jordan himself first wore them as a rookie in 1984. Originals from the 1980′s fetch up to $600 a pair.

Sapp joins a growing list of cash-strapped former stars that recently added the likes of Terrell Owens, Dennis Rodman, Lenny Dykstra and Allen Iverson.

As an analyst on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” and the NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” Sapp maintained the outspoken style that elevated him from a dominant defensive lineman to a recognizable star. And that personality helped make up for a relative lack of grace on the dance floor as he finished second on Season 7 of “Dancing with the Stars.” 

 But in a landscape of professional athletes who succumb to the temptation to shell out their earnings haphazardly with minimal, if any, foresight, Sapp appeared slightly more prepared for his second career. As San Jose Mercury News columnist Monte Poole writes, Sapp “seemed to have learned from his restless youth, when he fathered two children with his wife and two more with other women. Divorce made him more thoughtful and discerning. He retired with relative quiet and made a smooth transition to the TV studio.”


This is nothing new, according to Sports Illustrated, 78% of NFL players and 60% of NBA players file for bankruptcy within two years of their retirement. Is exorbitant spending to blame? A lack of financial planning and education? Or a lack of common sense?

The NFL’s rookie symposium is supposed to provide fresh-out-of-college athletes with resources — or at least the knowledge — to manage their new riches. But when rookies and veteran quarterbacks alike continue to see their money evaporate, what more can and should be done?

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