Pippen Joins Ex-Millionaires

Bobby Curran
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Friday - August 18, 2010
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The news that Scottie Pippen has joined the swelling ranks of former athletes who have gone broke was jarring, but should not come as a complete shock. We’ve been hearing for a while that many pro athletes are in desperate financial straits soon after the cheers have stopped.

Sports Illustrated reports that 80 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or nearly so two years after retiring, and 60 percent of NBA players are there after five years. Other estimates are only slightly less harsh, but all cite the same causes: lavish spending, no financial planning and bad decisions. Seems like the first two are mere elements of the third.

In Pippen’s case, there were warning signs. I remember a television interview during the Chicago years when he bitterly complained that he’d never see the “real money.” At the time he was making $3.5 million per year. He also had spent $4.3 million on a Gulfstream II corporate jet. Here’s a news flash, Scottie: If you don’t have a corporation, it’s probably best to forgo the corporate jet. Pippen had career earnings of $120 million. He just won a legal judgment of $2 million, which may keep the wolf from the door a while longer.


While it won’t help athletes in individual sports such as Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson or John Daly, certainly the major sports leagues could intervene in what might well be described as a crisis. Education and deferred payments might go a long way to preventing these disasters. You can imagine that some would scream that the leagues were abridging the players’ rights and were guilty of paternalistic thinking, so don’t expect anything much to change except the names in the news.

But it still doesn’t answer one pressing question. How exactly did Mike Tyson spend $2 million on a bathtub?

* Expect the University of Hawaii football team to return to its kick-blocking ways of the distant past this season.

The reason is true freshman phenom John Hardy-Tuliau. No schoolboy in California history has ever blocked as many kicks as the 26 Hardy-Tuliau knocked down at Vista Murrieta High School.

In the early days of camp he has demonstrated that the record was no fluke. He has already gotten his hands on a couple of kicks.

“It’s kind of a knack,” says associate coach Rich Miano. “Some players have the combination of a great get-off - they take the right angles and they anticipate where the ball comes off the foot. John is the real deal.”

Miano mentioned that Hardy-Tuliau also has been impressive at corner, and could compete for playing time there despite returning players with deep experience.

Practice observers are beginning to get excited about the defense, which is starting to show signs that it could be a whole greater than the sum of the parts - and the parts are pretty good.

* Individual game tickets were to go on sale Aug. 16, and UH officials are hopeful that USC should draw close to a full house.

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