It almost seems as if it would take hard work to bring in a professional athlete’s salary for years and then lose it all. Yet it happens enough that ESPN Films has dedicated an entire project to it.
A feature-length documentary showing at the Tribeca Film Festival next week — Broke — will shed some light on why, according to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of NBA players and 78 percent of NFL players are broke within five years of retirement.
The description: “Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems and naturally prone to showing off, most pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Jamal Mashburn, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature carries them to victory on the field and ruin off it.”
Director Billy Corben says he’s attempted to “paint a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes’ bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large while still holding these giants accountable for their own hubris.”