Great athletes work hard to be the best they can at their sport. We see that with football and Tom Brady who at 40 years old is still the best quarterback in the National Football League. In baseball we saw that with Derek Jeter with the Yankees his work ethic helped the Yankees win multiple championships. In basketball we saw that with Michael Jordan who won multiple championships with the Chicago Bulls. But doing good on the court could also mean they aren’t so popular off the field. There are players who have multiple children and need to pay child support.
Then there are those players who grew up without a father at all, because their father abandoned them or had trouble with substance abuse issues. In this article I will name the top 10 athletes who are terrible fathers and the top 10 athletes who grew up with terrible fathers. Sometimes growing up without a father maybe gave the athlete inspiration to be the best player he could. Several athletes you’ll see here grew up with a single mother who did double the work, but still wound up raising some fine young men. It sure is a testament to what single parents are able to accomplish.
20. Had A TERRIBLE FATHER: KEVIN DURANT
NBA star Kevin Durant won his first NBA title last season with the Golden State Warriors. Growing up though wasn’t easy for the NBA star. Durant was born in Washington D.C. When Durant was an infant his father deserted the family and his parents later divorced. His grandmother would help raise him. Kevin Durant knew at a young age he could excel at basketball so despite his family troubles he picked a skill and made it his profession. Kevin Durant would play Amateur Athletic Union or (AAU) basketball for the Maryland area. He would be future teammates with future NBA players such as Michael Beasley, Greivis Vasquez, and Ty Lawson Durant remains friends with these guys to this day. Durant would play basketball all the way through high school in 2006 he was the second -best high school prospect.
19. TERRIBLE FATHER: WILLIS MCGAHEE
Willis McGahee was a great running back on the field but off the field he was anything but good. Willis McGahee had three children with three different women in a short amount of time. Two of the children are with two different school teachers. One of whom he was married at the time. Altogether McGahee has 10 children with eight different women. He certainly isn’t the Father Of The Year. His latest child was in 2014 with a track and field star named Marshevet Hooker. McGahee is 36 years old and all the money he made playing football – around $25 million – goes to paying child support. This may be a big reason why athletes go broke when they retire from their sport, because of the mistakes they make off the field.
18. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: LEBRON JAMES
LeBron James has proven to be one the most dominant players in the NBA. His success started at a very young age though. His mother raised LeBron by herself as his father left when he found out his mother was pregnant. That didn’t stop LeBron. He played AAU Basketball and his mother allowed him to move with a family of a local youth football coach named Frank Walker. Walker would introduce LeBron to basketball. He would be selected right out of high school in the NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was quoted in 2014 of how his absent father was used as an inspiration saying “Like, ‘Wow, Dad, you know what, I don’t know you, I have no idea who you are, but because of you is part of the reason who I am today.’
17. TERRIBLE FATHER: GEORGE FOREMAN
George Foreman was a professional boxer he might have been good in the ring but outside the ring he loved women. Foreman has 12 children; five sons and seven daughters. His five sons are all named George and his daughters are named Michi, Freeda, and Georgetta all of who are from a separate relationship. Foreman was married four times prior to 1985. That’s a lot of child support even though he is worth about $250 million.
He is now a minster and a preacher to dads to make their relationships good with their children, so they don’t make the same mistake Foreman has made. It’s good to know Foreman has changed his ways, but for a while, he was simply out of control.
16. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
Shaquille O’Neal won a lot of championships in the NBA with the Lakers and one with the Miami Heat in 2006 but it was a long road to get to where he is today. Growing up was tough for O’Neal his father Joe Toney was imprisoned for drug possession when O’Neal was just an infant. He would later give up his parental rights to O’Neal’s stepfather Phillip Harrison an Army sergeant. O’Neal to this day won’t express wanting to start an relationship with his biological father. His step father died in 2013. He met his biological father in 2016 and said “I don’t hate you I had a good life, I had Phil.” Shaq’s net worth is $400 million he made out just fine without his father in his life.
15. TERRIBLE FATHER: KARL MALONE
Karl Malone was a great basketball player on the court but off the court he was anything but good. When Karl Malone was 17 years old he had twins, Daryl and Cheryl Ford. He didn’t claim them until 1998 when the tabloid The Globe outed the story. There was paternity lawsuits involving Malone back in his hometown of Summerfield, Louisiana. The other paternity suit involved Demetress Bell. Malone fathered Bell when he was 20 years old, while the mother at the time was only 13. Malone fought hard not to pay child support but lost in both cases. He since has managed a relationship with Daryl and Cheryl Ford but for Bell, he wants nothing to do with his dad who’s now a football player. Bell said its “too late” for him to be his father after he graduated high school.
14. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: LANCE ARMSTRONG
Lance Armstrong made headlines when admitted to using performance- enhancing drugs during his cycling titles. As a young child he never really had his father around after his parents divorced when he was just two years old. The year after his parents divorced, his mother married Terry Keith Armstrong, a wholesale salesman, who adopted Lance that year. Lance Armstrong’s father also has two other children.
At the age of 12, Armstrong started his sporting career as a swimmer at the City of Plano Swim Club and finished fourth in Texas state 1,500-meter freestyle. He would go on too win multiple titles and be successful but after he was busted he lost a lot of sponsorships. Lance’s father died in 2012 at the age of 59. His dad tried to make amends before he died with Lance but Lance wouldn’t forgive him.
13. TERRIBLE FATHER: TRAVIS HENRY
Travis Henry seemed to have a problem with staying with one woman. Travis Henry has nine children, each by different mother, some born as closely as a few months apart. Travis Henry is a retired running back played for three teams from 2001-2007. He played for the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, and Denver Broncos. But his decisions off the field cost him a really good chance to be one of the top running backs in the game. He was always in court for child support and would leave one woman he had a kid with for another. His production on the field suffered. Travis Henry said that he was broke from all the child support he had to pay. In 2009 he was on house arrest for drugs, then Henry was jailed for failing to pay $16,600 in child support. At the time, he was supposed to be paying $170,000 a year for child support.
12. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: ALEX RODRIGUEZ
Alex Rodriguez currently is an analyst for FS1 MLB postseason coverage. He was caught for using steroids but did win a World Series Championship with the New York Yankees. Rodriguez grew up without a father as he left when Rodriguez was the age of nine. Before his father left he moved the family to the Dominican Republic from New York where Rodriguez was born. His father would leave the family after he moved the family to Miami Florida. To this day he still rarely talks to his father saying ” I still don’t really know how a man could do that to his family: turn his back.” He was also bitter about the divorce his parents had saying “There was bitterness when I was in my middle teens and early 20s, but as a man you realize relationships don’t always work out.”
11. TERRIBLE FATHER: JASON KIDD
Jason Kidd had many different controversies that surrounded him throughout his NBA career, including allegations of domestic abuse and of course, there was the DUI arrest a few years ago. In terms of what he’s like as a father, one of his kids actually spoke out on how she felt her father was absent for most of her life. Kidd’s NBA paycheck ensured that the family was provided for, but being a good father doesn’t just mean providing for kids. Cheyenne Kidd tweeted out to fathers, saying: “Fathers, PLEASE be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.”
Kidd’s ex-wife recently spoke to TMZ and claimed that Kidd, now coaching the Milwaukee Bucks is expecting his eighth child soon.
10. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: RICKY WILLIAMS
Ricky Williams was a great running back on the field but it was a long road to get him to where he is. Williams had several sisters and even a twin was born to teenage parents. Williams father left the family and that’s when they faced financial difficulty. Ricky Williams was just five years old at the time and had to become the man of the house because of his father leaving his mother. With all that stress at such an young age, Williams suffered from anger issues that led his mother to send him to counseling. Football was the outlet to let his stress and anger out. Williams once said “I was always very bright, but not necessarily a hard worker. I think I was in eighth grade when I became really focused as a student and started getting good grades.”
9. TERRIBLE FATHER: CHRIS BOSH
Chris Bosh is a good basketball player on the court but off the court he isn’t really too popular. Bosh was a deadbeat dad by Allison Mathis, claimed Bosh left her when she was seven months pregnant with their child. Bosh was making $4.4 million at the time. There was an lawsuit involved which left her with no health insurance and was forced to live with her mother. Bosh tried to kick her out of their $1.6 million home at the time. Bosh then allegedly claimed the child was not his and the stress of the situation caused her complications in the pregnancy. Bosh would have another child in 2014 with his current wife. Apparently, Bosh’s ex-girlfriend was so furious at Bosh, she refused to let her daughter attend Bosh’s NBA games.
8. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: RAY LEWIS
Ray Lewis made a great career playing football but his early life was a tough one. Ray Lewis’s dad wasn’t around for most of his life because he was incarcerated for drug-related offenses. Ray Lewis overcame his troubles by turning to sports and playing football. From an audio biography Ray Lewis claims his birth father only has his DNA nothing else. “For me, the hard part was mostly in what I didn’t have. I didn’t have a father. I do now, but I didn’t then. The man I now know as my father, Elbert Ray Jackson, is a father in DNA only. He claims the title, but he didn’t earn it.”
7. WERE A TERRIBLE FATHER: GLENN ANDERSON
The former hockey player for the Edmonton Oilers was about to face jail time for not making child support payments. He owed $112,000 in child support for his 12-year-old son back in 2002. The case has since been settled. The case was so bad and it had a lot of publicity it kept him out of the Hockey Hall Of Fame for a long time. Before his hockey days ended he was paying up to $3,000 a month in child support for his 12-year-old son. He now resides in Manhattan with his wife and they have a daughter Autumn Kristy. His net worth today is about $600,000. Hopefully those days of not providing are over and he’s able to be a good one for his children.
6. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: LUIS SUAREZ
Luis Suarez is now one of the highest paid strikers in the world, but growing up, his family was in poverty while living on the streets of Montevideo in Uruguay.
“We were from the lower class,” he remembers. “I never had the possibility to choose my own running shoes, for example, because of how big my family was.”
Due to his tough family situation, he turned to soccer at a young age and as we know, went on to become one of the better strikers in the world. However, when he was just an adolescent, his father left the family. Some have suggested that a lot of Suarez’s controversial episodes on the soccer pitch are a result of some of the troubles he went through as a kid.
5. TERRIBLE FATHER: SHAWN KEMP
The former NBA player had issues with woman having seven children with six different woman by the age of 28. Not a good role model for his kids either in 2005 he was arrested for drug possession. Kemp and another man were found with a small bag of cocaine, 60 grams of marijuana, and a semiautomatic pistol. Kemp pleaded guilty to the drug possession charge. His eldest son, Shawn Kemp Jr., currently plays for the University of Washington. The six-time NBA All-Star attempted numerous times to make it back into the NBA, because of the child support payments racking up. Today he is estimated to be worth about $5 million. One must wonder what Kemp could have been worth had he resisted earlier temptations in his career.
4. HAD A TERRIBLE FATHER: JACKIE ROBINSON
Jackie Robinson will always be on the greatest baseball players ever. His passion for the game started at a very young age even with troubles at home. He was the youngest of five children and unfortunately without a father. His father was having an affair with the neighbor’s wife and left the family. Jackie Robinson’s mom moved the family to California they were very poor due to the fact the father was no longer in the picture. Jackie Robinson used that as a motivation to make something out of himself and be one of the greatest players in professional baseball. One of his many famous quotes is: “Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.”
3. TERRIBLE FATHER: KENNY ANDERSON
The former basketball player has seven children with five different women. His ex wife Tamoi Roman went on the show “Basketball Wives” to talk about the deadbeat father and a lot was revealed in that appearance. Tami said she had to go on government assistance to provide for her children. Kenny Anderson doesn’t see his two daughters he had with her. He doesn’t pay her child support for his daughters.
His net worth his about $800,000 and I’m sure most of the money he made still goes to child support. Now, he has been trying to be a better father but recently as four years ago he was busted for a DUI and to this day still breathes through a breathalyzer before going into car.
2. GREW UP WITH A TERRIBLE FATHER: COLIN KAPERNICK
Colin Kapernick has been the center of some recent controversy for the National Anthem Protest in the NFL. The rising star had a rough upbringing Colin’s mother was single at the time and his father was not around so she placed him up for adoption. Rick and Teresa Kapernick adopted Colin who already had a son and a daughter. Kapernick was goal driven and wanted to make a career playing football. He would use his rough upbringing as a inspiration to be a better person. He would take the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl but has since not been able to find a job because of his national anthem protests. Whatever one thinks of Kaepernick as a man today, a child deserves to have a father figure around.
1. TERRIBLE FATHER: ANTONIO CROMARTIE
Antonio Cromartie has had a great career on the field but off the field he’s anything but a fine example. Cromartie has 13 kids, yes 13 kids, with eight different women across the country. The amount of child support he pays is $3,500 a month per child, and an estimated $336,000 in child support a year.
Cromartie is going to be a father to his 14th child soon with his current wife, Terricka Cason. Cromartie has made his rounds across the country with women from a high school sweetheart in Florida, to a corporate lawyer. The four time Pro Bowler is currently a free agent. Cromartie has a net worth of about $10 million but hasn’t found an NFL team that would sign him this year.
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