The old saying goes “any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad”. Yes, it does take someone special to be a dad, and many athletes have failed with flying colours. Of course, it isn’t easy to be a professional athlete. It is something the average person cannot fully understand. There is fame, fortune and people wanting a piece of you around every corner; at least while you are on top. They also spend a lot of time on the road, which opens the door for various affairs.
For some athletes, there is a belief they don’t have to be responsible for the children they helped conceive. For others, it may be difficult to connect with their offspring due to a missing parent during their upbringing that affected them personally. Some athletes lead double lives and have second families. Some of these athletes may pay child support, but have physically abandoned their children. Other athletes, like Travis Henry, have fathered numerous kids, and now have no more money to give them or their mothers. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t want to give his time to help raise them either.
Yes, being a parent is not an easy job. The following athletes have all decided they want nothing to do with their kids in some way. Whether it is physical, financial or both, these athletes have made a statement about what kind of human beings they truly are.
15. Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson was one of the key players in the UNLV Runnin‘ Rebels basketball program of the late 1980s. His college success led him to be the No. 1 pick of the original Charlotte Hornets in 1991 and with his fame came fortune. Throughout the early to mid-90s, kids across America sported Charlotte jerseys with Johnson’s name and number on the back. Today, several of Johnson’s kids are also sporting his name on the back of their jerseys. In 2015, Johnson owed nearly $1 million in back child support payments to Laura Tate. The former model became pregnant with Johnson’s child in 1997. The NBA player encouraged her to have an abortion, which she didn’t do. Johnson also had friend Stacey Augmon threaten her with violence over the pregnancy. She alleges Johnson is now hiding over $20m after filing for bankruptcy in 2015.
14. Chris Bosh
In 2009, Allison Mathis (a former girlfriend of Chris Bosh) filed a paternity suit against the NBA star. She alleged that Bosh had kicked her out of their home and stopped financially supporting her. This occurred when Mathis was seven months pregnant with the couple’s child Trinity. The baby was born in November 2008. Bosh had paid for Mathis to have fertility treatments to get pregnant, but apparently wanted no contact with her or the child once they were seven months into the pregnancy. Bosh has since had four other children with his wife Adrienne Williams Bosh. They were married in 2011. The former Miami Heat player fought Mathis for years to prevent paying out large sums in child support. At one time, Mathis tried to get $30,000 a month from Bosh.
13. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin’s rise in professional wrestling coincided with his second marriage falling apart. His wife, former manager “Lady Blossom” Jeanie Clarke, left the wrestling business after becoming pregnant in 1991. Austin had already become the adopted father of Clarke’s first daughter Jade and the two would have two children of their own together. However, their relationship soured when Austin signed with the WWE, and according to Clarke’s brilliant autobiography, Through the Shattered Glass, her only escape from Austin was substance abuse. The two divorced in 1999 and Clarke left America for her native England with the couple’s two children. Since their divorce, Austin has barely spoken to or seen his children; and has failed to provide financial support. Clarke details everything in her book, including Austin’s substance use, socializing with racists and cheating on her. It gives a complete alternative view of the person the WWE presented as the biggest wrestling star at the turn of the millennium.
12. Jose Reyes
New York Mets third baseman Jose Reyes has allegedly been leading a double life. In 2017, it emerged Reyes was being sued for child support by former girlfriend Christina Sanchez. The baseball player had what some called a “road family”, and the two had a six-year relationship. The relationship led to the two having a child, Liyah, who Sanchez claims the baseball star abandoned. According to Sanchez in a New York Daily News article, Reyes’ Mets teammates also had girlfriends while on the road. Sanchez sought an increase in child support from Reyes in 2017. She wanted her monthly instalments of $11,000 to improve to $41,000. She cited her burgeoning singing career as the reason she needed more money. Sanchez also hopes Reyes will see the light and stop shunning their daughter.
11. Michael Jordan
It must be said it is only a rumour that Michael Jordan is the father of NBA star Jimmy Butler. Several sports and news blogs have stated this story may be true. However, it is only alleged that Jordan fathered Butler in 1989. The reason for ignoring his possible son at the time? Jordan didn’t want to break up his marriage to Juanita Jordan. Over the years, Jordan has been sued by several women seeking money in past due child support. Many of these stories that made headlines have been thrown out due to being false claims. Jordan has been the target of desperate women seeking quick paydays, however the rumours of Butler being Jordan’s son are continuing to make the rounds. Reports allege Jordan paid off Butler’s mother to stay quiet about the pregnancy. A lot of conspiracy theories have formed around these claims both on and off the hardwood, and nothing short of a DNA test will stop the rumours.
10. Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens created plenty of controversy during his NFL career, and he continues to do so with the mothers of his four children. Owens was so far behind in child support to his kids that three of the four mothers to Owens’ children sued the former NFL wide receiver. It got so bad, Owens and the three mothers went on an episode of Dr. Phil in 2012 to iron out their problems. Despite being an absent father from his children’s lives, one of the mothers, Samelia Miller, didn’t appear. Owens has stated he is broke because of the child support he paid to all his baby mamas. In 2013, Owens was given a $400,000-plus IRS tax bill he claimed he couldn’t pay.
9. Dame N’Doye
In 2015, then-English Premier League soccer star Dame N’Doye was sued by his former girlfriend for more than $500,000. N’Doye and former girlfriend Sarah Okafor had met while the former was playing soccer in Greece in 2007. Less than a year later, Okafor was pregnant and N’Doye wanted nothing to do with her or the child as the due date neared. Okafor states the soccer star encouraged her to fly to Montreal while heavily pregnant. There, N’Doye’s sister would meet her and take her to their family home. However, once she arrived in Canada there was no one to meet her and the player had given her incorrect contact details for his sister. Okafor was forced to live in a shelter in Montreal, abandoned by the player. N’Doye later claimed the child, Fortune, wasn’t his. However, DNA tests have proven they are father and son. Regardless, N’Doye has refused contact and to pay child support.
8. Brittney Griner
In 2016, there was serious drama with WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson. The two had been involved in a domestic violence incident that saw both arrested. But that didn’t stop them from getting married shortly thereafter. Just a month after tying the knot, Johnson announced she was pregnant via Instagram. According to gossip websites, Griner had no clue Johnson was pregnant already, as the two were just discussing fertilization options. Angered, Griner filed for divorce the day after the announcement, and rumours of Johnson becoming pregnant via relations with a man have been making the rounds. Although Griner wants nothing to do with the twin daughters Johnson gave birth to, she has been informed by the courts that she must pay child support.
7. Royce White
Royce White took one NBA shot during his brief career in the Association. His time in the league went downhill quickly thanks to clashing with NBA owners over their policies on mental health. While White’s fight for more protection was a good thing, his treatment of women and the children he fathered wasn’t. Reports allege White has fathered five children with five different women. According to one of the women he impregnated, White gave her $20,000 to have an abortion. She didn’t and White has threatened to sue her for custody. She says he wants custody so he won’t have to pay child support. Other women have come forward seeking child support as well, including a Minnesota woman by the name of Deuane Ning Keomanivanh. White no longer plays in the NBA, but has found life in Canada’s NBL to be successful. He was named the MVP of the league in 2016-17 and lead the London Lightning to the NBL title.
6. Jimmy Walker
One of the most well-known father-son duos in NCAA basketball history is Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose. As NBA stars, they are the only father and son duo to score 10,000 points or more in their careers. However Rose never knew his father, as Walker left Rose’s mother in 1972 after she became pregnant. Rose grew up knowing very little about his dad, and despite becoming a big-time basketball player never met Walker in person. In September 2007, Walker passed away of lung cancer. Despite the glowing eulogies that were given at the funeral, Rose was unable to understand how his dad had not only walked out on him, but had never tried to reconnect. In a 2007 ESPN article on the duo, Rose stated: “I made a vow that one of the main things I wanted to accomplish in my life is that one day he’d know my name.”
5. Dwight Yorke
Dwight Yorke was a soccer star in the 1990s and early 2000s. As a member of Manchester United from 1998 to 2002, Yorke won a swath of trophies and made millions in the process. His celebrity led to his relationship with former page 3 glamour model Katie Price (aka Jordan). Despite the relationship being brief, the two had a child. Harvey Price was born in 2002. and Yorke denied Harvey was his child until Price had a DNA test performed. It ultimately proved Yorke to be the father of the child. Now 14, Harvey is still in the media’s spotlight thanks to his celebrity parents and Yorke still wants nothing to do with his son. According to a tweet from Price, Harvey has been waiting 10 years for his biological father to see him.
4. Miguel Cabrera
Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is one of the world’s richest athletes. In fact, Forbes lists him as the 37th richest sports star in the world today. He earns $30 million a year in the MLB. But the slugger is fighting over child support payments with Florida woman Belkis Mariela Rodriguez. Despite being married in 2002, Cabrera saw Rodriguez on the side, and allegedly had two children with her in 2013 and 2015. According to the Detroit News in October 2017, Cabrera was paying Rodriguez more than $6,000 a month. He had also bought her a $1m home in Orlando. Although Cabrera has some visitation rights, he is requesting paternity tests on both children to determine if they are actually his. Rodriguez has stated that her current $6,200 monthly child support payments are insufficient.
3. Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman has been accused by his ex-wives of not being a good father. The former NBA basketball star has three kids. One of whom, DJ Rodman, is a rising high school basketball player. However, DJ and his sister Trinity have had little in the way of an active father figure in their lives. Rodman has admitted in interviews he doesn’t know “how to be a father”. He has also stated he doesn’t know how to show interest in what his kids do. It is most likely difficult due to Rodman’s own father, Philander, having 29 kids with 16 different women. Rodman was estranged from his father for 42 years. It is that relationship that has most likely helped create the strained one that Rodman has with his own children.
2. Travis Henry
Travis Henry has been identified as one of the biggest dead-beat dads in sports history. Henry has a reported 11 kids with 10 different women. The former running back has had a long history of failing to pay his child support. According to one article on Henry’s intimate life, the former NFL player was paying around $170,000 a year to his children’s mothers. When Henry was asked about his ability to impregnate women, he responded by saying: “Knock on wood, or something… That never crossed my mind.” Henry may have paid child support in the past, but despite the money there is little information on his physical contact with his 11 children. In 2009, Henry was sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a smuggling ring.
1. Karl Malone
Karl Malone is often classified as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. However, his son, Demetrius Bell, will never rank the former Utah Jazz player as the greatest dad of all-time. Bell was conceived when his mother was just 13-years old. Meanwhile, Malone was a sophomore at Louisiana Tech University. Somehow the authorities were absent from the matter. Malone, often seen as a great human being, never wanted anything to do with Bell. The latter would later go on to a solid college and NFL career. At one time, Malone reportedly told Bell: “It’s too late for me to be your father, and you’ll earn your money on your own.” Harsh words from the former NBA player. Unbelievably, Bell isn’t Malone’s only professional sports playing child. Cheryl Ford was a WNBA superstar. She and her twin brother Daryl spent the first 17 years of life without having Malone present. He fixed that, but is still missing from Bell’s life.
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