Most professional athletes receive generous salaries, with some superstars signing multi-million dollar contracts and banking endless amounts of cash. That type of cash means they likely don’t need to look at price tags or deny themselves what they want, whether it be a diamond studded watch or a shiny new sports car. While there are certainly frugal athletes, the majority of the figures in professional sports throw cash around like it’s going out of style. One would assume this extends to their tipping practices, but that’s not always the case.
Of course, there are athletes who tip exorbitantly, leaving the wait staff tips that are sometimes equal to, or even more than, their bill. However, there are also professional athletes who are renowned for paying off their tab – if that – and leaving absolutely nothing extra for the hard-working server who dealt with them. The athletes on this list regularly rack up bills that are hundreds of dollars, if not tens of thousands of dollars, for lavish nights out with friends. The bad tippers are also often known for being bad patrons, making the server run around needlessly and being loud and obnoxious.
Based on the stories that countless servers and staff share with the world, some athletes are an absolute pleasure to wait on – courteous, pleasant, and gracious. Some are not. Some athletes leave extremely generous tips. Some count out dimes, if they leave anything at all. Here is a list of the ten worst tippers in sports.
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10 LeSean McCoy
Ah, the tip that was heard around the world. The Philadelphia Eagles running back went into a Philadelphia restaurant, PYT, with a few of his friends for burgers. On his bill of $61.56, the Eagle left a measly 0.20 cent tip. The restaurant followed this incident by publicly sharing the bill and shaming McCoy for his gesture. The situation was controversial and contained a whole lot of he said, she said. McCoy claimed the tip was a deliberate statement due to the bad service he and friends received at PYT, while the restaurant owner claimed the service was impeccable and McCoy and co. were on their worst behaviour, insulting both the food and the wait staff. One bad tip does not a lifetime bad tipper make, and other servers have commented that McCoy has tipped them excellently. However, the situation was talked about so much that McCoy definitely merits a spot on the list – searching for LeSean McCoy and tipping immediately pulls up hundreds of comments and articles about the incident. Interestingly, the infamous bill with 20 cent tip was later sold on ebay for tens of thousands of dollars.
9 Derrick Brooks
After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, the residents of Tampa were understandably thrilled. Consequently, when Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks went out to eat in Tampa, the restaurant decided to comp his meal. The comp wasn’t because of bad service or any mix up on the restaurant’s part – it was merely a gesture of gratitude, for representing their city well and winning a championship for Tampa. Brooks, who definitely had enough in his bank account to pay for both the meal and a generous tip, responded to the comp by leaving a tip of… nothing. Perhaps he thought the tip was comped as well… either way, the wait staff were likely not too happy.
8 LeBron James
A 2008 incident at Cleveland’s XO Prime Steaks earned basketball superstar LeBron James a spot on the Miami New Times’ Top 10 Cheapest Celebrity Tippers List. What happened? Well, James and his entourage went to XO Prime Steaks for a late night meal. Celebrities are often given special treatment at restaurants, which often either open early or stay open late to accommodate their celebrity clientele. LeBron took advantage of this, keeping the Prime Steaks staff on call until nearly four in the morning. James and his crew racked up a bill of $800 dollars. Though all the staff likely wanted to clock off and head home, at least they had a great tip to look forward to from the superstar worth millions, right? Wrong – apparently LeBron tossed a $10 bill in as a tip and called it a day.
7 Derrick Coleman
Derrick Coleman, the former basketball player (not to be confused with Seattle Seahawks full back Derrick Coleman), had a feast with five friends that included bottles of champagne and endless food. Between the six of them, the bill totalled over $700. The two waitresses who attended to Coleman and his crew, and tried to ensure they got the best service possible, were likely eagerly awaiting the tip on such a big bill. Their tip, however, was far less than they would have imagined – a mere twenty dollars on the several hundred dollar bill. Even assuming the restaurant wasn’t one where tips were shared between other members of the staff, meaning the waitresses received all of the tip themselves, Coleman’s tip would have left them with ten dollars apiece. Barely enough to buy a drink after work.
6 Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson is one of the many athletes who managed to squander the majority of his multi-million dollar professional athlete salary. One thing he apparently didn’t waste much of it on, however, is tipping. A Philadelphia area server spilled the details on a bachelor party that Iverson attended. Iverson and 25 of his friends were apparently nightmare customers who were loud, rude, constantly changed their requests, and constantly ran the waitress needlessly. Iverson’s mother graciously paid the bill for everything consumed until she left, but the boys enjoyed their festivities awhile longer. When they decided to call it a night, they left the restaurant without paying their remaining bill. When stopped by the manager, Iverson pulled a not-so-classy move by throwing two hundred dollar bills on the floor before storming out.
5 Buster Douglas
Former heavyweight champ James “Buster” Douglas was a regular at an Ohio restaurant. Did the servers look forward to having him in their section whenever he came in? An emphatic no. Douglas would regularly arrive in a group of about ten people, meaning a lot of requests and running for the server who was responsible for ensuring the table had a good time. However, this size of a group with such hearty appetites meant the bill was also regularly over $200 dollars. Based on that bill, a server would expect a nice tip for his or her efforts. Not if Douglas was footing it, the servers soon found out – they learned to never expect more than a ten dollar tip from the boxer, such a low percentage that it would be painful to calculate.
4 Floyd Mayweather
A few weeks ago, boxer Floyd Mayweather apparently took bad tipping to another level. Mayweather defeated fighter Marcos Maidana in their match and earned a $32 million check for his efforts. Afterwards, he understandably felt like celebrating and went to hot spot Rehab, in the Hard Rock Café, with an entourage of about 150 people. The top shelf drinks flowed like water and the final bill was over $25,000 dollars. Pocket change for someone who just won millions. However, Mayweather kept the purse strings tight and left the waitress absolutely nothing but a big mess of bottles to clean up. TMZ Sports found out that the Hard Rock Café comped the bill, making it even more appalling for the poor waitress.
3 Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has raked in millions and millions of dollars over the course of his golfing career, and has countless wins to his name. However, the golf course isn’t the only place he’s been number one – he also tops many lists of worst tippers. Rick Reilly even told Conan O’Brien that “you need a court order to get Tiger’s wallet open.” Countless servers and staff at restaurants and casinos attest to Woods’ stinginess. One of the most unbelievably stories is from a time Woods was having fun gambling in Vegas. Woods was high-rolling, playing $10,000 a hand blackjack. When they’re enjoying themselves at the tables, many celebrities end up tipping hundreds or even thousands to the casino staff. Woods tipped a measly five dollars to a waitress – and then, unbelievably, took it back when he realized he had tipped her before, far earlier in the night. Woods’ excuse for his notoriously horrendous tipping? That he doesn’t carry cash.
2 Scottie Pippen
Many basketball players have nicknames based on their performance on the court, but Scottie Pippen’s nickname hints at a notorious tendency to stiff the wait staff. “No Tippin’ Pippen” is one of the worst tippers amongst all pro athletes, not just amongst NBA players. Not only does he leave tiny or even non-existent tips on a regular basis – he apparently even tries to negotiate, such as when he tried to get strippers at the Penthouse Executive Club to agree to take less than their usual fees. He’s done everything from leaving low double-digit tips on several hundred dollar bills to bragging about his tipping practices to team mates. Any server who is assigned to Pippen’s table will likely not get a good surprise at the end of the meal.
1 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is one of the best known names in basketball and is an absolute superstar. He’s also known for something else – his bad tipping. Whether in Chicago or vising another city, Jordan would very often leave absolutely no tip for four figure bills. Jordan is “as cheap as they come,” according to Charles Barkley, and he once got schooled by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. The two superstars were sharing a table in Las Vegas when Jordan tipped a waitress $5 – sufficient for regular joes playing at the low tables, but pretty cheap for what was likely a high roller’s table. Gretzky remedied the situation by apparently re-tipping the waitress on Jordan’s behalf, taking the $5 chip back and instead handing her a $100 tip.
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