Two things typically synonymous with each other are athletes and money. Professional athletes earn massive paychecks of many millions of dollars per year and tend to live a luxurious lifestyle because of it. Whether the purchases of choice are mansions, fancy cars, expensive clothing or jewelry, athletes are also often known for spending large amounts of money. While a large percentage of athletes do, not all are big spenders and some are actually quite cheap. Part of the reason for this may have to do with many sob stories of once wealthy stars going bankrupt due to spending habits.
Once iconic athletes like Allen Iverson, Terrell Owens and Mike Tyson have been some of the sadder tales of men who once had it all with fame, power and, of course, money, now without any of it. Most athletes enter their sport from a young age and they don’t gain education or experience in any other specific field, so if they run out of money, their options are limited. Due to this, many athletes today are conserving their finances and setting up a future for tomorrow by being cheap today. These are the athletes who choose to live a frugal life.
Not all cheap athletes are about living moderate unfortunately and some are just jerks. This especially describes the athletes who spend lots of money eating out but become cheap when the bill comes and it’s time to leave a tip. Those athletes are the ultimate cheapskates. As the difference shows, not all cheap athletes are jerks but not all of them are wisely planning. Regardless, these are twenty athletes who have either admitted or have been exposed as being among the cheapest in sports.
20 Aaron Rodgers
Arguably the best QB currently in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers work on the football field is truly a joy to watch. Rodgers is a Super Bowl Champion, is dating an actress (Olivia Munn), and is making millions of dollars per year thanks to his NFL contract and his endorsement deals. Despite his status and salary, Rodgers has a moderate home in a suburb of Green Bay and conserves his money by cutting out unnecessary spending. Rodgers mows his own lawn, shops at local grocery stores and eats at casual restaurants. For possibly the biggest star in America’s biggest sport, Rodgers is a penny pincher.
19 Bryce Harper
Unlike most athletes on this list, it’s hard to truly call Bryce Harper cheap because he’s yet to cash-in on a big contract and saving money is more pivotal for someone like him. Harper makes a few million per year but is paid below value as he’s still relatively young has yet to get the big contract he’s expected to. While he may not be making bank as of yet, Harper has achieved one of our life goals – free Chipotle! The Nationals star has expressed genuine excitement in getting a “free burritos for life” card from Chipotle as he gets some stellar meals and saves money.
18 Derrick Brooks
Tipping isn’t a required act when eating out at a restaurant but we’ve evolved as a society through the years and it’s become an unwritten rule that if you have a server, you reward them with a tip. Sadly, many athletes don’t believe in this rule. NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks was given a free meal at an establishment in Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. The wise move would be to graciously thank the manager and leave the server a great tip. Instead, Brooks apparently rolled his eyes at the gesture and refused to leave any tip at all.
17 Daniel Bryan
One of the kindest and most humble wrestlers in the WWE, Daniel Bryan is also known for his reputation of being very frugal. Growing up with very little and making his name wrestling in small arenas for quite small paydays before WWE, Bryan has adopted the mindset of saving as much as he can so his life after wrestling is taken care of. On the reality show Total Divas, there have been arguments between Brie and Bryan over spending habits. Bryan and Brie live in a very small home in Arizona that not many would expect the man who main evented WrestleMania 30 would live in.
16 Joe Flacco
After winning the Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP in 2013, Flacco cashed in and earned a ridiculous $120 million deal. Everyone and their mother would agree in the overall scheme of the NFL landscape, Flacco is quite overpaid and he knows it enough to save his money as his entire contract isn’t guaranteed. Instead of eating out at expensive steakhouses or indulging in lobster, Flacco has been spotted frequenting McDonalds.
15 John Randle
Defensive tackles in the NFL usually don’t make nearly as much money as they should for their impact on the game but they still make more money than the average person and by a significant margin. Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle John Randle ordered a round of drinks that totaled up to around 30 bucks. What did Randle leave as a tip? According to the bartender at the Minnesota music venue, Randle tipped twenty-seven cents and pocket lint. Yes, pocket lint. If you’re going to stiff someone of a tip, at least make sure the currency is clean.
14 Rod Smith
Retired Denver Broncos WR Rod Smith lives a very comfortable life in retirement and he attributes it to his cheap habits during his playing career. Smith has gone on the record of saying that the only big spending he did while a NFL star was purchasing his home. Unlike his teammates, Smith wasn’t looking for expensive cars and gaudy jewelry. In fact, Smith said he even had a motto about his saving: “There are two places I want to look good at: home and practice.” This sounds like a motto many athletes should study as Smith doesn’t have to worry about earning income anymore.
13 Derrick Coleman
One of the worst examples of an athlete being cheap with tipping is the story of Derrick Coleman. The former NBA star led a group of six to a restaurant and they had a great time consuming and actually overspending on their meal. The six spent over $700 in food and alcohol which would lead many to assume Coleman isn’t cheap. However, what followed would disprove that theory. On such a hefty bill and night of food service, Coleman allegedly tipped a total of $20 which the waitresses would have to split. Perhaps Coleman’s weight gains were karma.
12 Marcellus Wiley
Very similar to Derrick Coleman’s story, Marcellus Wiley has a poor reputation for being a cheap tipper. Wiley was a defensive standout in the NFL and is actually known as one of the friendliest personalities as his charm has landed him a sweet gig with ESPN now. Unfortunately his charm was not on display when eating out while a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Apparently, Wiley spent nearly $800 in food and drinks but only left a tip of $20.
11 Chris Paul
A name that may be surprising on this list due to his loveable personality and reputation as being a stand-up guy is Chris Paul. During his bachelor party in Las Vegas, Paul and many of his NBA superstar friends was comped for the entire night and no one left a tip. As a legendary point guard being known for delivering dimes, slang for assists, CP3 didn’t even leave a penny for a night of likely expensive fun. The staff had to be celebrating this summer when the Houston Rockets embarrassed Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers and CP3’s postseason once again ended in underwhelming fashion.
10 Antonio Cromartie
One athlete that has to be cheap out of necessity and a negative history with overspending is Antonio Cromartie. During his first two years in the NFL, Cromartie spent a whopping $5 million on homes, cars and jewelry. Upon realizing he spent all the money he was going to earn, Cromartie changed his spending habits and became wisely cheap. As a father of TEN children, the defensive star needs to save as much money as he can and has his retirement account fully funded through age 100. Cromartie also tries to help teach younger athletes how to avoid making the same mistakes he did.
9 Buster Douglas
Boxer Buster Douglas is notoriously known not just as a cheap tipper but among the most consistent cheapskates around. Douglas would frequent the same restaurant in Ohio and always make large orders for big groups consisting of steaks, baby back ribs, and of course, drinks. With the boxing star constantly having a large bill, apparently he never left a tip more than $10. If the server who kept getting stiffed had access to a sports time machine, he or she may have tried to stop Douglas from defeating Mike Tyson in the infamous upset. Maybe a beating from Tyson would have improved his tipping etiquette.
8 Giovani Bernard
Just a few years into his NFL career, Giovani Bernard has already signed a decently sizable contract for his young age but quite small in the NFL world. With the potential of injuries for running backs and the lack of a guaranteed deal for most of the contract, Bernard is doing his best to not lose the money on frivolous things. Bernard has been on the record stating that he drives a borrowed minivan and lives in a small Cincinnati apartment near the Bengals stadium.
7 LeBron James
How in the world is the biggest star in professional sports and one of the biggest cultural icons in America on this list? LeBron James has used his name and stature to ask the wait staff to keep an establishment open past business hours and it’s more than likely the staff did so in hopes of a decent tip by the superstar considering his request. James spent over $800 on the meal for him and his party yet somehow only tipped $10. That’s less dollars tipped than career all-star appearances by the King. Hopefully this was a one-time snub and LeBron has improved his tipping skills to match his basketball acumen.
6 Prince Amukamara
New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara comes from a lineage of Nigerian royalty but his pedigree doesn’t factor into his spending or lack thereof. Amukamara has stated that he’s spent time looking for bargains when car shopping including successfully negotiating a lower price than marked figure for an SUV by paying cash. Saving is important to Amukamara as he’s mentioned that he feels a big problem in the NFL for rookies is spending money on “wants” rather than “needs.” The Giants star practices what he preaches as his priciest meals tend to be In-N-Out Burger when visiting California that usually cost under $10.
5 Matt Bonner
While he may not be a star, Matt Bonner finally found a way to top LeBron James on a list. Bonner is one of the cheapest guys in all of sports as he looks to save in every facet. The NBA reserve penny pinches in large ways like finding cheap automobiles for his home life to smaller ways like taking public transportation in certain cities. In one of the more fascinating stories, Bonner wore New Balance sneakers because they were cheaper than Nike or Adidas until they fell apart. Bonner would then ask on social media for a sneaker deal and New Balance obliged. Not only did he get the upgrade but he’s getting paid to wear them – the cheapskate’s dream.
4 Carmelo Anthony
As seen on this list so far, there are many various forms of being cheap in the world of sports. Many are bad tippers, some just live modest lives; most just want to save as much money as they can for the future but Carmelo Anthony may have the most unique form of living frugal. The New York Knicks star player has been ranked among the richest athletes in the world yet he still cuts coupons. Anthony saves coupons from the Sunday newspaper ads and will use it on his purchases. Unfortunately, coupons don’t work in free agency as no one wanted to play for the Knicks with Anthony.
3 Scottie Pippen
With the nickname “No Tippin’ Pippen,” it’s easy to see why Scottie Pippen is a popular choice when discussing the cheapest athletes. Known for being a cheap tipper at bars, restaurants and casinos, Pippen is not someone who parts with his money easily. One scenario saw Pippen open a large tab and made the waiter work extra hard when attending to the Bulls legend but when it came time to pay the bill, Pippen didn’t leave a tip at all.
2 Michael Jordan
Apparently tipping imitates NBA dynamics as Scottie Pippen is once again the sidekick to Michael Jordan as Jordan places one spot above Pippen on this list. As the biggest sports icon of all time and one of the richest and most influential, Jordan is known for his cheap ways when dealing with others. Unlike most cheap athletes, Jordan isn’t just a bad tipper but he outright refuses to leave tips. Stories have circulated of MJ refusing to tip at a casino after winning nearly a million dollars. Even Jordan’s friend Charles Barkley frequently calls him out publicly for his awful stance on tipping.
1 Tiger Woods
Similar to Michael Jordan in peak greatness and star power, Tiger Woods is also a notorious jerk to wait staffs and a horrible tipper. There are many stories about Woods refusing to tip because he claims he doesn’t carry cash and has gone far enough to make girls he’s out with leave a tip. The most terrible story about the legendary golfer’s cheapness came when he took back and pocketed a $5 tip he originally left on a blackjack table. To put it in proper perspective, he was playing a $10,000 hand, so not only is he selfishly cheap but he’s a jerk.
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