Johnny Unitas lacked business skills
Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas excelled at football, setting several records that may never be broken. However, he lacked business sense. He invested in bowling alleys, land deals, an air freight company, a circuit-board manufacturer and restaurants -- all unsuccessfully. In 1991, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"Expertise in one area does not translate into success in another," says Rob Wilson, vice president of Blazer Capital Management in Pittsburgh. "Unitas should have partnered with a trustworthy individual who knew how to run a successful bowling alley or experts in other businesses he wanted to invest in, instead of venturing out on his own."
Players in the NFL are different from folks who work traditional jobs, Wilson says. Talent has made them affluent. By controlling their spending, that is by budgeting, they can avoid falling into bankruptcy.
"Professional football players average 3 years' playing time, so they need a plan B for income after that," Wilson says. "If that's investing, they should get advice and not take unnecessary risks."