According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former ... See full summary »

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Homer Bush ...
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Ed Butowsky ...
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Dan Charnas ...
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Murray Chass ...
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Herman Edwards ...
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Shelly Finkel ...
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Cliff Floyd ...
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Ron Insana ...
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Bernie Kosar ...
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Eugene Lockhart ...
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Rob Love ...
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Robin Lyon ...
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Jamal Mashburn ...
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Marvin Miller ...
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Keith McCants ...
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According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Keith McCants, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature can carry them to victory on the field and ruin off it. Director Billy Corben (The U, Cocaine Cowboys, Limelight) paints a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes' bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large ... Written by ESPN Films

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2 October 2012 (USA)  »

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Takes an interesting subject but doesn't do enough with it
26 January 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Broke is a film that looks at the sudden boom in the wages of athletes and the impact that overnight going from minimum wage to a multi-million dollar contract can have. On one hand it is a film that sort of needs us to feel sorry for young men who are given wealth beyond the grasp of the vast majority of us but on the other hand it is a serious subject that does need someone to deal with it. As the film observes, often it is people from lower-income backgrounds who have little background in managing larger sums of money who end up winning the lottery overnight with no idea of what to do with it and the impression that it will last forever. Suffice to say that I was interested to see a film that could overcome the "screw them" factor and present the reality in a factual and interesting way.

Sadly this isn't the film to do that – even though it does have its moments. The film starts out with a good collection of talking heads discussing the spending, the views, the habits and the naïvity of some athletes when it comes to money and as this is discussed there are details and real examples to back up these experiences. Problem is – throughout the film it is presented in a very lively and upbeat way; this makes it more accessible as a film but at the same time it undermines itself as a documentary. This isn't helped by many of those who are contributing cannot help but enjoy relating their stories of excess and fun – so while they appear to be making the point of "don't do what I did", their smiles and spark in their eyes seem to suggest that they would live that high-life again in a split second if they got the chance. Some are worse than others but the majority are like this and it is hard to take the film seriously when the contributors come over like they are telling stories about the time they got drunk – full of remorse about the hangover the next morning but gleefully telling the story to anyone who will listen.

It is still an interesting subject though and, although the film could have done a lot more, there is still quite a bit of value in here. It falls short of the mark by some way but it is worth a look because it does have pace and entertainment value even if it should have had much more to say than it ultimately does.


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