Michael Vick is better known for doing time in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring than for his play on the football field, but a recent revelation might have fans of the star quarterback remembering him for his finances. Since being released from prison, Vick has blown $30 million, but he will be the first person to admit the time behind bars changed him for the better. Now, he’s being compared to Nicolas Berggruen, the homeless billionaire.
TMZ reports that since he filed for bankruptcy in 2008, Vick has spent 95 percent of his total income. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback didn’t waste all that money, though; he spent it cleaning up the mess he made before spending almost a year in prison. Vick paid $10.9 million in taxes, $9.2 million to creditors, $2.7 million to his lawyers and financial team and the rest to day-to-day necessities like child support and living expenses.
It’s important to remember that even though he’s down to under $2 million after paying off his debts, Vick signed a $100 million contract with the Eagles last year. Few NFL players have signed on to make so much money, plus endorsements and other ventures. Vick seems to have his priorities straight no matter how big a paycheck he earns.
“I stand before you a changed man,” ESPN reported Vick saying not long after he was released from jail. “Use me as an example of an instrument of change.”
The quarterback – perhaps without even knowing it – seems to have taken his cue from Berggruen, who has become known as the "homeless billionaire" who claims any possessions have “zero appeal” to him, according to the Daily Mail. Berggruen came from a wealthy family of art collectors but made his own fortune as a founder of the Alpha Investment Management hedge fund, an enterprise that put money into businesses all around the world.
His reported wealth of 1.5 billion pounds doesn’t seem to have gone to Berggruen’s head, however, as he sold his New York home and own private island 12 years ago. Nowadays he travels the world in a private jet and stays in luxury hotels, preferring a varied life experience over settling down in one place.
“Possessing things is not interesting,” Berggruen said. “Living in grand environments to show myself and others that you have wealth has zero appeal. Whatever I own is temporary, since we’re only here for a short period of time. It’s our actions that last forever. That’s real value.”
It’s advice Michael Vick would agree with. After leaving prison Vick volunteered with the Humane Society, hoping to atone for some of his previous sins.
“I think if I can help five or six kids daily, then I’m playing my position as a positive role model in our society,” Vick told NBC in 2010. “It doesn’t hurt to do it and it’s fairly easy. I tell a lot of people that it’s easy to do the wrong thing. It’s hard to do the right thing.”