Sports, without a doubt, is a moneymaking industry. Athletes in particular rake in millions of dollars not only from their jaw-dropping salaries but also through endorsement deals, businesses and even social media posts.
While sports superstars commonly splash out on state-of-the-art homes and luxury cars, there are other items that fans might not expect their idols to buy.
From Mike Tyson’s white Bengal tigers to Cristiano Ronaldo’s wax figure, here are some famous athletes’ most surprising purchases.
Mike Tyson owned three white Bengal tigers
In his heyday, Mike Tyson was not only royalty in the boxing ring but also a real-life “Tiger King”. He owned three white Bengal tigers that reportedly came at a price tag of US$70,000 each. The former heavyweight boxing champion eventually had to give them up after over a decade upon realising how risky they were. Since then, he has swapped those jungle cats for a poodle.
Lionel Messi bought his noisy neighbours’ house
Six-time Fifa World Player of the Year Lionel Messi expanded his estate in Castelldefels, Spain, back in 2013 simply for some peace and quiet. According to his former teammate Ivan Rakitic, the Argentinian superstar opted to buy his neighbours’ property since they were renting out several of their rooms to a bunch of noisy and rowdy strangers.
Roger Federer bought a 1960s Mercedes bus
The world’s highest-paid athlete in 2020 is not showing any signs of slowing down. He has, however, revealed some of his retirement plans for the future. Federer shared with Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung that he has bought an “old autobus from the 60s” to drive around Europe when he hangs up his tennis shoes for good. Due to his busy schedule, the 20-time grand slam champion has not had the opportunity to explore the countries he competed in.
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LeBron James gifted his daughter a huge playhouse
While most fathers might typically give their daughters a Barbie dollhouse for their birthday, LeBron James had something more impressive in mind. The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player awardee built a life-size playhouse for his six-year-old, Zhuri, which looked like a mini version of their US$23 million mansion in Los Angeles. Located in one corner of the family’s backyard, Zhuri’s new pad comes complete with a kitchen, dining area and study room.
Cristiano Ronaldo commissioned a wax figure … of himself
The world’s first and only billionaire footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, can probably buy anything that he sets his eyes on. So when he saw his wax figure at the Madrid Wax Museum he decided he wanted one for himself. The Portuguese superstar then hired the original artist Michael Wade to create a US$31,000 replica of it to display in his house. The only difference was the updated uniform and shoes. Well, that’s one way to love yourself.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.