Sports Stars Who Haven't Figured Out They Aren't Famous Anymore

The following article includes references to mental health struggles, domestic abuse allegations, and substance misuse.

Sports stardom isn't like other forms of celebrity. Movie stars, for example, can age out of lead roles and become, say, Judy Dench, lauded for literally decades after her presumed "peak." She's just a Dame now! But believe this, when another "Dame," Damian Lillard, loses half a step on his crossover, the Portland Trailblazers will be looking for the nearest ice float— and not just for his aching knees.

It must be distressing to live your whole life with actual superpowers like outlier strength and speed and size and coordination, and then suddenly, at some point in your mid 30s, you just poof, become human. The BMI breaks bad, the explosiveness implodes, the injuries pile up. Sports stars, of course, never want to call it a day, but they always find out, as Matthew put it, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." 

Sports careers are also short. The average NFL career lasts just 3.3 years. It starts around age 22, with the average rookie salary at just $500,000. So you're talking retirement before 25, with just $1.5 million in the bank — before Uncle Sam and agents and groupies all get their pound of flesh. The best athletes, of course, do a lot better, but they might also spend a lot more, too. Sometimes, our beloved sports heroes have to make a curtain call and play a bit of career overtime. And second acts in life are tough. Success may vary. These are the sports stars who might not have figured out they aren't famous anymore.

Dennis Rodman wormed his way into North Korea

There's a big debate afoot these days about various national embarrassments, and who exactly is the biggest. Perhaps an underrated contender in this important discussion is five-time former NBA champion — one of the true defensive and rebounding greats to ever pick up a basketball — "The Worm" himself, Dennis Rodman.

Rodman oddly became one of the few westerners to ever meet the mercurial North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un in 2013. Apparently, the tyrant was a Chicago Bulls fan who, as ABC News once put it, has "a soft spot for Rodman." The two were even pictured hugging, the 6'8" athlete telling the comparably shorter regent, "You have a friend for life."  Rodman's trips to North Korea became a bit of a regular thing as the two further bonded. During a trip in 2014, Rodman bowed and sang happy birthday to Kim, whom he called a "very good guy (via CNN). In the aftermath, a tearful Rodman suggested an American prisoner held in North Korea was at fault. (Rodman apologized for these comments.) 

In 2018, Rodman inserted himself into a summit between Donald Trump and Kim, which was even too much for Trump. The White House shot down any official duties for the former NBA star. Rodman still took credit, however, via TMZ, for the sometimes-friendly relations between Trump and Kim. By 2022, Rodman faced backlash when he attempted to similarly insert himself in the Unites States' negotiations to release then-imprisoned WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russia.

Anna Kournikova took a bow

Praise be to this goddess of the hardcourt. Anna Kournikova was an athlete-influencer before the internet was really even functioning, and long before social media. She was still one of the most searched athletes long after her 2003 retirement. But this crown princess of tennis, despite the passions she generated, never actually won a WTA singles tournament, and peaked at number eight in the world in the year 2000. The highlights from her 2002 match with Serena Williams start with Williams pounding winners on the outmatched Russian, as the very English announcer can only exclaim, "Oh, dear."

These days Kournikova, along with longtime partner Enrique Iglesias, is more like an actual influencer. Now in her 40s, the mother of three still gets the occasional write-up. The birth of Kournikova and Iglesias' third child, daughter Mary, in 2020 was such an occasion, with Yahoo! Sport proclaiming the baby photo "sent fans into a frenzy." So really, these days, it's baby Mary and her older siblings, Lucy and Nicholas, taking center court. Though it seems as though this retired tennis star couldn't be happier as she occasionally documents her personal life on Instagram. 

"Happy Birthday to the most amazing Dad!" Kournikova gushed in a sweet birthday tribute to Iglesias in 2022, captioning an adorable pic of the family of five. "We super love you!!!"

Roy Jones Jr. fought Father Time

Roy Jones Jr. was maybe the most gifted boxer of all time. Just like other prodigies of the sweet science — Floyd Mayweather Jr., in particular — Jones' father was his trainer. Practically boxing in his cradle, by the time he faced anyone in a ring, he was miles ahead of the game. He was a near-Olympic gold medalist (winning silver in one of the most infamous robberies in the sport's history) and claimed so many world titles, it's not even worth counting.

Jones was officially knocked off his perch as the king of the sport though in 2004, when the relatively unheralded and quite rote-fighter Antonio Tarver floored him in round two of their clash over the unified light-heavyweight title. Jones would go on fighting for 14 more brutal years past his prime, until he finally hung it up in 2018.

That all changed in 2020 when former heavyweight GOAT Mike Tyson announced he'd take on the then-51-year-old Jones. Jones had been busy as the best color commentator in boxing until 2018, when "HBO Sports" quit the business. That left the door open for Iron Mike Tyson, then 54, to lure a clearly reticent Jones into this exhibition. Jones told Sky Sports of Tyson, "He's still one of the strongest, most explosive people who ever touched a boxing ring. If anything, I made a mistake going in with him." Meanwhile, Tyson told "The Dan Patrick Show" (via CBS Sports) to look out for "broken eye sockets, broken jaw, broken rib. That's fun to me." The fight resulted in a split draw.

O.J. Simpson got squeezed

In 2008, O.J. Simpson stepped back from the public spotlight when the former NFL star was sentenced to 33 years behind bars. He'd attacked two men in a Las Vegas hotel room to retrieve sports memorabilia he claims were stolen, according to SI. The litany of charges, including two counts of first-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon, arguably spoke to what had become of this formerly beloved sports star.

According to CNN, the judge said the sentence wasn't "payback for anything else," alluding to the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, of which O.J. Simpson was acquitted in criminal court. However, "The Juice" was found liable for Brown and Ron Goldman's 1994 deaths in civil court, per Vanity Fair, and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages, which he has failed to do in full. The civil judgment against Simpson has doubled to $70 million, and remains uncollected, with a judge denying Simpson's motion for relief in 2021.

Despite the hefty 2008 sentence, Simpson slipped away again and was paroled in 2017, according to The New York Times. The Juice was loose and apparently feeling it. He joined Twitter in 2019, blasting all the imposter accounts and adding somewhat ironically, "I've got a little getting even to do." Around this time, Simpson told AP News of the case that made him infamous 25 years prior, "The subject of the moment is the subject I will never revisit again. My family and I have moved on to what we call the 'no negative zone.' We focus on the positives."

CM Punk got punched

CM Punk was a very big deal in pro wrestling, despite not being a very big guy. At 6'1" and only 170 pounds when he's in real-fight shape, he wasn't exactly one of the WWE titans, a group that includes the enormous hunk of meat Brock Lesnar.

Then, in 2014, Mr. Punk did a brave thing. He walked away from fake fights to take real punches in the UFC. But in two UFC bouts over the course of the subsequent four years, he didn't fare too well. First, he was rag-dolled and then choked out by a novice with zero striking skills in 2016. In 2018, he fought journeyman Mike Jackson to a unanimous decision loss in a fight so uninspiring and tedious, UFC president Dana White said the experiment was over: "The guy is 39 years old. ... I think he should call it a wrap. He got clipped a lot in that fight." 

Punk got beaten up so badly in his second fight he couldn't do media afterward and was transported to the hospital. Though he remained in the UFC's Olympics-style random drug testing pool, which is necessary to compete further, it seemed unlikely. Punk also didn't depart from the WWE on the best of circumstances, alleging on the "Art of Wrestling Podcast" (via The Baltimore Sun) that then-president Vince McMahon forced him to compete coming off serious surgery. In 2021, Punk announced his UFC retirement and joined the AEW. Undergoing surgery following an arm injury in 2022, Punk's future in wrestling seems uncertain, as of this writing.

Johnny Manziel blew smoke

The story of Johnny Manziel is one of limitless potential, unfulfilled. Especially for Cleveland Browns fans. Manziel was a wizard behind center at Texas A&M and scrambled all the way to a Cotton Bowl championship. He became the first-ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012. In 2014, he signed an NFL contract worth over $8 million. But Manziel washed out in only two years. 

Manziel's friends and family were worried his drinking and drug use was out of hand back in college. An intervention was tried before the draft, but to no avail. By 2016, Manziel was indicted for domestic violence, though the charge was later reportedly dismissed. Then he was suspended for violating the NFL's drug policy. "To me, Manziel is the biggest bust of all time," NFL columnist Mike Freeman told Vanity Fair. "He was lazy. He didn't study. The guy is out of the NFL today because he refused to work at his craft." 

Manziel has seemingly taken all of this in stride. Following short-lived stints with the CFL and the AAF, he joined the Fan Controlled Football league in 2020, but later told USA Today, "This isn't me trying to be a comeback, redemption-type of tour for me to go back and play football anymore moving forward." The retired NFL QB also spoke openly about his struggles with depression and bipolar disorder, explaining to the New York Post that his alcohol use had been a means of self-medicating. In 2022, he was inducted into the Texas A&M Hall of Fame.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Ronda Rousey tapped out

Whether or not you think Ronda Rousey is still famous might have something to do with whether you think professional wrestling is a niche worth paying any mind. Rousey was once the baddest woman on earth, winning eight straight Strikeforce/UFC women's bantamweight world title fights. The former Olympic judoka became the first-ever MMA star with real crossover appeal, landing the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in 2016.

But the end was already nigh. In 2015, one kick from Holly Holm undid her air of invincibility — perhaps most so in Rousey's own mind. Her media presence admittedly became more sullen, and she refused to do normal press in the run-up to her comeback bout against Amanda Nunes in 2016. Rousey couldn't abide losing. But when Nunes gave a diminished Rousey the beating of a lifetime at UFC 207 in a lopsided defeat, she walked out of the cage without congratulating Nunes — and out of the sport for good.

Some blame Rousey's semi-infamous trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan, for allegedly never developing her striking skills beyond that of a rote amateur; when she finally began facing athletes she couldn't simply Judo-toss, her reign was over. But it was her so-called "classless and disappointing" attitude in defeat (in The Daily Utah Chronicle's words, that is) after being so brash in victory that seemed to sour fans. These days, her wins in the WWE are likely scripted, and the movie star turn that was supposed to follow has not exactly materialized.

Time to split, Marion Jones

Being known as the fastest woman on earth is the kind of thing that could make you think the rules don't apply to you — because physically, they don't. It's also something no one can ever take from you. Olympic medals, on the other hand, are a different story.

And it turns out, Marion Jones had more going on than natural gifts. In a tearful press conference in 2007, the three-time Olympic gold medalist finally admitted to cheating via performance enhancing drugs. "And so it is with a great amount of shame, that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust," she said. "I want you to know I have been dishonest, and you have the right to be angry with me." Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal agents about her steroid use and was sentenced to six months in prison, according to CNN.

The former college basketball player attempted a comeback in the WNBA in 2010, but averaged less than one point per game, and was quickly waived. When Jones sat down for a softball local-TV interview in 2017, she was introduced as a former WNBA star and hit with the following question: "What advice can you give to young women athletes?" To Jones' credit, she seemed slightly uncomfortable with the fawning, all things considered. "We all go through challenging times, it's all about how you rebound from that," she said.

Floyd Mayweather roped many dopes

Floyd Mayweather's signature move inside the ring was the shoulder roll. He'd leave his hands low, convincing his opponent to open up and throw a shot. "Money" would then literally shrug his shoulders, deflect the punch, and sting back with perhaps the fastest set of hands in pugilistic history. He rode this minimalist style to a 50-0 record, spanning three decades, and yielding world title after world title.

As a retired fighter, Mayweather has employed a similar rope-a-dope scheme with the media. He tends to bait reporters with a surprising comeback fight, the free press piles up, and then he dances back out of range. A second Manny Pacquiao matchup is a frequent ploy, but the all-time boxing great actually fought influencer Logan Paul in 2021. Two years later, Logan's fellow YouTuber brother, Jake Paul, threw his own hat into the ring, proposing to fight Mayweather after a confrontation in Miami.

Part of the fuel for this silliness comes from the fact Mayweather did actually rake in $275 million in his crossover bout with boxing novice, UFC superstar Conor McGregor, according to Forbes. The 10-round drubbing had to be one of the easiest nights of Mayweather's career. He barely even trained. That easy work has seemingly convinced Money to continue cashing in. "People have gotta know, there's a difference between a real fight and an exhibition," Mayweather, who confirmed five upcoming exhibition fights in 2023, told TalkSport's Michael Benson of his fight with Logan Paul. "... If it was a real fight, it would've been a blowout in the first round."

Lance Armstrong's downhill climb

Question: What's the surest sign mega-fame has faded? Answer: You order a podcast mic on Amazon Prime. Yes, Lance Armstrong, the seven-time tour-de-cheater champion, has an audio program called "The Move." It follows the current Tour de France, which goes on for days, with off-the-cuff and analysis and humor, and is kind of a hit — at least with hardcore racing fans. The show has been described as a guilty pleasure for cycling enthusiasts. As The Irish Times once put it, the podcast "has been by turns touchingly informative and hilarious rubbish, part comedy sketch, part impression show, part product placement, the perfect blend of insight and bulls***."

Armstrong became an international hero after surviving testicular cancer and then winning seven-straight Tour titles from 1999 through 2005. But it turned out, the entire time he was both orchestrating and covering up an elaborate blood-doping regimen that literally propelled him to these superhuman achievements. Then he did the truly unforgivable: he brazenly lied to Larry King. And of course, eventually, confessed his sins to the high priestess of American forgiveness, Oprah Winfrey. 

Stripped of his Tour titles, lawsuits flowed like oxygen-enriched blood through an IV, and Armstrong was admittedly humbled. None of that, however, could save him from what some may consider the ultimate celebrity punishment: becoming a podcaster.

Kris Humphries couldn't keep up with the fame

Former NBA journeyman Kris Humphries became a national punchline under some unfair circumstances. Why? Well, mostly because his 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian publicly imploded in 2011 and was edited by "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" producers to make him look somewhat feckless. NBA fans were ruthless. The boo birds really come out for stars who get mixed up in Kardashian drama — just ask Tristan Thompson.

Humphries parlayed the sudden media interest into a five-minute sit-down with ABC News, but appeared to act like they'd somehow forced him into the makeup chair, his mother at his side. Humphries dodged every news-worthy question, hurling some baritone-drone cliches. "For me it's just, certain things happen in life and you've got to move forward," he simply said of his divorce.

Humphries changed his tune in 2020 with a genuinely fascinating essay in The Players' Tribune entitled, "I Never Wanted to Be That Guy," where he reflected honestly on his brush with tabloid celebrity. "Our actual relationship was 100% real," he insisted of the short-lived marriage, calling the public blowback "brutal." Humphries said he dealt with severe anxiety in the frenzied aftermath of "KUWTK" fame and didn't even want to leave his house. "Do they think I was trying to be famous?" he mused. The NBA star didn't really, or, as he put it, "And then I met a girl who happened to be really famous, and I got married, and..... Damn."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Sammy Sosa became focused on his image

Slammin' Sammy Sosa was the powerful slugger for the Chicago Cubs during one of the most thrilling storylines ever for Major League Baseball. Both he and St. Louis Cardinals big hitter Mark McGwire chased the single season home run record in 1998 (McGwire nabbed 70 against Sosa's 66). The following decade, allegations surfaced that both Sosa and McGwire used performance enhancing drugs. While McGwire would admit as much, Sosa has long denied his use of any steroids despite reportedly testing positive in 2003, and, as a result, the Chicago Cubs banned him from any events. 

Both Sosa and McGwire stayed mostly silent about their thrilling record chase after the allegations, but both resurfaced to talk about their glory days in the 2020 ESPN documentary "Long Gone Summer." Looking back at the performances, Sosa said, "We shocked the world." Staying consistent in his story, the former right fielder continued to deny using drugs to aid in his hitting abilities.

In addition to keeping the image of his baseball career clean, Sosa has seemed focused on crafting a specific appearance of luxury in his personal life after retiring in 2007. He's owned houses across the world and even became a resident of Dubai. "I never watch Facebook, Instagram, some of that B.S. s***. I don't have time for that," he told SI in 2018. Instead, Sosa drew attention to the fact that he could drink expensive scotch and wear designer glasses, explaining, "This is my life, and I don't take garbage from nobody. I do whatever I want."

Will Manny Pacquiao ever retire?

Standing at only 5'5.5" in height, boxer Manny Pacquiao could pack a punch that felt like it was delivered by a giant. The Filipino was an incredible force in the boxing ring and also a fan favorite. By 2012, he was the second highest paid athlete in the world, earning more than legends like LeBron James, Roger Federer, and Tiger Woods, according to Forbes. Pacquiao was second in earnings only to fellow boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. These two boxers went head-to-head in 2015, with Mayweather winning in a unanimous decision. While this epic fight could have been the end of Pacquiao's career, he instead used his popularity to further his career in politics. 

Having previously won a legislative seat in 2010, Pacquaio became a senator in his native Philippines in 2016 and stayed in the position until 2022, despite his controversial anti-LGBTQ+ views leading to Nike dropping their endorsement deal. The boxer then felt he could stand atop the political podium and ran for president of the Philippines. Unlike many of his boxing matches, Pacquiao walked away without victory. "I know how to accept defeat. But I hope that even though I lost this race, my countrymen, especially the poor, still win in this scenario," he said in a statement (English translation via Rappler).

The loss may have inspired Pacquiao to take out some frustration in the way he knows best — in the boxing ring. Though he announced his retirement from boxing in 2021, Pacquiao announced two years later that he planned to fight against British boxer Conor Benn.

Brett Favre made headlines for all the wrong reasons

Any fan of football in the '90s into the new millennium couldn't escape the influence of Brett Favre. The legendary quarterback for the Green Bay Packers was durable like few others, starting in a staggering 297 consecutive starts in the NFL before sitting out for an injury in 2010. After retiring that same year, Favre was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Though there is little to dispute in his career accomplishments to earn his place in the record books, many scandals have since tarnished the Super Bowl winner's rep, and in the years since his induction, there have already been calls for Favre to lose his spot in the Hall of Fame. 

In 2021, news surfaced of welfare fraud in Mississippi with sprawling misdeeds, with Favre as the most famous name included in the ongoing scandal. Per CBS Sports, Favre allegedly received funds originally allocated to federal programs intended to help families in the state. For example, he reportedly received over $1 million for two speaking appearances that he apparently never even attended in 2017 and 2018.

Favre has denied the allegations, tweeting in part, "Of course the money was returned because I would never knowingly take funds meant to help our neighbors in need." However, as controversy around Favre's potential involvement continued, this once beloved NFL star began seeing his empire fall apart. SiriusXM suspended his show "The SiriusXM Blitz With Brett Favre and Bruce Murray" the following year, while Favre's radio appearances on ESPN Milwaukee were similarly halted.

Jon Gruden's secret side was exposed

Well known for both his devious smile and gifted football strategy, Jon Gruden reached the pinnacle of his career in 2002. In his first year as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he became the youngest head coach ever to win the Super Bowl. "No matter what anybody says, I was there for this," he told CBS Sports in 2021. "Sometimes, I kinda wear (my Super Bowl ring) around my house when no one is there. It's an awesome game. An awesome, awesome game."

As you may have guessed, Gruden never duplicated this success — and the Bucs fired him in 2008. He quickly landed on his feet and found new life as an announcer for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" until 2017. Instead of retiring from all aspects of the game, Gruden became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2018. The team later moved to Las Vegas, but Gruden became involved in a scandal even too big for Sin City. In 2021, The New York Times exposed emails between Gruden and Bruce Allen, a former NFL executive, where Gruden reportedly used offensive language, including racist stereotypes about the NFL Players Union's president DeMaurice Smith, homophobic slurs against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell while condemning the Rams' 2014 drafting of openly gay player Michael Sam, as well as portraying misogynistic tendencies like exchanging images of scantily clad cheerleaders.

Gruden promptly resigned, apologized, and pleaded for a chance at redemption. "I just ask for forgiveness and hopefully I get another shot," he later said at the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

Ray Lewis couldn't escape his past

All-time great NFL linebacker Ray Lewis was one of the most feared defenders in the NFL during the prime of his career. He played every one of his 17 seasons in the league for the Baltimore Ravens and joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the class of 2018. Despite his accolades and retirement from professional football, Lewis continued to be haunted by one night in 2000. 

Atlanta hosted Super Bowl XXXIV and its famous "one yard short" finish between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans. Lewis was also in town as a fan, but as he was leaving a party, a fight broke out and two men were stabbed to death. The football player and two of his friends were initially charged with the murders. Later, Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and went on probation, but with the double murder charges dropped, he continued to play in the NFL. Lewis later talked about the incident in his 2015 memoir "I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory" and claimed that he was no longer affected by the deaths. "You don't ever have to live like you're guilty when you know you're innocent," he told NPR.

Aside from his connections to the NFL, Lewis began promoting a rather obscure sport when he teamed up with the World Jai-Alai League and joined its board of directors in March 2023. At the time, he tweeted, "Very excited to be a part of the future of this legendary sport!"

Terrell Owens never stopped moving

One of the more iconic moments in the career of NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens came after he was suspended in 2005 by Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid over a training session argument. A shirtless Owens held a press conference in his driveway, answering questions from reporters while doing crunches. "Hey, if I am going to get back on the field, I gotta make sure I'm in shape," he quipped (via NBC Sports). 

The controversial receiver returned to the field and ultimately earned a spot among the 2018 inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It would seem out of place for Owens to then sail off into the sunset and never be heard from again — so sure enough, he resumed his football career as a receiver for the Zappers and later the Knights of Degen in the Fan Controlled Football league. The league, first launched in 2017, aimed to modernize football with fans voting on plays while athletes competed on a short field with games streamed on Twitch.

When he wasn't catching passes in an alternate football league, Owens was making news for fighting back against hecklers. In late 2022, spectators caught video of Owens outside a Los Angeles CVS allegedly punching a man, who reportedly first took a swing at the wide receiver, per TMZ. This tough guy image is in contrast to his role as the owner of his 81 Vino wine brand. His promotions included an Instagram video of him dancing with young wine drinkers in February 2023.

Tim Tebow decided to teach others

While his approach was unorthodox, Tim Tebow was a thrill to watch for college football fans when he was quarterback for the Florida Gators. He was a force on the ground as a rusher and in the air as a passer, literally doing both with his signature jump pass, as seen in a CBS Sports highlight video. He also had a signature pregame move called "Tebowing," where he would get down on one knee with his hand on his head. This was in connection to his open pride in his Christian faith. For example, the quarterback would always write verse references from the Bible on his under-eye paint. After he left the NCAA, the association banned players from this practice, which became known unofficially as "The Tebow Rule." 

Tebow famously won the Heisman Trophy and two National Championships before joining the NFL. After a short time as a pro football player, Tebow switched to minor league baseball with the Syracuse Mets and then turned to broadcasting with ESPN. Outside of football, it appears Tebow's main focus is to stay in the public eye as an inspiration to his fans in a multitude of ways. 

According to his personal website, he runs the Tim Tebow Foundation with a focus on helping others and also advertises for his services as a motivational speaker. The former footballer also became an author, writing memoirs, self-help books, and even children's books. His website also showed Tebow was open to acting requests and investment opportunities.

Hope Solo admittedly set a bad example

In her glory days, Hope Solo was a towering presence on the United States women's national soccer team. Standing at 5'9", this goalkeeper could stop nearly any shot at any moment, which helped her win two Olympic gold models and a Women's World Cup victory. For her tremendous career, Solo earned her spot in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2022. Yet, outside of her impressive reputation on the soccer pitch, Solo has unfortunately made several headlines for issues unrelated to the sport. 

Police arrested an allegedly intoxicated Solo in 2014 on charges of domestic violence, claiming she'd assaulted her nephew and half-sister, per The Seattle Times. Those charges were later dropped — but just the following year, the United States women's national team suspended the goalkeeper for 30 days after an alleged incident, in which she and her husband, ex-NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, were pulled over for suspected drunk driving. Though Stevens was driving, Solo was reportedly close to being busted herself for disorderly conduct.

Solo retired in 2016 following a six-month suspension over disparaging comments made after Sweden beat the U.S. at the Rio Olympics. It seemed Solo's negative headline days were over, but in 2022, she pleaded guilty to driving under the influence after police found her asleep in her car in a Wal-Mart parking lot with her twin children present. Solo, who sought rehab treatment for alcoholism, said on her SiriusXM Podcast "Hope Solo Speaks," "I let alcohol get the better of me in a decision that I will never live down."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Chad Johnson became a champion for frugality

Perhaps one of the strangest stories in the history of the NFL is of wide receiver Chad Johnson, who legally changed his last name to Ochocinco. However, he later went back simply to Johnson, because when he married Evelyn Lozada, she apparently had no desire to inherit this mathematical family name. "I'm just doing it for the marriage. It has nothing to do with football. Ochocinco is still in me. It's just my middle name," the former NFL star told ESPN in 2012.

Johnson soon retired from the NFL but continued to tell stories about his time in the league, while also expressing an interest in coaching. Most surprisingly, he was extremely frugal in his days as a professional athlete, which was a stark contrast to his flamboyant personality on the field and over-the-top touchdown celebrations. For example, he didn't even have his own apartment when he first joined the NFL. "As a rookie coming into the league, I stayed at [Paul Brown Stadium] my first two years because there was no point in spending money and wasting money when everything I need is already there," Johnson told ET in February 2023, allowing him to save 80% of his pay.

The receiver also bought fake jewelry for himself so he could save up for things more important to him, like the perfect diamond ring for his wife. Instead of fancy dinners, Johnson told GQ that he can't live without McDonald's, citing his love for the fast-food brand since he was a kid thanks to the affordable menu.

Danica Patrick raced toward some side hustles

Shocking the world in an historically male-dominated sport, Danica Patrick was once the biggest star in racing. Known equally for her impressive driving skills, good looks, and former relationship with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Patrick expanded her personal empire with modeling and endorsement deals with brands like GoDaddy. "You might not agree with the things I do, but at least you can respect my honesty. I'm just me," she told the Los Angeles Times after officially retiring from racing in 2018. 

While she might have stopped driving around curves at nail-biting speeds, Patrick continued to push for success with other business ventures. Her podcast "Pretty Intense" focuses on self-help topics like how to face fears and trust your intuition. She also compiled much of her life advice in the 2017 book "Pretty Intense" about her approach to mental and physical health. 

Not to mention, Patrick also created her own wine. After dining at the French Laundry restaurant, once the most expensive restaurant in America, the racer became inspired to purchase a vineyard in Napa Valley and launched Somnium wine. "I thought owning my own winery was something that would just be a dream, but it became a reality," Patrick shared on her website of naming her wine after the Latin word for dream. Super fans of Patrick can sip on either Somnium or her other wine Danica Rosé, while smelling one of her Voyant candles and wearing clothing from her athleisure-focused line Warrior by Danica.

Barry Bonds became an outcast

After Barry Bonds made history by hitting 762 home runs in his career, the most ever for a player in Major League Baseball, he seemed like a lock to enter the Hall of Fame. Yet, after he retired in 2007, Bonds continued to be left off the ballot year after year due to allegations that he'd used performance enhancing drugs while playing. "If they don't want me, just say you don't want me and be done with it," he told The Athletic in 2020 about voters for baseball's Hall of Fame. Even more, Bonds said he felt the MLB gave him what he dubbed "a death sentence" and, as a result, "My heart, it's broken. Really broken."

Bonds was briefly a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, but then settled into a role as special advisor to the CEO of the San Francisco Giants. Still unable to escape all the negative press about the alleged steroid scandal, Bonds continued to highlight the lighter aspects of his career: Like when he revealed that he nearly signed with the New York Yankees. 

"It was very close for about 15 or 20 minutes," he told ESPN in 2022 about the famous team's contract offer. Instead, he then received a bigger offer from the Giants. The choice was an easy one for Bonds, who wanted to play for San Francisco, the same team for which his dad and grandfather had both played. Bonds then spent the rest of his career playing in San Francisco from 1993 to 2007.