SALT LAKE CITY — Former NBA fan favorite Jeff Hornacek, best known for his long tenure with the Utah Jazz, surprised everyone this week by declaring bankruptcy. The announcement continues a disturbing trend in professional sports, where a disproportionate number of retired athletes have squandered the millions of dollars earned during their careers in astonishingly short time-spans. While most poverty-stricken former athletes admit to wasting their fortunes on extravagant homes, expensive cars, drugs and shady business deals, Hornacek’s case represents an entirely new concern.
“Jeff was just never that kind of guy. Fans loved him because he seemed so responsible. He was a great role model,” said Allen Raymond, a team adviser who holds a degree in social work with a social worker degree. Hornacek was best known during his playing days for his positive attitude and solid technique.
Only recently has information come to light regarding Hornacek’s wild and impetuous spending habits, which led to his losing millions upon millions of dollars in a series of extravagant and shortsighted investments. In 2003 Hornacek reportedly blew nine-million dollars on a month-long bender in which he financed the building of four Mormon churches in at-risk neighborhoods. In 2005, he squandered another huge sum on tuition for his children and generous donations to their schools. In 2011, Hornacek had no choice but to accept a position on the Utah Jazz coaching staff to offset his reeling accounts. Always a team-player, the rest of Honracek’s funds were spent donating hookers and blow to his already bankrupt ex-teammates.