The film opens with some astounding statistics:
By the time they have been retired for two years,
78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress...
Within five years of retirement,
an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke.
The beginning of the documentary looks at the growth in the value of the team franchises in the last thirty years and the resulting increases in the average salaries. From there, using interviews, it looks at how athletes get into financial trouble.
The film is divided into a number of segments, including: All about the Benjamin's; Bling Bling; Keeping up with the Jones; Mo Money Mo Problems; Hustlers Paradise; Who can you trust?; Mouths to Feed; Baby Mama Drama; Banged Up; Game Over, and; Real Talk. The subject of each segment is explored through people telling their story or commenting on the topic.
There are over 30 people in the film, including: Bernie Kosar; Cliff Floyd; Jamal Mashburn; Keith McCants; Andre Rison; Sean Salisbury, and Curt Schilling. The confessions by the players are surprisingly vulnerable. The footage with Andre Rison is particularly compelling. There is no interviewer present; it is just people talking to the screen.
The film closes with some thoughts on what players need to do to protect themselves financially and some "where are they now" slides for the key people who appeared in the documentary.
While not my favorite of the 30 for 30 or ESPN Film, it is definitely worth seeing. It is intellectually interesting, but just not as compelling as some of the other stories that they have done. It really makes you wonder why you would ever want your child to be a pro athlete. I want to explore this a little more in a future post.
The airing generated a lot tweets and instagraph photos from athletes. My favorite was an instagraph photo of what looked to be the entire Cleveland Cavaliers in a hot warm watching the show on a big screen.
Bill Simmons talked to Billy Cohn about the film in the last half of his podcast of one of his podcasts.
Broke is available on Amazon and in iTunes.
A trailer for the film is here.