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Other Players' Money

March 17, 2008
March 17, 2008

Table of Contents
March 17, 2008

SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
STEROIDS IN AMERICA: PART 1
STEROIDS IN AMERICA: PART 2
STEROIDS IN AMERICA: PART 3
PRO BASKETBALL
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
PRO FOOTBALL
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Other Players' Money

GOOD NEWS for the obscenely rich! In April former Mets and Phillies hero Lenny Dykstra is launching The Players Club, a magazine for pro athletes. The goal is to provide them with advice, resources and branded financial plans so that after retirement they can, as the mag's motto puts it, KEEP LIVING THE DREAM.

This is an article from the March 17, 2008 issue

So all you millionaires, decelerate your Hummers from 110 mph, put down those Xbox controllers and tell your posse to start taking notes. Here are Seven Reasons to Entrust Your Life Savings to a Man Called Nails.

1. Lenny has turned over a new leaf.
Yes, this is the same outfielder who admitted losing $78,000 to a Mississippi gambler, rammed his Benz into a tree after John Kruk's bachelor party and generally impersonated Keith Richards with a better cutoff throw for 11 years. He's also the same flyweight who arrived at spring training in 1990 looking like a pygmy Arnold Schwarzenegger, then told reporters, "I took some really good vitamins." (Shockingly, Lenny made a cameo in the Mitchell Report, about which his standing line to reporters is "F--- you.") As his wife, Terri, says, "He's the last guy anyone would have thought would be doing this now."

2. He only acts the fool.
Dykstra may open his office door to release squeaky farts and refer to himself as "a broken-down old ballplayer," but don't be deceived. While in the Show, Lenny stashed his cash in real estate ("because it's real, bro"), then opened car washes in Southern California. When his mutual fund crapped out in 2002, he fired his money manager and went solo. Soon, he claimed to be making a bundle day-trading, was buds with Jim Cramer and had a column on TheStreet.com.

3. Because "planning for the future" involves more than putting out the breakfast room-service card the night before.
Chew on this as you chew on that Kobe beef: 78% of all NFL players are broke, divorced or jobless two years after they stop playing. "Then you got to go begging some f------ geek you hated for a coaching job," Lenny says. But Dykstra has a better idea: Drop the minimum $3 mil into his proposed Players Club annuity fund—his venture is designed to one day include a full-service investment wing—and he'll guarantee $400,000 a year for life after you retire. No hitting up geeks, ever.

4. Just look at Nails now!
You may have a nice McMansion, but Dykstra's living truly large. At 45 he owns a Gulfstream jet and a Maybach 57S ("Cost four bones, dude") and kicks it in Wayne Gretzky's old pad, an $18.5 million brick-and-marble mansion atop a bluff at the posh Sherwood Country Club near Malibu. Check out Lenny's home office: four computer monitors, three cellphones (sample ringtone: Elton John's Your Song), two laptops, two giant plasma screens blaring CNBC and one manic trader.

Of course, Dykstra has taken out at least $20 million in loans since 1999 and sunk another $3 million into his magazine project, but you can't win if you don't bet big, right?

5. Lenny understands you.
As a pro athlete you're an easy mark. So-called "friends," money-hungry "relatives," "supportive" girlfriends. A guy like Dykstra can protect you. Sure, he was sued by a former business partner and his tax preparers. (He dismisses both suits as cash grabs.) It just goes to show, as Dykstra says, "players have to be aware that people are out there after their money."

Still, Lenny knows your life's one big siesta interrupted by occasional bouts of stretching and sweating. You've certainly got time to read a magazine, especially one personally addressed and stuffed in your locker (thus qualifying as fan mail so it can't be discarded). "C'mon, you get to the yard at two, game's not until seven," says Dykstra. "How much smut can you look at?" (By the way, gentlemen, that's a rhetorical question, not a challenge.)

6. The Players Club is first class.
From 1985 to '96 Dykstra was a blue-collar gamer, grinding through six knee surgeries, four broken bones and a back so tweaked he now looks as if he's forever walking into the wind. But his monthly mag will be top-notch all the way. The business has a Park Avenue address, Trump is expected to be at the opening shindig and Derek Jeter is on the first cover. Plus, Dykstra is negotiating to bring in AIG as a partner in the annuity fund, and hey, that's a cut above the Bank of J-Dawg, or whichever high school buddy is investing your cash.

7. Peace of mind, bro!
One day Lenny hopes that the Players Club's financial arm will help meet all your needs: jet, real estate, credit card, home loans, insurance, nutrition, a Spanish concierge, you name it. Of course, Lenny's people will take a nice cut (roughly a $550,000 commission for every $3 million in insurance premiums), but that's not your concern. "Not to be mushy or gay," Nails says, "but this Players Club is going to have a direct effect on millions and millions of people's lives."

Yeah, and one life in particular.

TALK BACK
If you have a comment about Lenny Dyksta or financial advice for athletes, send it to PointAfter@si.timeinc.com.

ILLUSTRATIONILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER