“I… Should Have Done Better” | Tom Brady, Steph Curry, And More Athletes May Lose Big In FTX Crypto Bankruptcy

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In the world of cryptocurrency and new digital revenue, everyone jumping in believed that they were on to a future of new earnings and technological evolution. Many feel deflated as the crypto bubble burst, and now top sports figures are reeling. Most recently, FTX filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, with its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to lose his entire $16 billion fortune.

The price of FTX’s token, FTT, plummeted by 88.8% over the past week to around $2.74, according to reports.

One of the significant sports figures that took a loss is Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. In 2021, a few months after winning his seventh Super Bowl, Brady and his wife, Gisele Bündchen, were each given an equity stake in FTX and received some crypto. In addition, Brady became an ambassador for the company while Bündchen served as FTX’s Environmental & Social Initiatives Advisor, with both starring in TV commercials for FTX.

It was a lucrative move for FTX as the company raised capital to a $32 billion valuation a few months after announcing the deal with the Bradys. Exactly how much equity Brady and Bündchen received in 2021 is still unclear.

Steph Curry experienced something similar when he was made a global ambassador for FTX and given an equity stake in the company in 2021. The high-profile athletic ambassador partners attracted their peer group as investors. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, tennis star Naomi Osaka, and MLB’s Shohei Ohtani were all investors. It is still being determined whether they will get their money back or if the bankruptcy filing will wipe out their equity.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban kept it real from his perspective on what went wrong at the FTX Group.

“So what does Sam Bankman [Fried] do? He’s just ‘Gimme more, gimme more, gimme more,'” Cuban said in Washington, D.C., at a conference. “So I’m gonna borrow money, loan it to an affiliated company and hope and pretend to myself that the [FTX tokens] that are in there on my balance sheet are gonna sustain their value.”

FTX was once the darling of the crypto industry. Its 30-year-old founder and CEO was widely considered a rising impresario of digital exchanges. Now he and FTX are yet another cautionary tale for athlete investors.

“I f**ked up and should have done better,” Bankman-Fried posted.

FTX experienced what could be considered a run on the bank but in crypto terms. Since the company was short billions of dollars, it sought bankruptcy protection. Now the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating if any criminal activity or other securities offenses happened.

The new turn of events are a long way from when Brady gave FTX one of the most glowing endorsements.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time in the crypto-world and Sam and the revolutionary FTX team continue to open my eyes to the endless possibilities,” Brady said in 2021. “This particular opportunity showed us the importance of educating people about the power of crypto while simultaneously giving back to our communities and planet. We have the chance to create something really special here, and I can’t wait to see what we’re able to do together.”

Equity stakeholders and investors alike that are athletes are now holding the bag for yet another company that cashed in on their cachet.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.