Remember wanting to dress up as your favorite athlete for Halloween? They're superheroes, easily-identifiable and (in the case of Brian Wilson) quite spooky. But the athletes gotta dress up, too. And sometimes they do it right. Here are our awards for the best athlete Halloween costumes.

(By the way, send us your sports-themed costumes at and we'll post the best ones!)

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Most Creative
Jeff Gordon

One Night Stand: Model Ingrid Vandebosch wouldn't want her NASCAR champion husband having any one night stands, but dressing up as one nightstand for Halloween is a different story. Gordon definitely wins for wit and creativity, while Vandebosch ... well, she can't look bad, but she could have gotten into the holiday spirit just a little. Unless she's dressed up as Daisy Duke?

Most Obvious Choice No One Else Would Think Of
Shaun White

Wendy: It takes confidence to become an Olympic snowboarder, not to mention one who unabashedly rocks wavy, scarlet locks. But Shaun White truly earns a gold medal for his picture perfect tribute to America's favorite freckled purveyor of square hamburgers. From the extra freckles and wired pigtails to the precious apron and sheepish grin, who wouldn't want to buy a Frosty from him?

Most Charming
Paul Pierce

Frog: The 2009 Disney flick was certainly a hit -- but who knew "The Princess and the Frog" inspired NBA stars? Pierce could pass as a royal Praying Mantis, but he revealed on Twitter last year that he was, in fact, half of the fairy tale duo. The Celtic makes the list for his DIY, family friendly spirit. We're assuming wife Julie Landrum was the lucky princess; it sure wasn't Scot Pollard.

Best Couple
Jonathan Toews
Adam Burish

"Dumb And Dumber" Gotta love these Chicago Blackhawks ready to trick or treat as the original comedy bromance, Harry and Lloyd. "Mock. Yeah!"

Most Shameless
A.J. Ellis

Carmen Miranda: Chicka chicka boom BOOM! Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis left little to the imagination in his portrayal of the Portuguese-born Brazilian star of the 1940s and 50s. "One minute! I need to adjust my top," he seems to say.

Most Self-Deprecating
John McEnroe

Himself: Most of us wouldn't dream of dressing as ourselves 20 years ago for Halloween -- unless, of course, we were trying to win a "Scariest Costume" prize. But McEnroe had no shame about his 1982 Davis Cup look, right down to the red sweatband. When you're known for your temper, a sense of humor never hurts.

Best Celeb Tribute
Dwyane Wade

Justin Timberlake: From the flaxen ringlets and shining goatee to the tilted fedora and tailored vest, Wade turns up the heat with his stylish tribute to JT. If you aren't going to look scary for Halloween, you might as well bring sexy back.

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By Darren Rovell

The National Basketball Association lockout, which started on July 1, has already wiped out the entire preseason and nearly 100 regular-season games. A key point of dispute for both sides continues to be focused on the breakdown of basketball-related income (BRI), which previously had been guaranteed at 57 percent for the players. The league has claimed that 22 of its teams lost money during the 2010 season.

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Slideshow: Teams that can't afford the lockout

Some star players, including Deron Williams and Tony Parker, have already signed contracts to play overseas as the work stoppage drags on. Many more players have threatened they might consider doing the same.

As the owners and players continue to squabble over their next labor agreement, we started thinking about the teams that could least afford to miss the 2011-12 NBA season.

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Golden State finds itself in the loser column without an NBA season. After paying an NBA record $450 million for the team in the summer of 2010, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber can't afford to be set back by fan apathy that would accompany a year-long stoppage. Sure, a revamped economic system would lower costs, but whatever the final deal is won't save them that much. Lacob and Guber paid a premium for a team that, frankly, hasn't been that successful because of the team's location. They've brought in Jerry West, a new coach in Mark Jackson and the thinking is the revamp can help them make the numbers work. A year away from the court would be brutal.


Defending champ Dallas, like the Miami Heat, is one of eight NBA teams that netted a combined $150 million last season, while the league says the other 22 teams lost $450 million. With the belief that some of the have-nots will actually do better by not playing games, there's an argument to be made that the guys that have the most to lose are owners such as Mark Cuban, whose fans are ready to provide him with what might be his biggest revenue year yet.


With plenty on the line after coming away empty against the Mavericks in the NBA Finals, Miami had already sold out this season by March. Sure, there's plenty of expenses, thanks to owner Mickey Arison cutting checks to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but there's plenty more revenue to be had. At one point last season, the Heat actually turned away sponsorship money because it had nothing left to sell in some categories.


Sure it's a lame duck year for New Jersey, which is scheduled to play its last season in Newark, but there's still plenty to lose. With a spanking new arena awaiting the team in Brooklyn next year, a year lost could cool the appetite to watch a team who, let's face it, hasn't proved themselves on the court. A lost year could mean the team might lose Deron Williams forever, making it difficult to lure other free agents. The new location is nice, but a year of apathy will immediately dull the impact of the move to the Barclays Center.

Who else? Check out the slideshow to find out.

Questions? Comments? Email Or check out more Sports Biz with Darren Rovell.

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With "Moneyball" racking up about $20 million in box office revenue for its opening weekend, millions of people who would never watch an Oakland Athletics game have learned the importance of a baseball player's value. The main point to be taken from "Moneyball" is the same strategy at the car dealership: How can I get more for less?

Now, with the 2011 World Series underway, which players are giving their teams the most bang for the buck? With the help of, we looked at the three players from both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers who are helping the most and costing the (relative) least. Here are the best values in the Fall Classic:

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Texas Rangers

1. Mike Napoli

This catcher and first baseman had a four-day stint with the Toronto Blue Jays before being traded to the Rangers for pitcher Frank Francisco. He's the highest-paid Ranger on this list, with a 2011 salary of $5,800,000. But compared to Michael Young, the team's highest-paid player with a contract worth $16,174,975, it doesn't look so bad. With an on-base percentage of .414, slugging percentage of .631, 30 home runs and 5.5 Wins Above Replacement (as measured by, he was certainly a multi-million dollar steal.

2. Derek Holland

One of the youngest players on the Texas roster, the 24-year old pitcher is third on the team in innings pitched with 198, and has 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, good enough for fifth on the team. And he's done it all for the measly price of $431,810. Interestingly, Holland, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz have combined for 43 percent of the Rangers' innings and 40 percent of the team's strikeouts. But the four of them made a combined $1,747,950. That's less than two percent of the Rangers' $103 million payroll.

3. Nelson Cruz

The outfielder has had a great season with the Rangers. This year, Cruz and Ian Kinsler became the first teammates in major league history to homer in each of the first three games of the season. On Oct. 11 against the Detroit Tigers, Cruz became the first player ever to hit a walk-off grand slam in a post-season game. Cruz was also awarded the 2011 ALCS MVP award. His 2011 contract is worth $3,650,000. Put that next to 29 home runs, an on-base percentage of .312, slugging percentage of .509 and Cruz gives the Rangers several big bangs for their buck.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Lance Berkman

No, this first baseman/outfielder isn't exactly cheap. But with a salary of $8 million (half the team's most expensive contract, Matt Holliday at $16,317,774), Berkman brings serious scoring power to the Cardinals. The Big Puma hit 31 homers this season and has an on-base percentage of .412 while slugging .547. That gives him the team's highest OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .959.

2. Jaime Garcia

This starting pitcher brings a lot of left-handed talent for very little green. As the No. 2 hurler, Garcia might only be in his third year with the Cardinals, but his stats look almost as good as those of ace Chris Carpenter. And with a salary of $437,000 compared to Carpenter's $14,259,403, Garcia is quite the value. This season, he had 156 strikeouts, second only to Carpenter's 191.

3. Allen Craig

In the big leagues only since 2010, utility player Allen Craig has hit 11 homers this season. With an on-base percentage of .362 and slugging average of .555, his OPS is actually slightly higher than that of Albert Pujols (though it's a much smaller sample size). In fact, at .917, it's the highest on the team behind Berkman. Craig's 2011 contract is worth $414,000 -- peanuts for a team that has gone so far in the playoffs.

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What is it about animals that lead fans of sports teams to believe they possess some sort of rallying power? That with a simple video of a monkey dancing on a screen, or an octopus sliding across the ice, a team will suddenly be empowered with a mystical momentum conjured from nothing?

Such is the power of St. Louis' rally squirrel, which appeared during an NLDS win over the Phillies. Ever since, it's been squirrel fever in St. Louis, and the furry rodent has even got its own MLB promo and T-shirt.

The rally squirrel is hardly the first animal to factor in a team's playoff pathos. It's not even the first "rally" mascot. But here's a look at all animals that have made their marks in the postseason.

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Rally Monkey

Anaheim Angels: The 2000 season was a wild one for the Angels, and you could argue that it started with the Rally Monkey. The little jumper made his first appearance with the Angels trailing the San Francisco Giants in interleague play and developed a cult-like following. It continued in subsequent seasons and came into national prominence in 2002 when the Angels won the World Series against those same Giants.


Detroit Red Wings: Red Wing fans have been chucking octopus on the ice since the 1952 playoffs, when local fish market owner Peter Cusimano winged one of his own. The eight legs were said to symbolically represent the eight wins it took to win the cup back then, and the tradition has stuck, despite many attempts by the NHL to end it.


Florida Panthers: During the 1995-96 NHL season, Florida winger Scott Mellanby used his stick to kill a rat that was scurrying around the Panthers locker room before a game. Mellanby went on to score two goals in the game, and goalie John Vanbiesbrouck coined the term "rat trick." It stuck through the Panthers' run to the Stanley Cup Final, during which fans showered the ice with thousands of plastic rats to celebrate goals. The NHL followed with an off-season rule the penalized home teams if fans disrupted games by throwing things on the ice.

Billy Goat

Chicago Cubs: Oh sure, the Curse of the Billy Goat isn't exactly welcome when the Cubs make the playoffs, but that goat is as present as any of the other animals on this list. When Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis and his goat were asked to leave a 1945 World Series game because the goat's odor, Sianis supposedly cursed the team. And now we're all cursed to hear about the goat anytime the Cubs make the playoffs.

Rally Squirrel

St. Louis Cardinals: And we're back to the critter that kick-started this list. You can't deny the power of the squirrel, whose Cardinals have marched all the way to the World Series since its appearance. Now we're just waiting to see what the Rangers come up with as a counter. Oh sure, they've got the "antlers" and "claw," but that's not quite the same. Here's hoping for an "Onslaught Armadillo" or something armadillo-related, at least.

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By Brian Reed

The NBA labor agreement is far from resolved and the first two weeks of the regular season have already been cancelled.

Although it is hard to call this group of 10 multi-millionaires victims, it is also difficult to imagine losing a paycheck that amounts to an unfathomable fortune every two weeks. With that in mind, here are the 10 players who will miss out on the most money as the lockout lingers.

Methodology: During the 1998-99 lockout, players lost pay based upon games missed. So, if a player missed one game due to the lockout, it would have cost him 1/82nd of his salary. However, since all players have slightly different schedules, we calculated pay on a paycheck basis.

Players are only paid during the regular season and receive checks bi-weekly for work that occurs the previous two weeks. The 2011-12 NBA season was supposed to have started on Nov. 1 and end on April 18. During the course of the season, that can be divided into 13 bi-weekly paychecks. The numbers were calculated by equally dividing each player's 2011-12 salary 13 times to find what they earn every two weeks during the season.

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10. Joe Johnson

Hawks, $1,387,582.54 per paycheck: Atlanta's $119 million man Johnson was one of the surprisingly large signings in 2010 and has been pointed out as an example why so many NBA teams are suffering financially. Even if the lockout makes Johnson suffer a bit this year, the future looks good. The contract will pay Johnson $18,038,573 in 2011 and increase from there through 2015 when he will earn $24.9 million.

9. Amar'e Stoudemire

Knicks, $1,401,361.92 per paycheck: Stoudemire is likely eager to get back on the court to jel with the new Knicks team that was swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The series was particularly hard for Stoudemire who played through injuries with disappointing results. Unfortunately, the cancelled preseason jeopardizes the jelling process with his teammates and he's facing a cut into his $18,217,705 salary.

8. Carmelo Anthony

Knicks, $1,423,076.92 per paycheck: Since arriving from Denver, Anthony signed an extension with the Knicks and will make $18.5 million this season. Nice new neighborhood.

7. Pau Gasol

Lakers, $1,439,550 per paycheck: Sure, Gasol could spend the lockout performing surgery in his native Spain, but he is still unlikely to pull in the kind of cash he would make playing basketball. He is set to bankroll $18,714,150 this season, or $1.44 million per paycheck.

6. Dirk Nowitzki

Mavericks, $1,468,682.54 per paycheck: The lockout has to have put a damper on the celebratory summer for the reigning NBA Finals MVP and the champion Mavericks. The champs will lose momentum with the cancelled preseason, and losing the nearly $1.5 million Nowitzki earns every paycheck from his $19,092,873 annual salary has to hurt too.

5. Gilbert Arenas

Magic, $1,482,254.46 per paycheck: 2010 was a tough year for Arenas. He was traded to the Magic for Rashard Lewis after a troubled stint in Washington where he pleaded guilty of felony weapons charges, was suspended indefinitely by the NBA and spent 30 days in a halfway house. However, earning almost $1.5 million a paycheck and $19,269,308 annually has to take off a bit of the sting.

4. Kevin Garnett

Celtics, $1,630,769.23 per paycheck: Garnett will likely be chomping at the bit to avenge last season's disappointing playoff loss to the Heat. While his numbers have dipped a bit in recent years, Garnett is still one of the most dominant power forwards in the game and his $21.2 million salary this season shows how much he means to the franchise. Yet, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, speculation is already bouncing around about Garnett's future with the Celtics. The quicker the lockout can end, the quicker Garnett can silence critics and prove he is worthy of his $1.63 million bi-weekly paychecks.

3. Tim Duncan

Spurs, $1,638,461.54 per paycheck: Duncan didn't exercise the Early Termination Option (ETO) in his contract that would have made him a free agent. Smart move. With Duncan's paltry averages last season -- 13.4 points and 8.9 rebounds -- he probably wouldn't command $21.3 million on the open market. He has one year left on his contract.

2. Rashard Lewis

Wizards, $1,704,000 per paycheck: Lewis signed a massive six-year, $118 million contract with the Magic in but was later traded to the Wizards for another player on the list, Gilbert Arenas. With two years left on his contract, Lewis is due $22,152,000 this season, so a lockout would be as disappointing to Lewis as his averages of 11.7 points and 5.1 rebounds last season were for the Wizards.

1. Kobe Bryant

Lakers, $1,941,846.15 per paycheck: Bryant is widely regarded as the best player in the league and he is paid accordingly. Last April he signed a three-year, $83.5 million extension that will continue to make him the highest paid player in the NBA. He also raked in $25 million endorsements last year, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to miss out on an almost $2 million paycheck every two weeks.

Note: Vince Carter has an $18 million team option on his contract, but is expected to be bought out for $4 million by the Suns, making him an unrestricted free agent.

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By Luke Stenis

In today's world of corporate bailouts, economic backpedaling and political bickering, we still find the money to pay our star athletes more than modest fortunes for their fame and glory on the field.

[For more on star athlete salaries, read 30 of the Highest Single-Game Paychecks in Sports.]

Many star athletes are able to build and maintain their wealth through savings and investments, but not all who cash big checks are successful with their money management.

The 15 star athletes on this list all have one thing in common: They lost a small fortune seemingly overnight to bad investments -- all were victims of poor judgment or bad luck.

From pistachio farms and bowling alleys to private jets and Ponzi schemes, these bad investments sunk fortunes and fame for many of the following star athletes:

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Torii Hunter

Inflatable Furniture Rafts. Many sports fans know that Hunter made his fortune robbing homeruns from juiced-up players during the steroid era of Major League Baseball. But not many fans know he lost nearly $70,000 a few years back from an investment in inflatable rafts for furniture. Yes, you read that correctly. The pitch that sold him was that during a flood, people can pump up the device, and their furniture will float and stay dry. Hunter invested $70,000, but when the guy came back with no product and asking for $500,000 more, Torii came to his senses. Hunter never saw any of his money again, but signed a lucrative deal in 2007 with the Angels, so his bank account isn't hurting too badly.

Roy Halladay, Patrick Ewing, Erik Bedard

Real Estate Properties. An investor group -- which includes Roy Halladay, Patrick Ewing, Erik Bedard and several other professional athletes -- recently loaned and lost millions of dollars to real estate company Atherton-Newport. Atherton-Newport used the unsecured loans to partner with Fidelity Investments for approximately $97 million worth of real estate properties. Atherton-Newport defaulted on their obligations, declared bankruptcy and currently has no money available to pay back the athletically-gifted investor group.

Deuce McAllister

Nissan Car Dealership. In 2010, Deuce McAllister formally retired from the NFL as the Saints' all-time leading rusher, a two-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion and perennial fan-favorite in the Big Easy. Unfortunately, McAlister's Nissan car dealership in Jackson, Mississippi -- Deuce McAllister Nissan -- wasn't as successful as his football career, and the dealership filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009. According to sources, Nissan sued McAllister for approximately $7 million on defaulted loans, interest and exceeded credit limits.

Art Monk

Terry Orr's Shoe Company. NFL Hall of Famer Art Monk is widely considered one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of professional football. His post-football career is nearly as impressive, founding a number of businesses, including Alliant Merchant Services, the Good Samaritan Foundation and the Art Monk Football Camp. But Monk was also the victim of a bad investment with a friend and former teammate, Terry Orr. In August 2001, Terry Orr was convicted of defrauding Art Monk and three former Redskins teammates, who had invested $50,000 each in Orr's shoe company. Instead, Orr used the money to pay off personal debts.

Rocket Ismail

Rock n' Roll Cafe. In 1991, Notre Dame sensation Rocket Ismail signed a guaranteed $18.2 million, four-year contract with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts -- which was the most lucrative contract in the history of professional football at the time. That same year, Ismail invested $300,000 in a Hard Rock Cafe/Planet Hollywood knockoff called "Rock n' Roll Cafe." While his advisor assured him it was fail-proof, Ismail lost his entire investment and has no idea what became of the restaurant.

Michael Vick

Wine Shop/Car Rentals/Real Estate. Where to begin?! By now you should be familiar with Vick's history of dog-fighting charges and time served in prison, but that wasn't all he was charged with in the end. In 2008, Vick also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because he was unable to repay $6 million in loans used to invest in a variety of business ventures, which included a car rental operation in Indiana, real estate in Canada and a wine shop in Georgia. Since his release from prison, Vick has been able to turn his finances and career around for a positive trajectory once again.

Rollie Fingers

Pistachio Farms/Arabian Horses/Wind Turbines. Three-time World Series champ and Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers not only had one of the greatest names in the game, he also sports an infamous waxed handlebar moustache -- which he originally grew to earn a $300 bonus from Athletics owner Charles O. Finley. Four years after his retirement in 1985, Fingers' long-term investments in pistachio farms, Arabian horses and wind turbines caught up with him. In 1992, he filed for bankruptcy, where he listed his assets at less than $50,000.

Terrell Davis, John Elway

Hedge Fund Ponzi Scheme. Former Broncos teammates Terrell Davis and John Elway share more in common than two Super Bowl rings; they were both victims of hedge fund Ponzi schemes as well. Davis was defrauded by Atlanta hedge fund manager Kirk Wright, who took his clientele for a smooth $150 million. While Wright has since committed suicide in prison, there is a lawsuit pending for several of his clients, who are still out a great deal of money. Elway was one of many who lost $15 million to a Ponzi scheme run by hedge fund manager Sean Mueller. Don't feel too badly for Elway, he has been very successful in his other investments.

Mike Pelfrey

Ponzi Scheme. Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey was one of the many MLB players -- including Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, Scott Eyre and Jacoby Ellsbury -- who fell victim to the $8 billion Ponzi scheme orchestrated by wealth manager Allen Stanford. Pelfrey estimated that 99 percent of his money was tied with the company, which had all of its assets -- including Pelfrey's -- frozen by the U.S. government after fraud was detected.

Eric Dickerson

DFJ Italia. Dickerson was the fastest running back to ever reach 10,000 career rushing yards. He was also the fastest NFL player to get on board with dubious financial advisor, Luigi DiFonzo, whom he met at a Hall of Fame dinner in Canton, Ohio. DiFonzo was actually a repeat felon posing as an Italian Count. Dickerson wasn't the only NFL player swindled by DiFonzo, who admitted to specifically targeting NFL players before he committed suicide in prison in 2000.

Johnny Unitas

Restaurants, Bowling Alleys. Johnny "The Golden Arm" Unitas is considered one of the greatest players in NFL history, with a record-setting career spanning three decades. He isn't, however, considered a great investor. After his NFL career, Unitas invested his money in many business ventures: restaurants, real estate and bowling alleys. But his investments didn't perform as well as his own football career. In 1991, Unitas declared bankruptcy after investing in a failed Reistertown circuit board manufacturer. Upon his death in 2002, the Unitas Management Corp. also filed for bankruptcy concerning his estate.

Scottie Pippen

Private Jet, Real Estate. Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen was instrumental in six NBA championships with the Bulls throughout the 1990s. He was the "Robin" to Chicago's "Batman," Michael Jordan. Unfortunately, Pippen was not as successful with investing his money as he was on the basketball court. His first bad investment, a private jet plane, put him in the hole early. It was the real estate investment busts, however, that reportedly account for $27 million of lost fortune for Pippen.

Lenny Dykstra

Luxury Jet Company, Websites, Car Washes. While he was considered a "spark plug" on the baseball diamond, on the field of investing, Dykstra didn't fare so well. In 2008, Dykstra launched a high-end jet charter company and magazine that offered financial advice for professional athletes. He launched a website "Nails Investment" to further spread his investment ideas. At the time, Dykstra's net worth was estimated at $58 million. But it didn't take long before his financial empire went into a tailspin. Since 2001, it is reported that Dykstra has been subject to at least two dozen legal actions. In July 2009, Dykstra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing less than $50,000 in assets and $10-$50 million in liabilities. On April 13, 2011, Dykstra was arrested for investigation of grand theft, a day after being charged with a federal bankruptcy charge.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Shady Investment Adviser. The most prolific scorer in the history of the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, knows a thing or two about winning on the court. But early in his career, he didn't show the same smarts when choosing investment advisers. From 1980-1986, Kareem's investment adviser, Tom Collins, had taken out more than $9 million in loans under Kareem's name and made risky investments without Kareem's knowledge. By the time Kareem became aware of the financial catastrophe Collins had gotten him into, it was too late. All Kareem's money was gone. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, he said, "It's been a crash course in business school and I've paid a steep tuition."

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By Paul Toscano and Brian Beers

In a year where the National Football League was embroiled in its longest labor dispute ever, the popularity of this multibillion-dollar sports juggernaut has still managed to grow.

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Slideshow: Best-selling NFL jerseys

An important component of football merchandising is jersey sales -- which might be seen as a proxy for the most popular players in the sport. Each year, releases the best-selling jerseys in the NFL and its list is presented here. This list represents jersey sales from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2011.

So, which NFL jerseys are this year's best sellers?

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The best-selling NFL jersey of 2011 is that of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, reigning Super Bowl Champion and MVP. Rodgers threw for nearly 3,922 yards in 2010, with a passer rating of 101.2. He continued his success into the 2011 season, leading his team to a 4-0 start, throwing for 12 touchdowns and rushing for two.

Green Bay fans have been known to worship their quarterbacks, so coming off a Super Bowl win it should be no surprise that Rodgers jersey finds itself at the top spot.

Click here for the Top Ten.

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    5. Clay Matthews, Packers

    Breaking into the top 25 on the list and climbing all the way to fifth place is Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews has received Pro Bowl honors in both of his years in the league and helped the team to its first Super Bowl title since 1996 -- undoubtedly boosting his popularity among fans. In 2010, Matthews also came a close second to Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year.

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By Daniel Bukszpan

The list of athletes who lost huge sums of money after their playing days ended is long. Evander Holyfield may have been fearsome in the ring, but that didn't stop him from nearly losing his house in 2008. Jose Canseco was a force to be reckoned with when he played major league baseball, but after his steroid use was made public the money dried up and he had to resort to reality TV gigs to keep the bills paid.

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Slideshows: Athletes' foreclosed homes

For many athletes who lose their former earning power, it's not just the paychecks and the prestige that go away, it's the stuff. The cars, the jewelry, and the admiration of the fans often disappear and, most painfully, sometimes the houses do, too.

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Many athletes spent their signing bonuses on huge mansions with extravagant amenities. When they couldn't keep up with the mortgage payments they were faced with foreclosure, like so many others during the housing crisis.

Who are some of the major athletes who have faced foreclosure?

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    Julius Erving

    Dr. J remains a legend almost 25 years after his retirement. But sadly he was not immune to falling on hard times, and in December 2010 those hard times cost him his house. Erving had purchased the 6,500-square-foot, five-bedroom St. George, Utah, home in 2006 and built a basketball court on the property that was decorated with the colors and logo of the Philadelphia 76ers. He moved out in January 2010 and listed the home for $2 million, but never found anyone to buy it. Erving defaulted on the mortgage and the home, which he described as "substantially underwater," went into foreclosure.

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By Daniel Bukszpan

On July 30, 2011, the Indianapolis Colts decided not to mess with success. They renewed the contract of star quarterback Peyton Manning who, in a fit of generosity, agreed to five more years of service for a mere $90 million. He didn't need to be the highest-paid player in the National Football League, he said, and he would make do with the same $18 million a year that Tom Brady squeaked by on.

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Slideshow: Million-dollar sports injuries

It turned out to be a better deal than anyone realized. On Sept. 7, 2011, after problems recovering from neck surgery he had undergone four months earlier, the Colts disqualified Manning from appearing in the upcoming season opener. The next day, he was back on the operating table. Although the team didn't put Manning on injured reserve, he would be out of commission for an unspecified period of time that could go on for months, if not the whole season.

Whatever happens, the team still has to keep paying his salary. Even if Manning spends the entire 2011 season out of commission, he will still receive the $18 million he would otherwise get for his services on the gridiron. This happens almost any time a professional athlete is injured during the season. The only question is how much money the teams will have to pay while the athlete recovers. In most cases, the costs can run into
the millions of dollars.

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What are some of the most notable multimillion-dollar sports injuries? The list features the likes of John Smoltz, Jason Schmidt, Rod Smith, Gilbert Arenas and the aforementioned Tom Brady, among others.

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    Jason Schmidt

    Schmidt was signed to the Giants in 2001 and remained an essential component of the team until 2006, when he was wooed away by the Dodgers. They offered him a $47 million contract in exchange for just three years and, understandably, he took the offer.

    Schmidt's fortunes reversed almost immediately. He started only three games before incurring a shoulder injury that put him on the disabled list for more than a month. He tried to return but after three games he was sidelined yet again, this time for the rest of the 2007 season. Schmidt then missed the entire 2008 season. All told, his injury prevented him from pitching in all but 10 games, only three of which were wins. Since every penny of the $47 million contract was guaranteed, Schmidt was paid more than $15 million per win.

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You'd figure buff bodies in the buff would be enough to generate some buzz, but ESPN The Magazine has started to tease fans by revealing the names of those featured in its upcoming "Body Issue."

There will be more than 20 athletes shown in the third annual spread that attempts to blend art with sex appeal. (Or is it the other way around?) Here are 12 of them -- not in their birthday suit:

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Hope Solo

The U.S. soccer goalie parlayed a terrific performance in the World Cup into a spot on "Dancing With The Stars."

Steven Jackson

The all-time leading rusher for the Rams has been to three Pro Bowls. When asked by an ESPN editor to pose, he replied, "I was wondering when you were going to ask me."

Gretchen Bleiler

In addition to four gold medals at the X Games and a silver in the 2006 Olympics, Bleiler also has a FHM photo spread to her credit, so this ESPN issue isn't her first magazine modeling gig.

Blake Griffin

The reigning NBA rookie of the year and slam dunk champ has been an Internet sensation through his internship at

Alicia Sacramone

The Massachusetts gymnast helped the United States take the silver medal in the team competition at the 2008 Olympics. She also became a YouTube sensation for a clip of her punching a guy in the face.

Jose Reyes

The shortstop became the first Met to win the batting title (.337) but fans were upset that he left the season finale after just one at-bat. He bunted for a single.

Vera Zvonareva

The Moscow native has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world and reached the finals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010.

Ryan Kesler

The Canucks center has his own line of clothing and made a splash last year in Vancouver when he posed in his underwear for publicity shots.

Natasha Hastings

She was part of the U.S. 4×400-meter relay team that won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Jon Jones

He won the UFC light-heavyweight title in March with a TKO win against Mauricio Rua.

Julie Chu

A two-time U.S. Olympian, Chu was the NCAA's all-time leading scorer in women's hockey when she finished her career at Harvard in 2007.

Louie Vito

The world champion snowboarder also competed on "Dancing With The Stars" and lasted longer than UFC legend Chuck Liddell and Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin but was eliminated before Michael Irvin.

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