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Pawn Stars: When the Rich and Famous Need A Few Bucks

Updated on January 21, 2016
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Andrew is a freelance writer and substitute teacher from Redwood City. He has a B.A. in Literature from San Francisco State.

Pawn Stars: When the Rich and Famous Need A Few Bucks

The items at a typical pawn shop can tell many stories. Sure, the most common thought is that the story is going to be a sad one, and that may sometimes be true. Every item in a pawn shop is something that, at one point, was important to somebody and really meant something in their lives. That guitar was supposed to be an escape, the last remnants of a dream a high school kid had to be a rock star. Forced to go to college, get a job as an accountant, and after a few kids he only strikes a chord when he’s cleaning out the garage. One day, the memory just becomes too much. He has different dreams now: not better ones, not worse ones, but ones about his family. Yet when he hands that guitar over the counter, he hesitates: what could have been? What could still be? What if he had put up a Craigslist ad looking for a kindred musical spirit? What if he had taken that cross-country trip to LA to try to make it? He’ll never know, just like she’ll never know why of all the jewelry pawn shops in the city she had to sell her old wedding band to the one that wouldn’t give it back. Or maybe there is a better reason: he finally got to move to his dream place in the city and got rid of that lawn mower.

But what happens when, instead of selling a reminder of a dream that never happened, you sell off what reminds you of the dream you achieved? Or start tossing away the things that remind you of the great life you once had? Let’s take a look:

- The Super Bowl Ring. There are plenty of diamonds for cash scenarios in pawn shop history, but none as over-the-top as the Super Bowl ring. In 2009, an anonymous Tampa Bay Buccaneers player pawned his ring for $6,000. However, former New England Patriots wideout Ricky Bryant has that beat. The 2004 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots Super Bowl ring weighed in at a whopping 3.8 ounces and was covered with not ten, not twenty, but one hundred and five diamonds! Bryant sold it for $21,000.

- Former sane person Charlie Sheen lived a ridiculous, some say out-of-control life. He had a wild and rocky relationship with Brooke Mueller, a failed actress and socialite. In April of 2011, Mueller was caught on tape pawning jewelry in Inglewood, California.

- MC Hammer is, of course, the ultimate example of pawning. Seen in a pawn commercial in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago attempting to make light of his situation, Hammer has been hurting financially for years. A victim of his own out-of-control spending and ego, Hammer wasted money on a lifestyle nobody truly needs, and wound up pawning platinum records, gold chains and even some of his famous “hammer pants”.

Not everything at a pawn shop has a big story or a sad one, but while one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, one man’s treasure can also be a cautionary tale about how, one way or another, responsibility will always catch up with the out-of-control.

Even The Pawn Stars Get Duped

Vince Young (By: elaine y from Austin)
Vince Young (By: elaine y from Austin) | Source

Hall of Shame: Vince Young

In 2005, Vince Young was the star of the #1 Texas Longhorns team that won what was arguably the most thrilling NCAA football championship in history over #2 USC. The following spring, Young went on to sign a $26 million deal with the Tennessee Titans, and the road ahead looked to be paved with gold for Young.

Alas, rather than setting records for his play in the NFL, Young instead became best known for his prolific spending habits off the field. A $300,000 birthday party and a $5,000 a week meal budget at the Cheesecake Factory during his rookie season set the tone for the lack of financial discipline Young would become famous for.

In a quote from the site Sportster, a financial adviser in the Texas area allegedly said of Young at one stage, “If you wanted to write a manual about how to go into bankruptcy, Vince’s story would be it."

Following the 2010 season, Young was released by the Titans. After another disappointing season with the Eagles in 2011, Vince Young couldn't make it past the pre-season in auditions with the Bills, Packers, and then Browns from 2012 to 2014.

The combination of his lavish spending habits, extremely high child support obligations, and a precipitous decline in salary due to his poor play on the football field, led to major financial issues for Young. In January 2014, Young filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Houston federal bankruptcy court

Today, Vince Young is a University of Texas employee, working for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. His role as a development officer for program alumni relations has him focused on raising money for programs that assist first-generation and low-income college students.


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