Sports Agent Who Inspired Jerry Maguire Files for Bankruptcy
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Sports Agent Who Inspired Jerry Maguire Files for Bankruptcy

January 17, 2012

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Sports agent Leigh Steinberg, whose larger-than-life persona served as the inspiration for the main character in the film "Jerry Maguire," filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this week to help resolve the financial stress caused by being millions of dollars in debt.

According to a report from CBS Sports, Steinberg blames some of his financial woes on his alcoholism, although he has apparently remained sober since his last stint in rehab in 2010.

Steinberg has represented many of the NFL’s biggest stars, and is reputed to have been the first sports "super agent," a title that is reserved for the select group of agents who have become almost as famous as the athletes they represent.

While Steinberg reportedly owes millions of dollars to multiple entities, perhaps his biggest debt is $1.4 million in unpaid rent to the Irvine Company, which leased him office space in Newport Beach, California.

Sources indicate that Tom Cruise’s character in the 1996 film "Jerry Maguire" was based on Steinberg, who gained a reputation as a celebrity in the sports world after representing athletes like Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Warren Moon, and Ben Roethlisberger.

In a statement released right after his filing, Steinberg admitted to putting off the bankruptcy for several years, out of fear that he would turn off future clients by failing to repay his debts to others.

Steinberg, however, recently had a change of heart, as he recognized that filing for bankruptcy offered perhaps his only chance of resolving his debt problems, and eventually reviving his fading reputation.

In addition to his reported battles with alcohol, Steinberg also placed some blame on a former employee who allegedly took $300,000 from one of his clients in 2003. Steinberg alleges that this incident started a wave of financial woes that eventually destroyed his sports empire.

Lawsuits related to this incident, as well as a lawsuit related to the $1.4 million office debt, have also taken a financial toll on Steinberg, who likely owes large amounts of money in legal fees in addition to his other debts.


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