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Agent Leigh Steinberg, Inspiration for 'Jerry Maguire,' is Bankrupt

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on January 25, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

He had us at "hello," but now his creditors are demanding, "Show me the money!" The man who inspired the movie "Jerry Maguire," superagent Leigh Steinberg, has filed for bankruptcy.

Steinberg filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in Orange County, Calif., on Jan. 11, the Associated Press reports. Steinberg's debts include $1.4 million in unpaid rent for an office he leased in Newport Beach.

The famous sports agent blamed his financial problems on a long battle with alcoholism. "I just lost track while I was in rehab," Steinberg told the AP.

Leigh Steinberg's bankruptcy marks an embarrassing decline for the once-super-rich man known as the world's first "superagent." Steinberg's past clients included NFL stars like Troy Aikman and Ben Roethlisberger. His charisma inspired Tom Cruise's character in "Jerry Maguire."

But Steinberg's struggle with alcohol, and a legal fight against a former partner who formed a competing agency, sent him on a downward spiral.

"I began to check out episodically for short periods," Steinberg said in a public statement, adding, "I am responsible for my own addiction -- no one forced me to drink." Steinberg says he's been sober since 2010.

Steinberg's bankruptcy filing is also sobering. In general, a Chapter 7 filing automatically stops most collection claims against a debtor. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation, because it allows a debtor's assets to be sold and divvied up to pay off creditors.

The next step in Leigh Steinberg's bankruptcy will likely be a meeting between a bankruptcy trustee and Steinberg's creditors to discuss liquidation. Such a meeting usually takes place within 40 days of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

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