Okay, let’s put this disclaimer forward right off the bat, some of the gentlemen on this list aren’t exactly broke or poor when it comes down to the proper definition of the word. However, when you consider the millions that they earned during their respective NBA careers and you flip it into real world money, then yes, chances are you and I may have more financial stability than these former pro-ballers.
Whether it was due to a lavish lifestyle that they can no longer maintain or bad advice on investment or even terrible business decisions, the following fifteen individuals no longer have that rainy day funding that they once relied on. Throw in the fact that many of them are too damn lazy to run down to the corner store and take care of themselves before jumping in the sack with the eye-candy from the club and nine months later, the financial responsibility of a kid comes into play. Now multiply these mistakes many times over and it is easy to understand why the incoming and outgoing cash flow no longer matches up.
For some players on this list, the rags to riches to rags back to, well not so rich but at least stable stories are ones that hopefully today’s NBA stars will learn from. For the others, they continue to try and live the lavish lifestyle that they were once used to, but sadly are unable to maintain any longer.
15. Shawn Kemp
There are several famous names in the history of the Seattle Sonics basketball franchise, but one of the most popular belongs to the “Reign Man”. Coming to the team without playing a single season of college ball, Kemp became one of the focal points of the franchise in just his second season with the team. After being underpaid and underappreciated by the Sonics front office, Kemp would find himself traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While he would then start making his market value, personal struggles with substance abuse kicked in, leading to his downfall in the league.
Add to the fact that Kemp had a handful of bad investment choices and a team of baby-mamas to take care of (rumored to be at least seven) and you can easily see where his money has gone.
14. Darius Miles
He was supposed to be the next Kevin Garnett, but luckily for KG, Miles was not, otherwise he could have ruined the future HOF’ers rep. At the time that he was drafted third overall in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Clippers, Miles would become one of the numerous poster children for what was wrong with the league at the time.
Giving teenagers millions of dollars in a grown-up world leads to countless reasons for trouble. With over $62 million to burn, Miles turned his riches into bad investments and legal issues, including back pay on taxes and yup, you guessed it, child support payments. Ultimately, his career and personal life tanked pretty badly. He attempted a return to the court later in his career but it was just not to be for the one time high end prospect.
13. Latrell Sprewell
There were many things that punctuated Sprewell’s NBA career. His vicious attacks on the rim, choking his coach and what might be a top five NBA soundbite, “I’ve got my family to feed”. By the time Spree had gotten to Minnesota, he was not quite the explosive scorer he once was during his time in New York or Golden State, but he still was a capable starter who averaged double digits.
After helping (not leading, just helping), the T-Wolves to their best outing in team history, Sprewell famously turned down a three year, $21 million contract. With nearly $100 million already in his pocket, Sprewell found himself without a team and over the years without many of the millions he once had due to foreclosures on his homes and debts that he had owed and taxes that had gone unpaid.
12. Scottie Pippen
During the time in which Robin helped Batman win six rings with the Chicago Bulls, he was one of the most underpaid players in league history. Earning as much (or little) as $3.4 million a season with the Bulls, Pippen didn’t start raking in the big money until he was traded to the Houston Rockets (for Roy Rogers and a 2nd rounder!). For the next five years between Houston and Portland, Pippen made up for the Bulls financial undercutting by pulling in over $77 million of his career total $110 million. Add in endorsements by big wigs like McDonald’s, Coke, Nike and you’d think that Pip was holding his own.
Unfortunately with horrible spending decisions (like a plane that wouldn’t fly), a nasty divorce and bad investments have left #33 with just over half of his fortune.
11. Allen Iverson
Imagine having nearly $200 million to spend. Now imagine having to sign your name on bankruptcy papers stating that you have spent pretty much everything you have. Iverson was one of many NBA players who came from a life of struggles and hard times. He felt the need to take care of his family and friends who stood by him through his journey from the bottom to the top. Cars, clothes, jewelry, houses and vacations were just some of the expenses that Iverson’s earnings paid for during his time in the NBA.
While he has still made some money with public appearances during his retirement, Iverson’s debts more than eat up his earnings. Thankfully the good people at Reebok were thinking on Iverson’s behalf when he signed with the brand. In addition to his yearly payment for the duration of his life, Reebok also set aside a trust fund for Iverson to access in 2030.
10. Rick Mahorn
One of the most prized possessions in sport is a championship ring. It’s a sign that you have made it to the top of the mountain, a place where few will reach, no matter how great they are. Sadly for Mahorn, he had to pawn his 1990 Detroit Pistons NBA Championship jewelry when he filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Considering NBA paydays back in the 80s and 90s, especially for a defensive minded player who only averaged double digit points four times during his eighteen years in the league and never once managed ten boards a season, Mahorn’s $8 million in earnings was pretty decent. Add to that a post retirement broadcasting role and a head coaching gig with the WNBA and one would think that Mahorn would walk into the sunset.
With investments in the Detroit markets during a time in which the economy did not return favorably, Mahorn has found his way onto the list.
9. Kenny Anderson
Mr. Chibbs was a basketball prodigy growing up in New York. After being an all-everything as a prep star, Anderson left the Big Apple for Georgia Tech and eventually the NBA. After 15 years and nine different teams, the crafty point guard would leave the league with a total of nearly $64 million in career earnings. Not to bad for a kid from Queens. One would assume he’d be set for life right? Nope, wrong.
Sadly, Anderson’s spending far exceeded his income when you add in two marriages and seven children with various different mothers. Throw in foolish investments and a flock of expensive cars to keep up and it’s no wonder that the extra zeros in his bank account are nearly gone.
8. Eddy Curry
He was once part of the Baby Bulls (alongside Tyson Chandler), team management had hoped he would return the team to greatness. He did not. He was once part of the New York Knicks rebuilding process, one that they’re still in the midst of nearly a decade later.
Unfortunately for Curry, troubles with maintaining his health led to his fall from potential greatness. While some of his health issues were self inflicted, others came from various injuries, however at the end of the day, Curry still managed to pull in $70 million whether he was on the floor or in street clothes. With seven kids to take care of and a number of bad financial choices and legal issues to deal with, it is no wonder that his earnings have dwindled quickly.
7. Delonte West
He ended his career best known for rumors about relations with a teammate’s mom. While many have taken wisecracks at that story, the sad one is that West, who suffers from manic depression and is bipolar has squandered his $16 million in NBA earnings. Even towards the end of his NBA career, during the 2011 lockout, West had to apply for a gig at Home Depot in order to help pay bills.
With both of his houses seeing foreclosure and bank debts racking up, West has also had his share of legal issues to deal with. Stories have been told that West, following his basketball career that finished with a run with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League in 2015 has spent time sleeping on a fold out bed of family members home because he’s unable to afford his own place.
6. Jason Caffey
He may be a two-time NBA Champion (thanks in large part to Mister Jordan and Pippen), but as far as being a winner in life, the former Chicago Bulls forward has pretty much failed since leaving the NBA. Despite banking over $34 million over the decade of his professional playing career, the Alabama Crimson Tide alumni struggled to reach into his wallet for a couple of bucks in order to protect himself and the eight women that have mothered his ten children.
Sure, Caffey isn’t the only baby-maker in NBA history, but he’s one of the few who has been arrested for failing to pay his child support and at the same time filed for bankruptcy. Here’s hoping those kids mothers had good jobs!
5. Dennis Rodman
If you look up “Dennis Rodman broke” on the internet, you get more stories about how he has damaged his “worm” than you will about his financial issues. Despite his questionable appearance and instability, one has to believe that with all the public appearances that Rodman makes or has made throughout his playing and post NBA career that he has a couple of bucks to his name.
After making nearly $50 million during his time in the league and countless other payments from social events (Wrestling, books, movies and TV), the fact that Rodman was still on the hook for what, yup you guessed it, child support. Sadly for Dennis, a lot of battles with the many demons he has faced have been done publicly unlike others on this list. It has been said that Rodman currently has less than $500,000 to his name.
4. Vin Baker
Baker was brought to Seattle to help bridge the gap between a disgruntled Shawn Kemp and what was supposed to be a successful Sonics future. Unfortunately, while Baker did help the Sonics to three playoff appearances during his five years with the team, it appeared that this was the start of his downward spiral into self damage. Banking nearly $100 million during his NBA career, plus additional endorsement fees, Baker fell onto hard times with substance abuse and financial troubles that left the 13 year veteran with just pennies in his pockets.
In an effort to turn his life around, Baker turned to taking over as a manager of a Starbucks franchise, before most recently becoming an intern coach with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League with the hopes of righting many of his wrong choices in life.
3. Derrick Coleman
He was once projected to be an NBA Superstar that would change the way big men in the league played the game. Today. he’s trying to change lives for the people in Flint, Michigan by helping distribute clean water and supplies to the needy.
While he was far from a failure during his fifteen years in the league, his attitude and approach to the game was what cost Coleman the positive fame to go with is $91 million fortune. Unfortunately for Coleman, a number of bad business decisions and investments in his current home of Detroit has taken a toll on his finances. Although Coleman’s investments were made with the best intentions to help the Detroit economy, it did land him filing for bankruptcy back in 2010.
2. Eric Williams
Eric Williams used to be one of those guys who despite playing for seven teams during his twelve year NBA career was someone that you just wanted to cheer for. It seemed like he was always one of those hard working players who was trying to make the most of his career and was willing to do whatever was asked from him.
Then you read that even though he made nearly $40 million over those dozen years globetrotting through the league, he claimed that he was homeless and broke and could not pay his child support. Now, that proclamation was three years ago, today, it has been reported that Williams has been spending time as a volunteer for a non-profit organization, which is all fine and good, but it still doesn’t amount to putting much food on the table.
1. Antoine Walker
The poster boy for this article, “Mr. Shimmy Shake” himself was like a kid in a candy store with his millions. Hey, let’s be honest, if any of us had $108 million we would be pretty gitty about it too, but hopefully not to the point in which we completely drained out bank accounts.
Yes, he had am NBA championship and yes he was a multiple time All-Star, but all of that fame led to the extravagant spending sprees on cars, clothing, jewelry and handouts to family and friends. Gone was all of his wealth and in place, a spot among the who’s who of sport stars who have foolishly blown through their wealth. After hitting rock bottom, Walker has taken a roll in helping today’s players learn from his experiences, helping them avoid the pitfalls that he once fell into.
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