About 60 percent of NBA players file bankruptcy within five years of retirement after making more money in 1 year than most people make in a lifetime. If they were at least financially irresponsible, they could probably rebuild and equip every school in need and set up trusts to create generational wealth for their families.
These 15 players once had a total net worth of about $1 billion and now are not worth $30 million together. Why did this happen? First, they overspend. If they make 5 million a season, they roughly pocket 2. They see that as 2 million to spend because they are too young, immature, and uneducated. They buy Rollses, Benzes, Rolexs, mansions, and drink, eat, gamble, and party beyond rock stars. Second, they left college early or didn't even go, and they think they will play forever and make millions forever. They were never taught that bills and life happen and continue, they need savings, and the paychecks, on average for NBA players, last 4-5 years. They are naive about life and financial planning, and sometimes surround themselves with fair weather friends, punks from their posse, who steal, don't pay bills, and launder money to their own friends, families, and are easily conned into poor business decisions. But one of their biggest problems is a lack of self control. Just these 15 players have have AT LEAST 33 "baby mommas" and 45 children.
The problem goes beyond them and should partly fall on the lap of the NBA. Without MANDATORY emotional, financial, and educational requirements, this problem will get worse. In the meantime, let these ex NBA players serve as a warning.
15 Antoine Walker
Antoine Walker earned more than $100 million in his 16 year career while playing for the Celtics, Mavericks, Hawks, Heat, Timberwolves, Grizzlies, and the NBA D-League's Stampede before retiring in 2012. Today, he has an estimated net worth of $250,000. Much of his fortune was wasted on legal fees for DUI, writing bad checks related to gambling debts worth more than $1 million, and real estate losses for more than $10 million.
He also blames his ex, Evelyn Lozada, who he spent MILLIONS of dollars on between her and her family. He also had to sell his 2006 NBA Championship ring he won with the Miami Heat. He has supposedly gotten himself out of debt and teamed up with Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment to offer advice to NBA rookies so hopefully this cycle will end.
14 Vin Baker
Vin Baker, the ex (and maybe only) University of Hartford star is estimated to be worth $500 thousand after earning almost $100 million during his career. The Milwaukee Bucks chose Baker with the eighth pick in the 1993 NBA Draft and he also played with the SuperSonics, Celtics, Knicks, Rockets, and Clippers. Though he created the Stand Tall Foundation and was part of Rodman's diplomacy efforts with North Korea, he blew his money on alcohol, relationships, and bad investments.
It is true he was working at Starbucks, but it's part of the deal he signed to become the owner of his store. He moved up in the Starbucks chain and he has also now gotten a gig as a basketball analyst on Fox Sports.
13 Kenny Anderson
Kenny Anderson is one of the poster boys for what not to do with your money. His net worth is around $800 thousand dollars but he earned more than $60 million dollars. Anderson was the second overall pick in 1991 and played for eight NBA teams. He also played overseas and coached in the Continental Basketball Association. Part of the reason he spent so much money was child support because he has seven children with five different women. He was recently fired as a boys' high school basketball coach after being arrested for a DUI. He was also recently part of an off-Broadway production where he discussed how he was sexually abused as a child. This is another example of how the NBA is failing. Some of these kids need help, and they owe them networks to get them help.
12 Robert Smith
Robert Swift was a 7 foot center who tried to make the leap from high school to the NBA and his hype seduced Seattle to take him with the 12th pick in 2004. Early in his career, Swift ruptured his right ACL and then tore his lateral meniscus. His life spiraled downward as he literally went broke. He couldn't keep up with child support, his alcohol and drug addiction, and his mortgage payments. The bank foreclosed on his house, and when the police had him removed they found multiple weapons and heroin. Things have just gotten worse for he was arrested multiple times for attempted robbery and drugs. He admits to living in the streets, being in jail, and sleeping in churches. He currently lives in L.A and dreams of getting a shot to play again in the NBA. He is clean and plays in various men's leagues.
11 Jason Caffey
Former Chicago Bulls forward Jason Caffey has been running into trouble ever since he retired and he appears trapped in a cycle. He was a journeyman for most of his career but won two NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. He lost $34 million in career earnings through personal issues that include an assault charge and fathering 10 children by eight different mothers. Did you get that, 10 children from 8 women, which he struggles to support (DUH).
In 2007, Caffey was arrested for not paying child support (DUH again), and the latest reports say the former NBA forward cannot file for bankruptcy since it opens the door for the eight mothers of his 10 children to sue him. This deadbeat dad tried to file for bankruptcy in 2008 anyway, a hail mary, but the claim was rejected by a judge.
10 Delonte West
West's journey into the abyss is far more alarming than just impregnating every woman who came his way. He mad made millions in the NBA while playing for 5 teams after being a first round pick. However, Delonte spent half of his career playing with an undiagnosed mental illness and ran through money faster than he could make it. He battled mania, depression, and was eventually diagnosed as bipolar. In many ways he was failed by the NBA.
Mental illness is as difficult to diagnose and as misunderstood as any disease. This isn't the 1940s. Anxiety, depression, and mental illness is extraordinarily common and is often confusing to the patient. The NBA must develop programs and realize many of their players need a safe and supportive environment to ask for help. They should be a pioneer for all professional leagues.
9 David Harrison
David Harrison, another 1st round pick on this list, was drafted by the Pacers. His on court play left little to be desired, and his prime time highlights came during the Malice at the Palace, a huge brawl with fans that stigmatized and embarrassed the NBA. His $4 million disappeared quickly and all sorts of stories surfaced about him not having the cash to eat at McDonalds. But what does this tell us about the NBA and its players? These athletes have been coddled and spoiled so much they may have lost any ability to rationalize their actions and envision the consequences.
These are certainly an individual's decisions and the fight was inexcusable, but a company as rich as the NBA, who knowingly exploits payers with dreams very few will reach, should have strict or mandatory counselling programs.
8 Darius Miles
Darius Miles was drafted to the NBA directly out of high school (strike 1), and his first two NBA seasons were successful. But then he was traded to the Cavaliers and the Trail Blazers, where he collided with off the court issues. He argued with coach Maurice Cheeks and was suspended for substance abuse (strike 2). He injured his knee badly in 2006 (strike 3), and was out of a job until he signed with the Grizzlies in 2008. However, he was already on that slippery slope and despite earning $66 million, by 2016, Darius had $500,000 in assets and $1.5 million in liabilities.
The NBA seems too scared to fight the jump of high schoolers or underclassmen to the NBA, but these kids, 99% of the time aren't ready. They face too many dangers and this story repeats itself to ad nauseum. At one point, something has to give.
7 Chris Washburn
Washburn was the third overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, but drugs derailed his career and life. He received a lifetime ban from the NBA in 1989 after failing three drug tests in three years. He lost the drive to compete and was easily drawn to the party life. His life completely fell a part and he lived in crack houses and abandoned buildings. He finally hit rock bottom after being sentenced to 12- and 13-months for drug charges. He was so far gone he couldn't start for his prison team, some of which played in flip flops and boots. Eventually, Washburn got his act together and has been clean for 14 years. He is now living with and taking care of his sick grandmother.
6 Derrick Coleman
Some athletes become better people long after their money and ego are gone. Gone are the days DC's black, gold rimmed Cherokee blasted bass, parked wherever he wanted, drank, and fought at Syracuse University. Gone are the days of him laughing after missing shots and walking back on defense. Gone are the tens of millions of dollars he was paid during a 15-year career, and so is the posse he thought would never abandon him. So what did he do then? He went back to the 'Cuse and earned his degree. He also heard about the water crisis near his home town in Flint, Michigan, where lead poisoning in the water has caused a state of emergency. Diseases and bacterial outbreaks have run rampant and killed and poisoned children, women, and men. The new Derrick Coleman drives an hour one way to randomly deliver bottled water to homes. Too bad few people know the new DC.
5 Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp is worth about $5 million after earning over 90 million in his career, which doesn't include the millions he earned from endorsements, most notably with Reebok. He never attended Kentucky (sound familiar) and declared for the 1989 NBA Draft. Kemp was drafted #17 by the SuperSonics, won a gold medal with the U.S in the 1994 FIBA World Championship, made the Finals in 1995-96, and then the problems started.
He was dealing with weight issues and he fathered seven children six different women (sound familiar- squared). Child support, house payments, car payments and food for that many people is not exactly cheap. Shawn has also been arrested several times since leaving the league for marijuana possession.
4 Dennis Rodman
On the court, Dennis Rodman won five NBA championships, two with the Pistons and three with the Bulls. Best known for his defensive and rebounding he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award twice and was the leading rebounder for seven consecutive seasons. And then Dennis’ behavior, which bothered me NONE, ultimately led to him away from basketball. His flamboyance led to cameos, but not security, and his popularity flamed out.
He is currently coaching the North Korean Basketball Association and he is reportedly living in debt. Bad investments, worse choices, and back child support have wiped out his $29 million. Maybe he should hit up Madonna for a loan.
3 **Allen Iverson
Why the asterisk? There are so many false truths about Iverson. First and most relevant is he is NOT BROKE! He did squander, waste, and lose over $200 million (unbelievable) but he is worth a million plus. First, his endorsement deal with Reebok included putting money away in a trust fund so when he turns 55, in the year 2030, he will have access to half of it, at least $16 million. He will also be able to draw from his NBA pension and it will surely be enough for him to buy a cheeseburger.
Now that his financial situation is clear, it doesn't take away from the fact he was a complete *&!#$ head to blow so much money on people that could care less about him. I hope when he's back on easy street he's smart enough to not get used again. As a side note, the true story behind his "Practice" rambling is really quite interesting.
2 Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell had a net worth of $50,000 after amassing a $100 million fortune. He was a 4 time All-Star and instrumental player for the Knicks and Timberwolves. But in 1997 he tried to choke coach P.J. Carlesimo during a practice and was suspended for 68 games. With his career hanging by a thread, he turned down a $21-million three-year contract from the Timberwolves saying it was not enough money to feed his children(what can you say?). He has since lost two homes and was prohibited from seeing his children. An ex-girlfriend once sued him for $200 million, he owed $3 million to the state of Wisconsin in back taxes, his boat he owned was repossessed, now, he reportedly rents a house in Milwaukee. How des tat 3 year, $21 million dollar contract sound now?
1 Bill Willoughby
The story doesn't start here but it's a good place to end. The 6-foot, 8-inch Willoughby was regarded as the best high school player in the world and, one year after Moses Malone and the same year as Darryl Dawkins, he decided to skip college and head straight for the NBA. Willoughby was incredibly athletic and drafted by the Atlanta Hawks. In a 1981 playoff game against the Lakers, he rejected a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky hook into the crowd, perhaps the greatest moment of his eight year career.
He retired in 1984, and by the age of 43 and broke, he earned his degree from Fairleigh Dickinson. But his renewed outlook on life hit a recent road block, when at 58 in 2016, he ran and was involved in a fight with police. He was charged with possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault.
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