The NBA contracts we see tossed around now were not the norm for some of the retired NBA greats. Former stars still pulled in a hefty pay day for the time, but a lot of them took to investments and money management in order to continue to build their bankroll. In fact, about 10 out of the top 25 highest-paid basketball players ever are still active today, and a guy by the name of Michael Jordan doesn't even crack the top 25. Building a brand and good business decisions, accompanied by that NBA money has landed some of the players on our list in the higher earning side of things.
Now for every smart businessman that leaves the NBA, there is the frivolous spender. During their NBA career or post-NBA career, some players just take living large to an unacceptable height. It can be just the spending on cars, houses, and anything anyone needs inside their circle, but sometimes there are business deals gone wrong. We all know the Antoine Walker sob story, which we will get into detail on later. Bad advice and others seeing as a walking wallet ready to take advantage of. Players need to be careful and can only trust so much. Although sad, these multi millionaires have big targets on them by any and all people who can get a piece of what they have.
In no order, we will take a look at some success stories as well as some cautionary tales of some of our favorite players of all time. Lets see who is doing retirement right.
15 Magic Johnson: $600 Million
Take a minute and realize that Magic Johnson's NBA contracts totaled only $23 million. That is the same amount JJ Redick will make during the 2017-2018 season. So although Magic began earning his riches with the NBA, it was his business mind and entrepreneurship that got him up to this astonishing net worth. Following his positive HIV testing, Magic retired from the NBA after a few comebacks. He then went on to form the Magic Johnson All-Stars, who would tour the world playing teams from all professional leagues. It was reported that Magic was making up to $365,000 a game during that tour.
Magic also owns part of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Sparks, and Los Angeles Football Club. He stayed close to the NBA following his retirement working as a studio analyst and currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers.
14 Dennis Rodman: $1 Million
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We had to throw in some sob stories. Dennis Rodman was one of the most dominant, if not the most dominant rebounders in the history of the NBA. He showcased a rugged, hardworking style that got him all the way to the Basketball Hall of Fame and multiple NBA Championships. Unfortunately, he did not run with the right crowd or have the right mindset to secure his future after basketball.
Things got so bad that in 2012, Rodman appeared in court for failure to pay child support. Rodman's lawyers claimed he was flat broke and could not pay a dime. Rodman earned just shy of $29 million during his NBA career in contracts alone. Endorsements, book sales, and appearances probably accounted for another few million.
13 David Robinson: $200 Million
One of the greatest centers of all time, "The Admiral" David Robinson made just over $116 million during his NBA career. A ten time NBA All-Star and Basketball Hall of Famer, Robinson was able to win two NBA Championships.
Since his retirement, Robinson has launched two private equity funds. Aside from his success in real estate assets, Robinson stays active in the community and charity. He donates 10 percent of his funds income to various charities. His first fund, Admiral Capital, would go on to acquire $350 million in real estate assets. The big man continues to add to his net worth, despite a peak contract year of $14.8 million.
12 Yao Ming: $120 Million
Even after his retirement, Yao Ming continues to be one of the biggest endorsements in China. From 2002-2011, Yao played in the NBA earning $93 million in salary. Furthermore, he helped bring awareness to basketball in China, as well as the NBA for the citizens of China. In 2007, the Houston Rockets faced off vs the Milwaukee Bucks. It would showcase Yao Ming vs fellow Chinese basketball sensation Yi Jianlian. Over $200 million would tune in, and it is still one of the most watched games in NBA history.
Yao continues to be seen around Houston and the NBA, and his star is still as big as ever in his homeland of China. Yao would go on to purchase the team he became a star on as a teenager, the Shanghai Sharks of the CBA.
11 Latrell Sprewell: $50,000
Some of the situations on this list are just flat-out baffling. In 2005, Latrell Sprewell turned down a three-year, $21 million contract from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sprewell cited that the contract was not enough to feed his children.
During the course of Sprewell's NBA career he had made over $100 million. In 2007, Sprewell faced a $200 million lawsuit, had his yacht repossessed, defaulted on his $1.5 million dollar, and owed $3 million in back taxes. Two years later, he lost his other house. Meanwhile, he and his family also parted ways during that time.
He was a stellar player on the court, but Sprewell will likely be remembered for either choking his coach or the downfall in his financial status.
10 Gary Payton: $130 Million
Gary Payton holds the honor of being the only point guard to ever win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In all, "The Glove" earned nine NBA All-Defensive First Team honors while sprinkling in nine NBA All-Star appearances and a NBA Championship in 2006. Payton played in the NBA from 1990-2007 earning over $104 million during his career.
Since his retirement, his beloved Seattle SuperSonics have now become the Oklahoma City Thunder. Payton is using his fame and fortune to bring a NBA franchise back to Seattle. If he is successful, Payton has stated he will stay with the team and keep the team in Seattle.
9 Steve Nash: $95 Million
Before there was Steph Curry, there was this point guard that was able to win back-to-back NBA MVPs. Steve Nash was a wizard on the court, and lead one of the most potent offenses in NBA history during his time with the Phoenix Suns. Nash earned just shy of $147 million during his playing career, which included stops in Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.
Nash currently serves as the general manager for his native Canadian National Team, as well as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors. The former 15th-overall pick is also apart owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of the MLS.
8 Kenny Anderson: $800,000
Kenny Anderson is one of the most notable NBA players that had financial issues. Anderson earned more than $60 million in NBA salary before reportedly becoming flat broke upon his retirement. After his NBA career came to a close, Anderson pursued a professional career overseas and also coached in the Continental Basketball Association.
In 2014, along with Dennis Rodman, Anderson joined the effort as part of the "basketball diplomacy" that played a basketball game to celebrate the birthday of Kim JongUn. In 2015, Anderson appeared on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's reality TV show, Wake Up Call.
7 Rasheed Wallace: $75 Million
Rasheed Wallace may not always look and act like a multi-million dollar business man, but he has been able to maintain his fortune after a stellar basketball career. During a playing career that lasted until 2013, Wallace earned over $158 million in NBA salary. Wallace can still be found courtside at NBA games. The Philadelphia native still gives back to the community. During the Flint, Michigan water crisis, Wallace drove a truck full of water from North Carolina to Michigan. It was in Detroit that Wallace had his most successful years as a NBA player, even adding a NBA Championship.
The all-time leader in technical fouls continues to do well in the public spotlight.
6 Karl Malone: $75 Million
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"The Mailman" Karl Malone was able to earn just shy of 106 million dollars during his time in the NBA. That just from NBA salaries. Malone was also a big time endorser for APEX, and more recently Skechers. The NBA's 2nd all-time leading scorer has also put together other ventures upon his retirement. Malone is the owner of Teriyaki Grill, Eskimoe's Ice Cream, and an Arby's in Ruston, Louisiana.
We also can't forget the time that Karl Malone joined forces with Diamond Dallas Page to face off against Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman as part of WCW's "Bash at the Beach."
5 Eddy Curry: $3 Million
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Eddy Curry's career left NBA fans, coaches, teammates, and execs something to be desired. A promising young big man that every time it seemed he had it going would back track in the biggest ways. The first alarming drop off was when he was traded to the New York Knicks and then immediately recessed, only to put together a career year his second season in the Big Apple. And only to play 85 games in his last six years in the league following.
Still Curry made just over $70 million in NBA salary during his career that managed to span from 2001-2013. In 2009, Curry's Chicago home was in foreclosure after he owed more than 220,000 in mortgage payments.
4 Antoine Walker: $800,000
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Antoine Walker has been very outspoken and willing in advising other young NBA stars to not make the same mistakes he has made with this finances. Walker earned more than $108 million in NBA salary throughout his 12-year NBA career. He also was a three-time NBA All-Star, and an NBA Champion following a NCAA Championship career for Kentucky. Unfortunately, Walker entered the league and began his bad habits right away. Despite having a financial advisor, Walker had his own ideas about what he was going to spend his new found fortune on.
It call came to a head when in 2010 Walker filed for bankruptcy. His assets were worth just over $4 million while he had debts of over $12M. His NBA Championship ring even had to be auctioned off as a result. In 2013, Walker did announce he was debt free and is now an analyst for 120 Sports and the SEC Network.
3 Jamal Mashburn: $45 Million
Somehow Jamal Mashburn is always overlooked, both in the NBA world and as far as a success story following NBA retirement. Jamal Mashburn retired averaging 19.1 ppg in 11 seasons. Many seasons and eventually his career were cut short, but the former All-Star was able to find life after basketball. Mashburn has worked as an ESPN analyst and a number of business ventures. The former Kentucky Wildcat owns 34 Outback Steakhouse franchises, 37 Papa Johns, and numerous car dealerships across Kentucky. He is also a partner in Ol Memorial Stable. The former All-NBA performer just seems to continue to grow in the money making industry.
2 Allen Iverson: $1 Million
The saddest one to me personally is learning that Allen Iverson's financial situation has hit such a low point. The former NBA MVP made more than $154 million in salary during his playing career, not to mention all the endorsements that flew his way during his prime, none more so than Reebok. When it was talked about that Iverson was broke, there was always that Reebok trust fund that Iverson was set to receive in 2030. A smart retirement strategy, right? Well, it looks like Iverson will also lose that money. In an attempt to save his marriage, Iverson added clauses to the stipulations of the Reebok trust fund. Unfortunately, Tawana Iverson did in fact file for divorce in 2013. But Tawana did agree to give AI half of the $32 million coming out of the deal. Guess he can build on that in 13 years.
1 Michael Jordan: $1.2 Billion
No it is not surprising to see Michael Jordan on this list, but $1.2 billion sure is an eye popping sum of money. That is exactly what the greatest basketball player of all time's net worth is. Jordan earned just over $93 million in NBA salary. That included two years in which he made over $30 million per season. So it goes without saying that Jordan has grown his brand since his retirement(s). Jordan brings in $60 million annually from his Nike/Jordan brand royalties alone and it is estimated that he brings in upwards of $100 million per year after other business ventures and royalties.
MJ is not only the best basketball player ever on the court, but it looks like he has the financial game by a chokehold as well.