A recent study about NBA stars' spending came out with some pretty interesting and controversial claims, one of which was that the average ballers spends about $42k per month. That’s more than the average American makes in year. Here’s something that shouldn’t surprise you: pro athletes spend a ton of money. Especially when it comes to NBA players, as the new CBA has set a tone for players to earn astronomical contracts and inevitably spend that cheddar.
In case you aren’t watching the HBO hit show “Ballers”, it should be known that the luxurious purchases that athletes make sometimes pale in comparison with the downright disregard for the legal tender by using it as confetti. Yes: making it rain is a real thing outside of movies and music videos, and the athletes that do it from the NBA are about to be put on blast... of course, it wouldn’t be a roast of mismanaged money without a few cracks on the absolute cheapest NBA players to ever grace the court. The buck stops here: 10 NBA stars who spend way too much and 5 that are ridiculously cheap!
15 Spends Too Much: James Harden
When James Harden was traded to the Rockets in one one of the most historically ill-fated trades ever, he was pretty excited about the change of scenery... so excited, he spent enough money at a local Houston exotic dance club that they “retired his jersey” - sending a banner with his name and jersey number into the rafters where it still sits today. It’s one thing to be a basketball legend, but to be a legend among exotic dancers takes a special brand of philanthropy mixed with a love for women. He must have made more than a few new friends that night! Bravo, Mr. Harden.
14 Spends Too Much: Charles Barkley
No... he certainly wasn’t. From blowing off NBA All Star weekend events, to spitting on a little girl court side (it’s a long story...), Barkley had his fair share of missteps during his Hall of Fame NBA career. But the real hurt for Barkley isn’t the public perception, but his own private losses that he has suffered financially. The poison for Sir Charles was gambling. Supposedly he had lost as much as $30 million in Vegas. He went as far as to claim that he needs to learn to keep it in check by knowing to stop playing after losing $200,000... you know, a modest amount. Okay, so even if Barkley’s light day of gambling eclipses most people’s yearly salaries, at least he has gotten his habit under control in his older and wiser years. These days his biggest worries are getting roasted by LeBron.
13 Ridiculously Cheap: LeBron James
If anyone has a chance of actually becoming a billionaire of current athletes, it might be LeBron James. Sure, he has delved into some of the luxuries that the uncontested king of the basketball world deserves, but it is the little things that proves his - let’s call it “frugal” - financial mindset. Bron even took some heat recently for making his teammates suffer through the commercials of his free Pandora account. Yes- he insists on DJing workouts and the pre-game locker room, but refuses to shell out some extra dough for a premium account. For a guy who is worth about $275 million, that’s pretty lame. We're sure his teammates are annoyed with listening to commercials, but who is going to tell LeBron James to change?
12 Spends Too Much: Gilbert Arenas
For former super-star Washington guard Gilbert Arenas, zero is a significant number in his career. Zero people believed in him, zero people thought he could get drafted, stick with a roster, start, be an all-star, etc... but the number zero also should resonate with Gilbert because of the amount of money he has to show after it all. It’s true: after unexpectedly coming into more than $100 million, by spending lavish amounts on luxuries no one could ever justify, including $8000 on a Mercedes-Benz electric toy car, a ridiculous $60,000 train set (hey! at least he guy treats his kids right!) and ridiculous car, home and lifestyle upkeep bills.
11 Spends Too Much: Deshawn Stevenson
For a guy who averaged a mere seven points per game in his career, Stevenson was pretty lucky to walk away after thirteen NBA seasons with a championship ring with Dallas in 2011, and nearly $10 million in career earnings. Too bad he didn’t treat his friends to some of that cheddar. His guests did however, get the luxury of using his in-home ATM machine that he set up and paid a convenience fee for every time he or any of his friends and family needed cash. While the bank would send a representative periodically to refill the ATM, this is certainly the most unique way an NBA player has spend his hard earned salary!
10 Ridiculously Cheap: Carmelo Anthony
Despite some strange purchases from 10 time All Star Carmelo Anthony, including a camel to keep as a pet, the story goes that Melo still honors his tradition of cutting coupons in the kitchen on Sundays, looking for the best deals on everything from electronics to groceries. While there are a slew of popular apps today that search the internet for you, finding the best deals on anything you want to purchase and applying those deal to your shopping cart, Carmelo claims that despite the wealth he has accumulated from playing basketball, he still prefers to honor his roots and clip those coupons! It's too bad the Knicks couldn't get a deal done with the Clippers this summer, Melo could've been their mascot!
9 Spends Too Much: John Wall
True story: John Wall “made it rain” in a Dalllas exotic dance club back in 2015, dropping a cool $47 thousand in one romantic evening. So it goes, Wall knows how to dish it both on and off the court! And why not? After all, the 27 year old has cleared $70 million in his seven seasons, and he just signed a 4 year $170 million contract that will take him to the middle of his prime. For him, 47k at a club is like treating yourself to a Saturday night dinner at a steakhouse for the average earner! I wonder if he can top his record now that he has that big new contract...
8 Spends Too Much: Latrell Sprewell
Somehow the famed bad boy wing of the 90s Latrell Sprewell blew his entire career earnings of approximately $100 million before his 40th birthday. Yeah, it got ugly quick. While he was famous for claiming in contract negotiations “I got a family to feed”, the ex-star now may only be recognizable to today’s youth in his role in a commercial where he plays himself, seemingly having hit rock bottom in a diner late at night, telling a kid that she doesn’t want to end up like him. Yikes! What a sad, sad fall from grace! It just goes to show that having a poor attitude can cost you your career, and when you spend like he did that spells disaster.
7 Ridiculously Cheap: Andre Roberson
It really doesn’t get more cheap than this. After leaving an Austin bar where he spent $487 on some bottle service with an entourage, Roberson left an offensive thirteen dollar tip... that’s just about 2%! For a guy who famously air-balls free throws, including a pair of back to back air balls this season, maybe he got a little used to the concept of free... like free service? Oh by the way, the defensive stopper just signed a $30 million contract this summer. Brutal. The waitress was quick to share the story, and Roberson has not really been able to live it down.
6 Spends Too Much: Scottie Pippen
For a guy who has made over $120 million dollars playing basketball and with an elite signature sneaker line, Pippen sure knows how to spend it! Amongst some of his dumber purchases are a $4 million jet that never took flight, yachts, mansions, cars, and of course a $4 million apology ring for his now ex-wife. Ouch. Well, it can’t be all that bad being Scottie Pippen even if he had almost spent himself into the poorhouse time after time. While he knew how to manage playing second fiddle to Michael Jordan en-route to six championship rings, one thing he certainly didn’t know how to manage was his money.
5 Spends Too Much: Dennis Rodman
Another member of the Bulls dynasty in the 90s who simply can’t keep the spending under control. Well, honestly, if you look at Dennis Rodman, he doesn’t exactly strike you as the type to be fiscally responsible, being sure to diversify his funds into stocks, bonds and mutual funds. No, no, no. Rodman was exactly what he looked like: an insanely talented part rebound machine, part playboy, and part loose cannon. Even to this day he is blowing through money, despite having come pretty close to broke several times. It’s true: spotting Dennis Rodman in strip clubs in Vegas throwing around racks of hundreds is about as common as spotting Justin Beiber speeding through residential neighborhoods in Hollywood. As the closest thing we have to a diplomat for American relations with North Korea, it’s safe to say we are screwed.
4 Ridiculously Cheap: Draymond Green
Look: Draymond is certainly one of the best players in today’s league (although unfortunately not even the second best on his own team), but despite that, he said in a recent interview that he plans on becoming a billionaire by the time he is 40 years old. Just to put this ridiculous claim into context, Kobe Bryant is worth roughly $350 Million and he is Kobe Bryant. Unless you are the man behind the Jumpman logo, no NBA player is worth a billion dollars. So, with all due respect, if Dray wants to be a billionaire by 40, he is going to have to start saving his money and soon. That has got to be one of the least-fun entourages to hang with!
3 Spends Too Much: David Lee
When the current Warriors won their first ring back in 2015, most of their core stars were underpaid due to their quick rise to stardom. However, there was one guy on that roster who was still riding high on his prime years deal: David Lee. In his bench role that year, he earned $15 million bucks! So what did he do to show his gratitude to his rookie scale buddies? He took the whole darn team to Vegas! Yes, that’s right. In an interview, Andrew Bogut was quick to point out that David Lee paid for the entire after party: steakhouse until 5 AM, chartered plane to Vegas, and everything else in between— you don’t need much imagination to fill in the details!
2 Spends Too Much: Allen Iverson
No one can have a greatest guards of all time debate without at least bringing up Iverson’s legacy. How a six foot nothing kid who never worked out brought a bare 76ers roster to the Finals, complete with cross overs and put back dunks over seven footers, is still a bit of a puzzle to everyone. But as rich as AI’s legacy is, he almost spent all his money before declaring bankruptcy and fixing his course. The culprit? Entourage! If just Iverson wanted to live a life fit for a king, or even his nearest family and friends, he would have been fine. But in the end, it was his generosity towards his extended entourage, and his ridiculous habits such as buying new cars when he forgot where he parked his, and leaving garbage bags of cash around haphazardly, that left the extremely well compensated legend pretty close to broke!
1 Ridiculously Cheap: Kawhi Leonard
A 1997 Chevy Tahoe. Yes, seriously. That is what Kawhi Leonard, arguably the third best player in the NBA, drives on a daily basis. Despite being worth nearly $35 million, with a lot more money to be earned in his career, Leonard is well known to be a coupon clipper. It kind of makes sense if you think about it. The guy has to be the most calm and unexcitable super-star ever, and that demeanor doesn’t exactly lend itself to a wild life of spending sprees. Nonetheless, Leonard is no doubt the most frugal superstar in the NBA today, and possibly ever.
There you have it: the cheapest and most ridiculously extravagant spenders in the NBA. Realistically, a lot of people would indulge in at least some of the luxuries that come with giant contracts, but when it comes to the types of over-the-top items (and services!) purchased by ballers, it is a pretty careless way to lose a fortune that most would give anything to have. So despite how cheap some of these athletes may appear to be, it is still pretty respectable that at least they are trying to hang on to their cash!