When you think of professional athletes, you think of success and endless wealth. That is not always the case for some former NBA stars as money management is important in a career that on average lasts 4.8 years. Whether it be the expensive lifestyle or need for superficial purchases, young men and a lot of money can lead to regrettable decisions.
To the average person, making $1 million dollars could end all their financial problems and change their lives. What does not get considered in that equation is the possible downside that comes with so much success at such a young age. Does money truly make you happy? That is a question that almost everyone is willing to find out themselves.
Working a regular full time job is considered a respectable way of life as an American. The American dream is considered having the opportunity to find success through hard work and determination. That dream is a reality for professional athletes who often times come from working class families. Their personal success often leads to pressure from friends and family members all looking to share the fruits from their labor. The responsibility of carrying that burden can be heavy and some young athletes are never ready for that pressure.
It could be a lack of talent, poor decision-making or injuries but some stories do not have as good an ending as the beginning. Here we'll look at 8 NBA players who now work regular jobs and also 7 other former players who are desperate for money.
15 Working Nine To Five: Vin Baker
Vin Baker was selected in the 1993 NBA draft and played 13 seasons in the NBA. The four-time all star earned north of $100 million dollars in his playing career. Baker struggled with drinking which he thinks lead to his downward spiral. In an interview with Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, Baker was quoted saying "When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you’re at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen. I lost a fortune. I had a great talent and lost it".
In 2003, Baker was being traded to the Boston Celtics. During a routine physical exam doctors found signs of liver damage directly related to Baker's drinking problems. Two years later Baker's career was over. After blowing through his fortune, Baker is enjoying a more simple life in sobriety as he now manages a Starbucks in Connecticut as well as a summer camp in Massachusetts.
14 Desperate For Money: Delonte West
Back in 2003, Delonte West was on one of the best basketball teams in the NCAA. At St. Josephs, West was teammates with future NBA All-Star Jameer Nelson and led his team to an undefeated regular season and Elite 8 appearance. In 2004 the Boston Celtics drafted Delonte West with the 24th pick. His most impactful seasons were with the Cleveland Cavaliers starting alongside LeBron James.
In 2009, West was pulled over driving a motorcycle where officers found him to have weapons inside of a guitar case. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder but denied the diagnosis. A photo went viral in 2016 that alleged West of panhandling in Maryland. Rumours began to swirl about his possible homelessness. He denied the claim and stated he was merely helping out another who indeed was homeless. In 2016, West attempted a comeback in the NBA that fell short.
13 Working Nine To Five: Darko Milicic
In the 2003 draft, Darko Milicic was selected one spot behind LeBron James and ahead of would be all-stars Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Milicic did find himself as the first champion out of the bunch as a part of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons. During his 10-year career, Darko earned $52 million on the court. After leaving the NBA, Milicic briefly attempted playing professionally in his native country of Serbia as well as trying kickboxing. ESPN's Sam Borden profiled Milicic for ESPN.com and "E:60" and revealed that Milicic is now an apple farmer in Serbia. While his athletic career has been widely considered a disappointment, he has found success in commercial farming. His 125 acre farm exports apples to Russia, Dubai and some countries in Africa. After bouncing from team to team in the NBA, Darko Milicic is now maintaining a steady lifestyle out on the farm.
12 Desperate For Money: Eddy Curry
Prior to the implementation of the "one and done" rule, Eddy Curry was selected by the Chicago Bulls in 2001 directly from high school. The 11-year pro never lived up to the immense hype surrounding him as a promising McDonald's High School All-American. When asked about his biggest regret, he mentioned not attending college and acquiring a degree. In 2009, Curry was in the headlines as his ex-wife and infant daughter were found slain in Chicago.
At the time Curry and ex-wife Nova Henry were in the midst of a custody case over the young child. Henry's lawyer representing her in the case later was found guilty of all charges stemming from the two murders. Despite earning over $70 million playing professionally, Curry faulted on a $570,000 loan that carried an 85% interest rate. He also lost his Chicago mansion to foreclosure in 2012. When asked about what led to his money trouble he mentioned poor money management as well as a poor job done by his personal accountant.
11 Working Nine To Five: Gilbert Arenas
In the second round of the 2001 NBA draft, Gilbert Arenas was picked 31st. Not highly regarded coming out of the University of Arizona, Arenas surpassed expectations by a mile. His best season as a pro was during the 2005-06 season where he averaged 29 point and 6 assists. A highly successful NBA career helped Arenas earn over $163 million dollars. In January 2010, Arenas and then teammate Jarvis Crittenton had an incident in the locker room where both players possessed weapons.
Gilbert Arenas was alleged to have four and went on record saying he asked Crittenton to choose which one he wanted to shoot Arenas with after threatening to do so. Jarvis Crittenton then pulled out his own loaded weapon and pointed it in the direction of Arenas. Arenas was later traded to the Memphis Grizzlies before being out of the league three years later. Nowadays, Gilbert Arenas is working for Complex on a sports show on YouTube.
10 Desperate For Money: Kenny Anderson
After a successful college career at Georgia Tech, Kenny Anderson was drafted second by the New Jersey Nets. Anderson played 14 years in the NBA and was selected to the NBA All-Star team during the 1994 season. Despite earning $63 million dollars in his 14 seasons, Anderson filed for bankruptcy in 2005. In a documentary titled Mr. Chibbs, Anderson divulged being molested as a child as well as using alcohol to escape his demons.
In 2013, while working as a high school basketball coach in Florida, Kenny Anderson was arrested and charged with a DUI. He would be fired from the job which served as a wake up call. Today, Anderson is running basketball clinics and camps in Florida along with coaching travel league basketball. Anderson wants to get another chance at coaching high school to use his mishaps to teach children not to go down the same destructive past as he did.
9 Working Nine To Five: Brandon Roy
In the 2006 NBA draft, Brandon Roy was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves and traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. Brandon Roy was the rookie of the year and was selected to three All-Star games. During the 2008 season, Roy underwent a procedure to remove cartilage from his knee that had been problematic. His play led the Blazers to sign Roy to a $82 million dollar contract for five-years in 2009. Over the next three years, Brandon Roy had several knee injuries. Before the lock out season in 2011, Roy abruptly announced his retirement.
After meeting with a doctor on the status of his knees, he was diagnosed with degenerative knee issues that could affect his ability to walk. Post retirement, Roy has taken on a job as a high school basketball coach in Washington. As a high school coach, Brandon Roy was honored as the 2017 Naismith high school coach of the year.
8 Desperate For Money: Latrell Sprewell
Sprewell was a four time NBA All-Star and voted All-NBA first team in 1994. In 1997, Sprewell was involved in an altercation during practice with then head coach P.J. Carlesimo. After unwanted criticism, Sprewell choked the coach for reportedly "7 to 10 seconds." He would go on to shower before returning to practice where he punched the former coach. This lead to a 68 game suspension without pay from NBA commissioner David Stern.
Before the 2002-03 season, Sprewell went to training camp with an unreported broken hand. This move led the Knicks to fine Sprewell a record $250,000. At the start of the 2005-06 season, Sprewell was offered a league minimum contract that he felt was insulting. In 2007, Sprewell's yacht was repossessed by federal marshals for nonpayment. In 2008, his Milwaukee mansion would go into foreclosure. A mansion in Westchester, New York also owned by Sprewell was placed into foreclosure before a third party's attorney dismissed the motion in 2009.
7 Working Nine To Five: Jay Williams
At Duke University, Jay Williams was the ACC Freshman of the year and National Freshman of the year by the Sporting News. A successful sophomore campaign helped Williams lead Duke to the 2011 NCAA Nation Championship title. He entered the NBA draft that summer and was selected second by the Chicago Bulls. Williams had one of the most devastating stories as a once promising star that lost it all. In June 2003, Williams was involved in a single car motorcycle accident on the north side of Chicago.
Jay Williams was not licensed in Illinois at the time and broke a clause in his contract by riding a motor bike. The Chicago Bulls were not contractually obligated to pay Williams any money but paid him $3 million dollar before releasing him from the team. Later he went on telling his story around the country as a motivational speaker. You can find Williams on ESPN as a college basketball analyst, broadcaster and the Spokesperson of Visions Federal Credit Union.
6 Desperate For Money: Antoine Walker
Drafted sixth in 1996 by the Boston Celtics, Antoine Walker led the team in scoring (17.5) and rebounding (9.0). Walker was a three time NBA All-Star and won a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. The once heralded Forward was charged with three felony counts of writing bad checks in 2009 from gambling debts in Las Vegas casinos. In his 13 year career, Walker made north of $108 million dollars. In 2010, Walker filed for bankruptcy with $4.3 million in assets and $12.7 million in debt. By 2013, Walker had paid off his debts and announced he was debt free. Antoine Walker partnered with Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment to teach financial literacy to NBA rookies. He had an affinity for expensive cars and would keep 6 or 7 vehicles at a time.
5 Working Nine To Five: Adam Morrison
Back in 2006, Adam Morrison was one of the best players in NCAA basketball. Morrison won the award for National Player of the Year along with fellow college standout J.J. Reddick of Duke University. Morrison was drafted third in the NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. At the time, Michael Jordan had received the title of Manager of Basketball Operations and selected Morrison to jump start his second career. In 2007, Morrison suffered an ACL tear that would cost him the entire season.
Morrison would go on to win two NBA championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers but saw little playing time as a reserve. Retiring from the league in 2012, Morrison never found the success professionally that he did collegiately. In 2013, Morrison returned to Gonzaga to finish his undergraduate degree in Sports Management. That school year he joined the basketball coaching staff as a student assistant. The following season he became an assistant video coordinator with Gonzaga.
4 Desperate For Money: Greg Oden
After a standout freshman season for Ohio State the 7 foot Center was selected first in the NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of eventual superstar Kevin Durant. Three months after being drafted, Oden would undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and miss his entire rookie season. After two more injury riddled seasons, Oden was released. He would sign with the Miami Heat in 2013 after being out of the NBA for three years. Oden only played 23 games that season which would be the last of his NBA career.
Once compared to Celtics legend Bill Russell, injuries are a main reason many consider Oden one of the biggest busts in NBA history. These days, Greg Oden is serving as a student manager for the Ohio State men's basketball team. In February, Oden announced he would attempt a comeback in the "Big 3" league, a 3 on 3 half court league for retired NBA veterans.
3 Working Nine To Five: Adrian Dantley
In 1976 Adrian Dantley was drafted into the NBA sixth by the Buffalo Braves, a team that no longer exists. At season's end, Dantley was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year. Dantley played 15 seasons in the NBA including named to the All-Star team 6X. His best years as a pro came with the Utah Jazz from 1979 to 1986. The Utah Jazz went on to retire the number of Dantley, an honor of the highest regard. One of the most successful players in the history of the NBA, Dantley now works part-time as a crossing guard for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. Making $14,000 per year, Dantley is enjoying his time helping others and being involved with the youth. He went on to say he doesn't see the big deal about his post NBA career choice as he has saved two lives, despite nearly being hit by a car on a few occasions.
2 Desperate For Money: Derrick Coleman
Like others on this list, Derrick Coleman had a successful NCAA career at Syracuse University from 1986-1990. He received All-American honors in 1990 as well as being named Player of the Year. That successful senior season resulted in Coleman being drafted first in the 1990 NBA Draft. As a rookie in 1991, he was named rookie of the year after averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds. Although Coleman was productive in his 15 seasons, some thought he never reached his full potential.
With his $87 million career earnings, Coleman invested in the real estate market in Detroit to improve the struggling communities. Due to the state of the economy, Coleman's investments did not offer much of a return. In 2010, Coleman would file for bankruptcy. During the Flint water crisis in 2016, Coleman spent much of his time going door to door delivering fresh water to those in need.
1 Working Nine To Five: Shandon Anderson
With the 54th pick of the NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz selected Shandon Anderson. Anderson was a marginal NBA player averaging 7.8 points per game. During his 10-year career, Shandon Anderson won the NBA championship in 2006 with the Miami Heat. After accomplishing the highest feat in the league, Anderson announced his retirement. During his playing days, he began living a vegetarian lifestyle.
Post-retirement he noticed a lack of restaurants that catered to a vegan based diet. Anderson took it upon himself to help make an impact in that space and attended culinary school in both California and New York. Inspired by arts, he thought of ways to combine arts and food, thus the concept of his "Drink Art" vegan restaurant. Combining Thai and vegan food is what separates his restaurant from its competition. Located in Atlanta Georgia, Shandon Anderson hopes to expand his vision to other locations for both vegans and those who have never experienced the cuisine.
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