Many NBA players become to comfortable with the lavish lifestyle their are accustomed to while in the league. Money management is a necesary precaution while playing professional sports, but many players still end up hitting rock bottom at some point.
Whether it was money management, shady agents, or drug habits, some players are not able to survive once they are no longer playing. Many retired athletes have to find jobs somewhere that is embarrassing, like Allen Iverson working at a McDonald's just a few years after his exit.
Other players are able to handle their departure from the NBA very differently, finding success in basketball leagues overseas. Those who aren't able to find teams in the NBA suddenly lose their income, which can spell disaster for players who cannot make the cut. Sometimes, we are able to see success stories from those players who lose their NBA careers, and find new ones as stars in other leagues.
Some players can adjust, some cannot, here is a list of ten players who found themselves at their lowest point after the NBA, and a list of five players who were able to find their niche playing somewhere else to avoid being broke.
15 Rock Bottom: Larry Johnson
How could someone of Larry Johnson's stature end up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy? Like many former NBA players, Johnson owed thousands of dollars to the mother of one of his kids. Johnson was caught in a messy court case in which he was claimed to owe over $120,000 in child support payments.
The former star also had to give up rights to his million dollar home in California as part of settling the lawsuit outside of court. Protecting the home and making sure it did end up in anyone else's hand besides the mother of his child was important for Johnson, and the key reason he filed for bankruptcy. The question now is, did Johnson actually hit rock bottom? His baby mama claims that "Grandmama" has over 26 million dollars hidden in a private account.
14 Rock Bottom: Corie Blount
Corie Blount had one of the longest careers on this list, playing for over ten seasons for six different teams. With the money earned from his playing days, it is interesting that Blount ended up being arrested for intent on distributing nearly 29 pounds of marijuana.
Blount claims that there was zero chance that he was attempting to sell the drugs, claiming that it was all for personal use between friends at a birthday party. A judge that idea was too far fetched, and Blount was to serve one year in jail following his arrest. After serving his time, Blount still claims that there was no intent on selling the 29 pounds he had shipped to his house.
Nowadays, he has not made any recent headlines, but there is a YouTube channel using his name and pictures. On this channel, you can see a highlight reel of his greatest plays set to Tupac's "All Eyez on Me."
13 Star: Michael Ray Richardson
Ray Richardson could have seen himself hit rock bottom, especially after receiving a ban from the NBA in 1986. Instead of letting that get him down and out, he was able to find success in Europe, where he played 14 seasons. In those seasons, Richardson was able to land on a spot on two championship teams across Europe.
Despite being reinstated into the NBA and allowed to sign with any team interested, Richardson stayed overseas due to his newfound success. In 2004, while coaching a team in the CBA, he was suspended for possible racist remarks and homophobic slurs used against a heckler. He stopped coaching in 2013-14 due to wanting to find a job closer to his home.
Richardson may seem like a player who lost it all, but was able to carve out a spot overseas and be a beloved player somewhere other than the NBA.
12 Rock Bottom: Joe Pace
Before NBA contracts were absolutely absurd, their was a time where role players did not break the bank for their skills. Joe Pace had the odds stacked against him from the start, being a late second round pick in the 1976 draft. He was able to play a role on a Washington Bullets team that won a title, and played in nine playoff games down the stretch.
Unfortunately, Pace found himself out of the NBA after just two seasons, and could not latch on to a team overseas. His situation after the NBA was documented in a piece in 2008, stating how Pace is currently living on the streets of Seattle. Walking up and riding buses to pass the time was not the ideal outcome for Pace's playing career, as his story is a cautionary tale for players who find themselves on an NBA roster for a short period of time.
11 Rock Bottom: Robert Swift
Robert Swift's story is just depressing. The Sonics were desperate for a big man in the early 2000s, and took a gamble on Swift coming out of high school. After two disappointing seasons, Swift still was able to garner a starting role, but tore his ACL one minute into a preseason game.
From there, it was all downhill. Two seasons after his injury he was out of the league and developed a drug addiction after his NBA career was over. He was found squatting in his foreclosed million dollar home and living with a drug dealer who was caught having over 26 firearms in his apartment. His spiral was the highlight of a Sports Illustrated article that brought to light some of the worst stories a former NBA player has ever had. As of last year, Swift had not seen his son in over two years, and had no money from any of his NBA contracts.
10 Star: Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette simply did not pan out in the NBA. His need to be ball dominate in order to be a successful shooter did not translate in the highest level of competition. Luckily, he has been able to find success overseas, now playing in China. In the 2016-2017 season, the former BYU standout averaged 37.6 points per game playing overseas and is now beloved playing in China. Fredette is eyeing and NBA return despite his success, and his shooting touch seems to still be there, as we see in a video released in June where he sank 92/100 three pointers to raise money for charity. We will see what happens to the former 10th overall pick as he attempts a comeback, but for the foreseeable future he will continue to b a star in China.
9 Rock Bottom: Jason Caffey
Is there any better situation for a late first rounder in the mid '90s then getting drafted by the Chicago Bulls? Jason Caffey earned two rings doing very little during his first two years, and would have obtained a third had he not been traded during the 1998 season.
He was able to stay in the league for nine seasons, but the money earned during his NBA days vanished quickly having ten children with a variety of women. Caffey was buried in child support payments, and has not been able to recover. He served eight days in jail due to not paying payments for just one of his children, and was denied after filing for bankruptcy due to his outstanding payments due to the mother's of his children. Caffey may have lived like a rockstar during his tenure in the NBA, especially after winning two championships at a young age, but now is not going to be able to get himself out of debt for the foreseeable future.
8 Rock Bottom: Delonte West
Delonte West almost hit his lowest point while in the NBA as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This was when he was faced with a weapons charge that had a maximum sentence of nine years hanging over his head during the 2008-09 season that could have stopped his career dead in its tracks.
Instead, West was able to eluded jail time, but not able to get away from being in a worse place after his career was over. Last year, he was found in a Jack in the Box wearing a hospital gown and no shoes while asleep. All these incidents have made one thing clear, West has been a victim of his bipolar disorder in more drastic ways than anyone could imagine.
Right now, it looks like West is in the middle of the hardest part of his life, after living in a home that did not having any hot water for quite some time. Hopefully West is able to get back on his feet, but things do not look good for the former NBA role player as of right now.
7 Star: Yi Jianlian
If you remember anything about Yi Jianlian's hype train before being drafted, then it is no surprise that his NBA career did not pan out. Jianlian was posting up a chair and NBA general managers fell for him as a prospect.When he got to the NBA, Jianlian didn't exactly live up to lofty expectations. After five disappointment seasons, he found himself out of the league. He then went back to the CBA and was able to become a star. Leading the Guangdong Southern Tigers for a championship his first season back, Jianlian was able to capture his fourth CBA title. Since his return back to China, he has averaged no less than 23.5 points per game and has won MVP for the last four seasons. Even though Jianlian couldn't make an NBA roster, he is still a star in his home country.
6 Rock Bottom: Ben Wallace
Even if he had the best defense in the court room, nothing could have kept former defensive player of the year Ben Wallace from seeing jail time in 2014. He fled the scene of a car crash he was involved in, as Wallace crashed into a fence. In frustration, Wallace took nearby pieces of wood to smash them against the fence, destroying whatever was left of it. This was not the first time Wallace's driving has got him in trouble, as he was sentenced for a DUI and possession of fire arms charges in 2011. Financially, it looks like Wallace is still doing well for himself, but his history of arrests may catch up with the former champion and could land himself in even more trouble if he continues to have run in with police.
5 Rock Bottom: Antoine Walker
Antoine Walker made nearly $110 million throughout his career, and has lost all of it. Walker got used to living a lifestyle meant for billionaires, not NBA players. Famously never wearing the same designer suit twice, Walker began to burn through his money.
Walker tried to set himself up for the future while still in the league however, but did so irresponsibly. He reportedly purchased over 140 different properties in Chicago, hoping to see a return on the investment someday. What happened instead was the housing market going to shambles, and Walker seeing most of his money gone quickly.
After his bankruptcy case being finished in 2012, Walker has been very careful with his money, and is trying to be a cautionary tale and voice for young NBA players in regards to financial responsibility.
4 Star: Qyntel Woods
Qyntel Woods was the perfect role player for the "Jail Blazers" in the early 2000's. Not because of his actions on the court, but rather his bone head decisions while not playing. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to first degree animal abuse due to his involvement in staged dog fights. Woods was kicked off the team, and was not given the full amount of his salary he was due for the final year of his contract.
Woods was able to latch on to various teams in Europe though, being known overseas as "Polish LeBron." There, he was able to garner three titles, and once won regular season MVP. He took his polish team, Asseco Prokom to the Euroleague quarterfinals, something a team from Poland had never done before. His NBA career may have not turned out the way it should have, but Woods still made a career out of basketball and is adored by European fans.
3 Rock Bottom: Darius Miles
Another former "Jail Blazer" makes this list, but this time it does not have as happy of an ending. Darius Miles has near $280,000 dollars in debt that is unsettled, mostly due to business debts according to him.
He had to ask for a court to allow him to sell personal items in order to pay off creditors, and did so in June 2017, selling nearly everything he owned. A signed LeBron jersey, gone. VHS players, gone. In total, Miles was able to earn about $12,000, barely scratching the surface on what he owes. Last year, Darius filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is looking for a fresh start in terms of his financial situation.
Miles made about $60 million during his nine year career in the NBA, but the fact that his career ended so suddenly due to knee injuries did not help his money woes, and multimedia was playing catch up with past debts.
2 Rock Bottom: Lamar Odom
This is by far the quickest transformation on this list. Within the last decade LaMar Odom was collecting championship rings with the Lakers, and now his life seems to be in a spiral. Apparently Odom is still burning through cash like he is still getting paid by Los Angeles, and has creating some awful spending habits.
The biggest piece of evidence that Odom has hit his lowest point was in October 2015, where he was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel. TMZ reported that Odom was fighting for his life in a nearby hospital but had machines assist him in breathing.
The cause of this downward spiral was his divorce with Khole Kardashian, claiming that it is one of the worst things he has ever had to go through. Hopefully we can see Odom turn around in the next few years.
1 Star: Stephon Marbury
Things could have ended poorly for the former NBA all-star after being replaced by Chris Duhon as the starting point guard for the Knicks in 2009. Instead, Stephon Marbury found himself playing in China, where he not only has found success, he just got a statue of himself made outside of the Beijing Ducks stadium.
Marbury has surpassed the stardom he had in the NBA by a mile in China, having won three championships for the Ducks since joining the team in 2011. He is regarded the greatest foreign player to ever play in the Chinese Basketball Association. Marbury has been an idol for many people in his new country, and is always seen helping at local events.
At the age of 40, Marbury looks to be heading towards retirement, but his legacy will seemingly live on forever now that Beijing Duck fans will be able to see him holding a CBA trophy over his head every time they enter the arena.
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