10 NBA Players Who Were Rich Before Making It Pro (And 5 Who Weren't)

Living the life of an NBA superstar is a dream to many, but it's also a dream that is achieved by very few. As of 2018, the National Basketball Association is made up of only 30 teams of 12 to 15 players each. As you can imagine, this makes one's chances of becoming an NBA player slim to none. Along with the money, comes the fame. When someone is famous, their personal and private lives become everyone's personal and private life. However the celebrity is perceived, be it good or bad, isn't looked at as an invasion of privacy because an invasion of privacy is kind of what a famous person signs up for. Since this is the case, as a celebrity, you are going to have to take all the positive feedback and mix it in with all the negative criticism you'll likely get on a daily basis.

Other than the positive compliments and all the harsh words, there's also a thing called assuming and us as human beings are all victims of it. Some of us assume that we look a lot worse than we actually do just because of that one snot-nose loser telling how ugly he thinks you are. Some of us assume the earth is flat, while others insist that it's round. Just this morning I assumed that my whole day would suck dirty, stinking, rotten raw eggs just because an important package didn't arrive on my doorstep. Then there are things like assuming someone is a lot poorer or a lot more wealthier than they really are. As you could have guessed by the title, that last sentence has something to do with this list.

15 Joakim Noah (Rich)

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Joakim Noah, whose parents are French tennis legend Yannick Noah and former Miss Sweden Cecilia Rodhe, may not be considered the greatest NBA basketball player since its existence, but that doesn't mean he flat-out sucks either. His 2012/2013 season with the Chicago Bulls is a perfect example of just how valuable he can be. During that season, he became the first Bulls center to play in an NBA All-Star game since the early '80s. It was also during this time that Noah tied a Chicago Bulls record for most blocks in a regular season game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Other than his 2012/2013 season, some of Noah's most memorable moments happened while he wasn't playing. A great example would be in the year 2009 when a frustrated Noah can be seen saying something to Lebron James while on the bench. Let's also not forget when Noah said that he wasn't a fan of Cleveland, stating that he's never heard anyone saying that they were going to Cleveland on vacation. FYI, this was the same interview he asks what was so good about Cleveland.

14 David Lee (Rich)

During the span of his career, David Lee became a two-time NBA All-Star, having replaced Allen Iverson in the 2010 NBA All-Star game. Let's also not forget that he won one NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. In perhaps one of his best performances, Lee didn't miss a single shot against the Miami Heat, scoring 24 points and going 11-for-11. He signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs in 2016. Then in January 2017, Lee scored a season-high with 16 rebounds and 10 points aiding the Spurs in their win over the Denver Nuggets. A couple of months later, he scored a second season-high with 18 points, helping pick up the win in a close game against the Indiana Pacers. in June, he became a free agent when he declined his player option. Then in November 2017, Lee announced his official retirement.

It's also safe to say that Lee, who grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis, definitely retired comfortably. As he was recently engaged to women's tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, he has no need to worry about going broke post-NBA, to say little of the millions he earned as an active player.

13 Carmelo Anthony (Poor)

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So far, Carmelo Anthony has yet to win the NBA finals, despite being considered one of the best. This statement can be said about many NBA superstars, both past, and present. Over the years, Anthony has been in his fair share of unique NBA moments, with one happening during a game with Kevin Garnett in which Garnett is alleged to have said that Anthony's wife tasted like honey nut Cheerios. Whatever that means. Regardless of what it was, the statement was enough to make Melo angry. During the game, Anthony told Garnett that he would see him outside. After the game, Anthony backed up his words and did just that. One would assume that whatever Garnett said to Anthony wasn't meant to be taken personally and was all in the name of un-sportsmanship and making sure Anthony was thrown off his game. Regardless of the reason, it was still bush league.

Like fellow 2003 draftee LeBron James, Anthony grew up poor, as his childhood was spent in the projects of Brooklyn and Baltimore, while his father died of cancer when Melo was just 10-years-old.

12 Grant Hill (Rich)

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During his tenure with the NBA, Grant Hill retired as a seven-time NBA All-Star. He was drafted third by the Detroit Pistons in the 1994 NBA draft. He became the first Pistons player to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award since Dave Bing in the 1966/1967 season. He played his last season with the Los Angeles Clippers, who won the Pacific Division for the first time in franchise history although they were defeated in the playoffs. After the 2012/2013 season, Grant Hill official announced his retirement from basketball. He would then join NBA TV as an analyst not long after that. Other than being an analyst, he is also part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks with Tony Ressler, Steven Prince, Rick Schnall, Sara Blakely and Jesse Itzler. During an interview with USA Today, Grant had stated that being an owner is different than what he thought it would be.

Like Joakim Noah, Grant Hill's father was a star athlete, but not in the NBA; Calvin Hill played wide receiver in the NFL from 1969 to 1981, and won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys in 1972.

11 Steph Curry (Rich)

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If you've followed Stephen Curry's career thus far, you'd know it's no secret that the guy gets a lot of hate. Some fans don't understand why this is as Curry seems like a humble well-rounded individual during interviews, despite growing up as the son of former NBA star Dell Curry. For every fan that says he gets hated on because of jealousy, there's another fan that says they don't like him because he gets too much attention, especially when the Golden State Warriors aren't a one-man show. Sure, Curry is an exceptional shooter, but where would he be without the help Kevin Durant, Draymond Green or Klay Thompson? Some fans feel that despite all of his teammates' contributions, he's the only one getting the credit. Last year, NBA fans had yet another reason to hate Steph Curry. It had nothing to do how much he does and doesn't do, though. Instead, it's because of his 200 million dollar contract with the Golden State Warriors.

10 Jimmy Butler (Poor)

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Although Jimmy Butler got off to a slow start, he has managed to become one the best players in the league. Heck, he was even given NBA's Most Improved Player award for the 2014/2015 season. He is a three-time NBA All-Star and someone you don't want leave open. His nickname is Jimmy Buckets, after all. Life before the NBA wasn't easy, for Butler to say the very least. He was kicked out the house by his mom because she apparently didn't like the look of him. With his dad already out of the picture before then, this left a teenaged Butler to look after himself. Things changed when Michelle Lambert decided to take him in so that he had a place to call home. Butler has stated that he doesn't hold grudges and still talks to his parents, which is probably something you won't hear out of a lot of people's mouths after they went through what he went through.

9 Steve Kerr (Rich)

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While some basketball fans think of Steve Kerr solely as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, there was a time when he was actually a player. As a matter of fact, before he retired and became a coach, he was a 5 time NBA Champion, having won two titles with the San Antonio Spurs and three with the Chicago Bulls. After helping the San Antonio Spurs defeat the New Jersey Nets in the 2003 NBA Finals, Kerr retired from Basketball and became an analyst for a while. After that, he became the head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Don't make any mistakes about it, just because Kerr is posted as "rich" on this list doesn't mean that his childhood was all sunshine and glitter. When Steve was just 18-years-old, his father Malcolm Kerr was murdered by the Islamic Jihad in the '80s during his time as president of the American University of Beirut.

8 Bill Laimbeer (Rich)

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Two-time NBA Champion Bill Laimbeer certainly wasn't shy about bending the rules during his tenure in the National Basketball Association. Since Laimbeer was playing during an era were getting into a melee every now and then was bound to happen on the court, I'd say that his tactics weren't as bad as some would make them out to be, at least for that era, they weren't. It was surprising, though, that a tough guy like Laimbeer actually grew up in a well-to-do part of Chicago.

After retiring in the early '90s, Laimbeer became the head coach of the Detroit Shock in the Women's National Basketball Association. Not long after that, he led the team to their first WNBA Championship in 2003. On a side note, Laimbeer has also been the head coach for the Las Vegas Aces as well as the New York Liberty. Other than the WNBA, Laimbeer has also found success in getting an assistant coaching position with the Minnesota Timberwolves, although he wanted to be a head coach instead.

7 Kevin Durant (Poor)

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As of 2018, NBA superstar Kevin Durant is regarded as one of the best basketball players in the world. He stands 6'9, weighs over 200 pounds of muscle, and in 2017, he won his first NBA championship when he and the Golden State Warriors were able to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers. When you factor in all the trials and hardships Durant he has been through, it would be pretty safe to assume that he is an inspiration for many aspiring ballplayers that come from poverty. Growing up in Washington, Durant was raised by his mother and grandmother, although, his dad eventually came back into the picture years later. Due to his families living situation, Durant spent most his young life perfecting his game in hopes of one day playing for the NBA. After a noteworthy stint with the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant made the jump to Golden State in 2016.

6 Tim Hardaway Jr. (Rich)

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This 6-foot-6 shooting guard, whose dad, Tim Sr., was a former All-Star point guard for Golden State and Miami, was drafted by the New York Knicks in the year 2013. His first game was against the Milwaukee Bucks where he scored 5 points, 2 assists and played for a total of 15 minutes. During a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hardaway scored a career-high 29 points and was nominated for Eastern Conference NBA Rookie of the Month for January. This 29-point career high would be matched when he help the Atlanta Hawks defeat the San Antonio Spurs, 114 to 112 in January of 2017. On October 29, 2017, Hardaway scored 34 points and aided the New York Knicks in defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the final score being 114 to 95. Hardaway would then score yet another career-high with 38 points and a victory over the Toronto Raptors late last year. In December, he was sidelined with an injury but returned after missing 20 games.

5 Lonzo Ball (Rich)

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It's not much of a secret that Lonzo Ball isn't doing too well in terms of shooting the basketball right now, but hey... at least he has reality TV as a backup plan, huh? OK, but seriously, let's look at the up and up as I tend to do most of the time. Ball hasn't been in the NBA for that long and sometimes for some players, it can take years for them to become something special. I can't help but think that part of the reason there is so much pressure on Lonzo to be great has to do with his father. LaVar Ball, who runs Big Baller Brand, seems to have quite a big mouth that has managed to get him in hot water more than one or two times, so when something like Lonzo getting benched for a quarter gets distributed to the public, it's way more of big deal than it should be due to the fact that you expect him to do so great because of LaVar's "stage fathering." So the question is, will Lonzo ever become anything more a good point guard with a bad shot? I'm sure he will, but no one knows for sure. Only time will tell.

4 LeBron James (Poor)

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As with any standout NBA ball player, LeBron James has his fair share of detractors. Some say it's because he milks too many fouls, others say it's because he outright flops... and manages to get the ref to call it foul in favor of him, despite how ridiculous and absurd it looks. Others, just plain don't like him for their own stupid reason. Still, much like Stephen Curry, for every detractor/hater, there's a die-hard King James fan not far behind waiting to defend him. Thier counter to all the hate is simple. Sure, LeBron James flops, but there are plenty of basketball stars who play way dirtier than James could ever hope or dream to. Some players that come to mind are Draymond Green, Ron Artest AKA Metta World Peace, Lance Stephenson, John Stockton, and even Kobe Bryant.

As for LeBron's upbringing, he's a classic rags-to-riches story, having grown up raised by a single mother and moving several times as a child in the poor side of Akron, Ohio.

3 Kobe Bryant (Rich)

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And we have another second-generation player here – Kobe Bryant, whose dad Joe played in the NBA in the 1970s. There isn't much that one can say about Kobe that hasn't already been said. During his career, he played solely for the Los Angeles Lakers and led them to five NBA Championships. This isn't counting the fact that Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets before being traded to the Lakers as he never played for the team. Sure, he knew how to play dirty when the time called for it, sure, he talked some trash while trying to act like he was giving you a compliment after he dunked on you and sure, as with any legendary NBA player, he has his detractors and people who just don't like him. None of this prevents or taints the fact that Bryant's career is legendary. His last game before his retirement was against the Utah Jazz. Not only did the Lakers win, but Bryant outscored the entire Jazz team in the final quarter.

2 Austin Rivers (Rich)

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Austin Rivers began his NBA career as the 10th overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft and chose to wear the same jersey number as his father, Doc Rivers, who is the current head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. He was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans and was quoted as saying, "I want to be like my dad, only better". After playing a few seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and after getting traded to the Boston Celtics for a whopping three days, Austin Rivers made history by becoming the first player to play for his father. Shortly after, Rivers scored a career-high 28 points and aided the Los Angelos Clippers defeat the Sacramento Kings. In December 2017, Rivers set a new career high with 38 points. Despite his contribution, the Clippers were defeated that night against the Memphis Grizzlies with the final score being 115 to 112.

1 Allen Iverson (Poor)

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During the early 2000s, Allen Iverson was considered to be on the same level as the likes of Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and other NBA superstars from that time period. In 2001, Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals. Although the Lakers won the series four games to one, overall this was one of Iverson's best seasons. His life before playing in the NBA wasn't pretty and during his run, he was often criticised and painted in a bad light due to his past. Despite this, Iverson never seemed to let the hate bother him much as he has been known for keeping his cool during interviews. (Save for that infamous "Practice" rant, of course.) Regardless of what you think of him, Iverson is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, even if he has missed a few scrimmage games or suicide drills here and there.

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