The life of a professional athlete comes with many blessings, including significant amounts of money. I am talking so much money that, in a lifetime, most people would not be able to spend it. For perspective, remember that many NBA players will make more money in one year than many people do their entire lives.
However, people cannot be professional athletes their whole lives, as "Father Time" always wins the battle. Therefore, it is always interesting to see how these retired NBA players end up financially. Those that are not prepared to make the next transition in their lives (and based on statistics, there are a lot of these kinds of players) usually end up broke. There could be a number of reasons for this, including not having a financial adviser, trying to take care of too many people, and just spending money on stupid, unnecessary things. Others, however, are ready for this transition and go on to use their earnings from their playing days for new careers such as broadcasting, opening a business, or investing in a company. As result, these players make even more money than they did in their playing days.
Overall, it appears there is a much higher amount of retired players that go broke compared to players that get wealthier. However, this article will show you that there are also success stories and that not all athletes are helpless away from the game.
So let us take a look at 10 NBA players that got wealthy and 10 NBA players that went broke after retirement.
20 Rich - Vinnie Johnson
There is something about former NBA players from Detroit that they seem to find great success in business. Vinnie Johnson was known for his X-factor ability during his 6th man days with the Detroit Pistons. After he retired, Johnson founded his own company, the Piston Group. With this, he created hundreds of jobs in the Detroit area. His work for the automotive supply has created as much prestige and success for him as his play in basketball did. Johnson's company has been rated among the best minority-owned companies in the past. Furthermore, business with companies such as Ford, GM, and Honda has allowed Johnson's business to expand into other cities such as Kansas City and Louisville.
Good for Johnson and this is a great example of being able to give back to the community, while at the same time benefiting yourself and your family. There are a number of people who are employed as a result of Johnson's post-NBA success.
19 Broke - Scottie Pippen
Technically Scottie Pippen is not broke and apparently he is doing better with his money than in the past. He also still does have an estimated net worth of $50 million, but please remember he made $120 million in his NBA days alone (this does not include sponsors). This is why I still had to put him on this list: to show people what NBA millionaires do to throw their money away. So how did Pippen manage to blow through so much money? Well, for starters, he bought a $4 million jet that never went into the air, so there are some significant financial losses right off the bat.
Additionally, he has lost money in poor company investments. It is just amazing to see how someone can lose so much money, especially with all of the sponsorships Pippen has had. Today, he is working for the Bulls in the hopes of trying to regain a higher net worth.
18 Rich - George Tinsley
After a very successful basketball career, George Tinsley knew he wanted to move on into the business world. However, he was not able to jump into his passion right away, so first he spent time teaching and coaching at a high school in Kentucky. Then, his first business opportunity came along and he started working at Kentucky Fried Chicken, and had the incredible opportunity to train with Colonel Sanders. This gave Tinsley a new purpose in life: to build a franchise empire. In due time, Tinsley was able to own a KFC franchise. As time has moved on, Tinsley's business, PenGeo Inc., now owns over 60 franchises of brands including KFC, TGI Friday's, Starbucks, Quiznos, and Nathan's Hot Dogs. Currently, Tinsley is in the process of passing on some of his business to his son. What a lucky son and what an incredible example for Tinsley to set for him, as well as for others.
17 Broke - Rick Mahorn
Well, the one defense that Rick Mahorn has going for him is that he did not make nearly as much money in the NBA as the other players on this list. Still, $7 million earned in the NBA is not chump change. Additionally, a high salary by working as broadcaster and coach is no joke. However, Mahor failed to be smart with his money like many of his fellow former NBAers and as a result, he is broke. Mahorn filed for bankruptcy in 2010 because of poor investments, the plummeting value of their Michigan home, and significant outstanding tax payments. He also had a foreclosure sale on his home because he was no longer able to pay his mortgage that was said to be over $500,000. Is it just me, or are there a lot of Detroit-related players on this list, wealthy or broke? It seems like players from there are either doomed to destined to thrive.
16 Rich - Dave Bing
Dave Bing may be an unrecognizable name to some of the younger viewers out there, but note he averaged over 20 points per game in his NBA career and had seven All-Star appearances. The fact that he is on this list is even more impressive because he also played in an era when the pay for players was nothing compared to what it is now. After his basketball career, Bing founded Bing Steel, a steel processing company (now known as the Bing Group). The company began in the middle of the worst recession the American steel industry had known since the 1930s and, as a result, lost almost all of its money. The big break finally happened when he won a contract to supply steel to General Motors. As a result, this brought in more business, and the rest is history. Here's another interesting fact as well: Bing was once the mayor of Detroit (talk about making it big after basketball).
15 Broke - Kenny Anderson
Kenny Anderson had a pretty good NBA career. He was a former number two overall pick, averaged 13 points per game in his career and because of his skill was able to earn around $60 million in his NBA career. However, this large amount of money did not stop him from declaring bankruptcy in 2005. Like many athletes, Anderson did not know how to control his spending. Contributing to the problem was that he has two failed marriages and seven children for whom he has to make payments. At least Anderson has made the right steps in his life since declaring bankruptcy. He has since appeared on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's reality television show. He has also been part of a documentary that focuses on his life, NBA career, and post-NBA career. Just like some of the other guys on this list, you gotta give Anderson props for trying to figure things out.
14 Rich - Jamal Mashburn
Jamal Mashburn had a very good NBA career and as a result earned over $60 million in his playing days. Unfortunately, his career was cut short due to a knee injury, which limited the amount of total money he could make playing basketball (I know $60 million is still a ton). Luckily for him, he was what seems like one of the rare NBA players to be ready for his post-playing days. Since retiring in 2006, Jamal Mashburn has gone on to see tons of success in the business world. As an entrepreneur, he now owns over 80 franchises, including Papa John's, Outback Steakhouses, Dunkin' Donuts and several car dealerships.
In 2014, Mashburn launched a marketing agency, Mashburn Sackett. The company specializes in digital services including 3D production. Mashburn is a perfect role-model for soon to be retired NBA players, proving that your skill does not have to be limited to the court.
13 Broke - Eddy Curry
Remember when Eddy Curry was said to have one of the brightest futures in the NBA? Well yeah, that did not work out exactly the way many people foresaw (to be fair, some of this can be blamed on a heart condition Curry may have). Nonetheless, Curry still managed to make $70 million during his nine seasons in the NBA. Somehow, this was not enough to help him avoid financial ruin in the years since. Well actually, like many players who go broke, Curry just had too many payments that did not make sense. Apparently, he was giving family members money each month, buying cars for friends, had child payments with many different women, and just spent tons of leisure money. Also, Curry once made a five-month personal loan at a 95% interest rate! Overall, I know he is probably a good guy for trying to set up his family and friends, but no athlete should be doing this to the extent Curry did. Hopefully, this is a lesson learned for future players.
12 Rich - Chris Webber
Chris Webber made over $176 million in his NBA career and kept on making money, even after he retired. You would think people would be satisfied with that amount of money, but I guess when you get a taste of some, you want more. Webber owns an investment company that represents real estate, basketball players, football players, and filming projects. Webber has also owned several restaurants, wrote a book, and has been involved in music production. He has also even launched his own brand of Voda, invested in stocks, and created his own fashion-line.
It does not end there for Webber, as he is currently an analyst on NBA TV's "NBA Gametime Live." He also serves as a commentator for TNT (I personally liked it better when he was on the halftime shows). Overall, Webber is still relatable to the current NBA population and it would be interesting to see him sort of take on a mentor role to retiring players to guide them in saving and spending money.
11 Broke - Shawn Kemp
Why do professional athletes seem to love avoiding condoms? Do they enjoy having to pay child support to all of these different women? Well, apparently Shawn Kemp does, as there are rumors that he has 11 children with nine different women. By the age of 28, he had seven children with a number of different women! All of these children mean child support payments, and this is the number one reason that Kemp was able to blow through his NBA earnings of over $90 million. Now, I have nothing against people having children, but that many kids with that many different women is a bit much, no?
Another supposed reason that Kemp has been able to blow through all of his money is drugs. After all, he was arrested for drug possession on two different occasions. Here is to hoping that Kemp is able to turn his life around and provide support for the many children he has in his life.
10 Rich - Hakeem Olajuwon
Winning two NBA titles was clearly not enough for Hakeem Olajuwon, so he took his talents to the real estate world. Following a disciplined strategy in which he purchases everything in cash to avoid interest and loans, Olajuwon has managed to make as much in real estate in the last 10 years as he did in his entire professional basketball career. According to lawyers and brokers involved in the deals, Olajuwon has managed to at least double or possibly even quadruple his money by reselling property within a year or two of purchase. Overall, it is not a coincidence that Olajuwon has been so successful in the real estate business. If you recall, he was well known for his intelligence as a basketball player, a trait that has clearly applied to the business world. It will be interesting to see how much more money Olajuwon makes in the real estate world.
9 Broke - Vin Baker
Here is yet another NBA player that managed to go broke after retiring despite earning an obscene amount of money in his career, around $100 million. He was a four time All-Star and considered one of the better offensive forwards in the NBA. So you would think Baker is living it up in retirement, right? Wrong. Baker managed to blow all of his money partly due to his alcoholism but also because of his bad investments. He also lost a restaurant to foreclosure. Baker, has also hinted at spending large sums of money on his friends, which seems to be one of the major causes for athletes going broke.
He also has shared his regret and stated that some of these people were not even his true friends. I guess this is another problem for these people: how do you know who to trust, and how do you know these people are just not using you? Anyway, with all of his money problems, Baker had to recently train to become a Starbucks manager.
8 4. Rich - Shaquille O'Neal
Remember the story of Shaquille O'Neal spending millions of dollars within his first hour of signing an NBA contract? Luckily for Shaq, his banker called him and warned him about the possibility of going broke like many other professional athletes. As a result, Shaq became educated in money and finance. He received a bachelor's degree, MBA, and eventually, his PhD. The rest, as they say, is history. Shaq now has a net worth of over $350 million through investments in companies such as Five Guys Burgers, car wash shops, 24-hour fitness centers, a shopping center, and nightclubs. In addition, he is also a very successful television host.
Finally, do not forget the multiple sponsors that still employ Shaq. Currently, he is trying to expand his business with real-estate development projects. The next thing Shaq should do is become a motivational speaker to future and current NBA players on how to be smart with money.
7 Broke - Derrick Coleman
This is probably the saddest story on this list. Derrick Coleman had good intentions before he went bankrupt, but perhaps his intentions were too good. Remember how they say you should always give back to your community, if you are in a position to do so? Well they did not say to give the whole thing to the community, that is for damn sure. Coleman blew all of his money by investing in the struggling Detroit economy with hopes of turning the city around. He developed real estate and tried to create jobs, but the economy was just hit too hard at this time. Unfortunately for Coleman, this whole plan backfired and he had to file for bankruptcy in 2010. It was said at the time that he owed around $20 million to many different loaning agencies, including approximately $1 million to Comerica Bank. This is a depressing story, and there is no way around it.
6 Rich - Junior Bridgeman
Junior Bridgeman's story is probably the most respectable and motivational on this list due to the fact that he played in the NBA in an era where average players did not make the large amounts of money we see today. This means that he had limited money to use for investment in comparison to most of the athletes we see on this list. Bridgeman retired from the NBA at the age of 33 and bought five Wendy's franchises. He hustled in the beginning by working in every situation of the business. He cooked hamburgers, worked at the tilt, and even mopped the floors. He brought in more business with strategic hiring and as a result, he now owns Bridgeman Foods and is America's second largest Wendy's franchise owner. He also owns a number of Chili's restaurants, 45 Fannie May Chocolate stores, and many other retail franchises. People estimate his net worth to be between $250 and $400 million.
5 Broke - Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell had a very productive NBA career, including three All-Star appearances, but he will best be remembered for choking then-head coach P.J. Carlesmio. Not long after this is the time he rejected a three-year, $21 million contract extension and explained that he had a family to feed. Unfortunately for Sprewell, he played terribly that season and has not played professional basketball since. I bet you he is severely regretting not taking that $21 million when he had the chance. Soon after his basketball career, Sprewell blew everything on his high class lifestyle. Eventually, he could no longer afford to make monthly mortgage payments and saw his home foreclosed. I repeat, probably should have taken that $21 million contract.
Today, there are rumors that Sprewell has a net worth of $50,000 and is living in a rental. Well, at least he has good sense of humor about it, as he has been seen in videos making fun his broke self.
4 Rich - Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is known by many for his success on the basketball court. After all, he did win five championships and have some of the greatest playoff moments ever. However, not to be overlooked is his astute business skills. Johnson started his transition into business by cold-calling 20 Los Angeles Lakers season ticket holders and inviting them out for lunch. He started out with ownership of shopping centers and movie theaters in urban areas. His major breakthrough came when he was able to develop urban Starbucks locations in under-resourced locations. He eventually sold his share of the Starbucks for over $27 million. Not a bad pay day. Today, Johnson is the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company that invests in high-profile businesses. Currently, Magic's new focus is on tech and infrastructure.
Overall, estimates show Magic has been able to raise his net-worth to around $500 million since retiring from the NBA.
3 Broke - Antoine Walker
It is easier to respect Antoine Walker than most of the people in the broke category in this article. He has openly admitted he was foolish and now is trying to help other people avoid the same mistakes he did. With all of that said, you still have to shake your head and question how someone could blow over $100 million in NBA career earnings within three years of retirement. For Walker, it was the fact that he supported an enormous entourage. He also upgraded his family members to multi-million dollar homes. He bought his friends fancy gifts and vacations. Meanwhile, he had his own garages filled with expensive cars. Walker also made some poor real-estate investments by purchasing properties in Chicago and saw all of his money decrease in value when the real-estate market crashed. Eventually, he declared bankruptcy and now is in the process of turning his life around by working as a basketball analyst.
2 Rich - Michael Jordan
Not only was Michael Jordan great on the court, but he has also provided inspiration to many young business people around the world. In 2015, Jordan joined the Forbes billionaires list, the first athlete to ever do so. The insane part is that he is showing no signs of slowing down. Without a doubt, Jordan's best investment has been his basketball team, the Charlotte Hornets. When he bought a majority stake in the team, the club was valued at $175 million. Fast forward to 2016, and his team is valued at $750 million. Jordan also makes a ton of money from sponsors, with Nike obviously being the biggest.
An interesting fact that many people may not know or overlook about Jordan is that he owns restaurants and car dealerships as well. Overall, Jordan is the best NBA player of all time and he is also the best NBA player-turned businessman of all time (LeBron might have something to say about that soon though).
1 Broke - Allen Iverson
Eleven-time NBA All-Star and former NBA MVP Allen Iverson is the best example of a professional basketball player that could not handle large amounts of money. So how did Iverson blow the $200 million that he earned in his playing days? Well, for starters, he paid people to accompany him when he traveled for anything. There are rumors that he would buy friends expensive gifts such as cars, houses, and much more. He would also, of course, buy himself whatever he wanted and never thought about what he would do when the NBA money would stop coming.
There were also rumors that Iverson had a major gambling problem, not to mention the $40,000 a night he would spend at a strip club (at least according to former teammate Matt Barnes). Today, no one truly knows how broke Iverson is (he has said he is fine), but one thing that's for sure is that his net worth is nowhere near what it once was.
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