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.
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.
18 Rich - George Tinsley
17 Broke - Rick Mahorn
16 Rich - Dave Bing
15 Broke - Kenny Anderson
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.
13 Broke - Eddy Curry
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.
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?
10 Rich - Hakeem Olajuwon
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.
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.
7 Broke - Derrick Coleman
6 Rich - Junior Bridgeman
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.
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.
3 Broke - Antoine Walker
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.
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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