Being in the NBA is a dream come true for everyone who has taken the court in their careers. Not only do they get to play a game they love all around the country, but they also get to make a ton of money and become famous. They are the envy of thousands of people from all around the globe and they feel on top of the world.
However, while their lives are great during their time in the NBA, that doesn’t always translate to after they retire. While many go on to make great investments, save their cash and live a happy life, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, players have internal demons or make terrible decisions in life that can all but ruin all the potential and success they had in life.
Sure, some aren’t doing so bad all things considered but compared to how they were doing while in the NBA, they have definitely felt like they have hit rock bottom at one point or another. This article will look at 15 former NBA players in particular whose lives were essentially ruined after they left the game, for one reason or another.
15 Rick Mahorn
Rick Mahorn was one of the key pieces and most important players for the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys teams in the late 1980s and won an NBA title in 1989. He was a huge part of the Pistons, but was eventually traded away. However, after retirement, he remained loyal to Detroit as he invested in several properties in the city. However, when the economy of Detroit crumbled terribly, his investments failed. Unfortunately, this led him to file bankruptcy when he and his wife claimed they barely had $1,000 to their name and he even sold his championship ring, which couldn't have been easy to do. While he has since recovered a little bit as he currently works as a radio analyst for the Pistons, there is no doubting that he was at rock bottom for a period of his life soon after retiring from the NBA.
14 Vin Baker
During his time in the big leagues, Vin Baker made an almost-unbelievable $97 million over his 13 years in the NBA. Unfortunately, while he was a solid contributor in the league for years, the latter part of his career was riddled with issues. These issues mainly stemmed from his alcohol and drug abuse. Unfortunately, things didn't get better after he was out of the league. He was arrested for drunk driving in 2007 and his bad choices continued until he had essentially lost his entire fortune of nearly $100 million. He eventually took a job at Starbucks, but soon found his way back into working with basketball as a coach or camp leader.
13 Kenny Anderson
Throughout his 14 year NBA career, Anderson averaged a respectable 12 points a game to go along with 6 assists. He was a talented point guard and was capable of starting for his team in multiple seasons. His good play warranted him getting several decent contracts that earned him over $60 million over his 14-year career. However, during the year of his last NBA season (after he was done with the league), he filed for bankruptcy. The reason for that massive amount of money loss comes down to one thing, in particular, which was his love for the ladies. He had to pay for two failed marriages and child support for a whopping eight children that he fathered throughout his life. Also, the fact he had a giant mansion and eight cars probably had something to do with it too.
12 Antoine Walker
During his NBA career that spanned just over a decade, Antoine Walker was a scoring machine. He regularly put up 20+ points a game and made three All-Star game appearances during his career. During his career, he made nearly $110 million dollars. Unfortunately, within only a few years of leaving the NBA, he was completely broke and had lost everything. He lived incredibly lavishly, bought nearly 10 cars and supported an entourage of 70 people! He officially filed for bankruptcy and had assets of only $4.3 million in 2010, with debts of over $10 million. Thankfully, he is now debt-free and seems to be doing better and has steady work, but it still has to sting knowing just how much money he lost of stupid decisions and people who really didn't care about him.
11 Eddy Curry
Eddy Curry was a very high draft pick straight out of high school and proved to be a capable scorer in the NBA. While he was out of shape for most of his career, he still found work in the NBA for over a decade. So while he was pretty good at basketball, he was even better at spending (or should we say worse at saving) money. He made a ton during his career, but it wasn't enough to support his lavish lifestyle. He lost his house, is many exotic cars and almost everything else he owned thanks to his massive debt. He was reportedly spending $6,000 a month on a personal chef, almost $700 a month on cable and tens of thousands of dollars for other things every single month. He hit rock bottom due to his being unable to control his personal spending.
10 Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell was a very talented NBA player, but struggled mightily throughout his career with a variety of personal issues. He often averaged 20+ points a game, but he is, unfortunately, most remembered for getting into a physical altercation with a coach that got him a giant suspension. He is also known for turning down a three-year, $21 million contract and made the comment that it wasn't even enough to feed his children. The team didn't offer him another contract and his career came to a sudden end. Unfortunately, he could have used that money as his yacht and two homes were taken from him and he has lost most of the money he made in his career. Despite how much he made (and how much he left on the table), Sprewell has been plagued with financial trouble for so long and who knows what could've been if he would've taken that contract and paid his debts.
9 Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson's career was a good one, as he won the Rookie of the Year in 1992 and made two All-Star games in his career. After his solid NBA career where he was a tenacious scorer and rebounder, he went on to get his degree and got a job in player development with the Knicks. That may sound pretty great, but everything was about to come crashing down. In 2015, Johnson filed for bankruptcy as he owed over $100,000 in unpaid child support. He was being sued by four different women for missed child support and he also had hundreds of thousands of dollars in other debts. He made a ton of money in his life (both as an NBA player and an actor), but most of it was taken right from his hands due to bad decisions and debts.
8 Robert Swift
Robert Swift is one of the most tragic cases on this entire list. Coming into the NBA, Swift was highly touted coming into the NBA because of his size and length. However, after a few disappointing seasons and a few injuries, he found himself out of the NBA. From there, his life started to spin out of control. He was arrested for driving under the influence and his home was foreclosed. He also became a drug addict soon after his release from the NBA and after his home was foreclosed. Swift then moved in with a drug dealer and was involved with a lot of criminal activity. He was also arrested for a home invasion in 2015 and admitted to being high on drugs during the crime. He earned around $10 million in his career and while now sober, he is unfortunately known for being a drug addict who didn't live up to his potential.
7 Joe Pace
While he played before the era of multi-million dollar deals, Joe Pace still had a pretty sweet gig of being an NBA player for a couple of years in the late 1970s. He even won an NBA title in 1978! However, when he found himself out of the league, instead of getting a job like most people would, Pace soon became homeless. He was likely homeless for decades and in 2008, he was discovered to be living in Seattle in a homeless shelter. Thankfully, since it was announced in the paper that he was homeless, he has received a ton of love from the NBA community and those in it and has since found a house and gotten himself out of the gutter. It was nice to see the outpouring of support for him, as he is a guy who definitely needed it.
6 Keon Clark
While many of the people on this list had their issues rear their ugly heads after retirement, not Keon Clark. Despite being a solid NBA player, Clark has admitted to never ever playing a game sober and would often drink during halftime. After he retired in 2004, his life continued in a bad direction. He had several different problems with the law and in 2013, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for weapons charges, but only served half of them. He is now out of prison and living in his hometown, hopefully with his life a little more on track. Only time will tell if he is going to head back into his old ways or actually make improvements in his life.
5 Delonte West
West played in the NBA for the better part of a decade and was a serviceable member of numerous teams. Unfortunately, he is best remembered for commenting that he had slept with LeBron James' mother. After his NBA career, he played in other leagues around the world, but his life was starting to hit rock bottom. West has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and since retirement has experienced a number of issues including traffic violations and weapons charges. A video surfaced in 2016, seemingly showing West panhandling on the street and acting very erratically, but he has claimed he wasn't homeless and actually has a home. While he may not be homeless, West is definitely going through some issues and hopefully, he can get his issues sorted out.
4 Darius Miles
While he was never a superstar, Darius Miles was a solid NBA player for four teams during his near-decade in the NBA. He was a high-flyer and a very entertaining player to watch in the league. Injuries and a bad attitude derailed his NBA career and by 2009 he was out of the league. Even still, he should have been able to live forever off of the $62 million he made during his career. However, only two years later, Miles was arrested for carrying a loaded gun and over the next few years, didn't manage his finances very well at all. By 2016, only seven years after his NBA career, Miles filed for bankruptcy in late-2016. This was largely due to child support and failed investments. He is still fairly young and can definitely turn it around, as long as he stays on the right path.
3 Lamar Odom
Odom was a very talented player, known by most for his time with the Lakers, where he helped them to win two straight NBA titles in 2009 and 2010. However, once he got traded to the Dallas Mavericks and then the Clippers, his career began to take a massive downward trajectory. He was playing terribly and when he couldn’t find work in the NBA, he began to experience some issues. He was first hit with a DUI and began to develop a drug problem. His life eventually hit rock bottom in 2015 when he was found unconscious at a brothel in Nevada. He was in a coma and was placed on life support and nearly died. He has since recovered and is doing better, but Odom still isn’t where anyone thought he would’ve been a decade ago.
2 Javaris Crittenton
Crittenton was taken in the first round of the 2007 NBA draft and looked to be on his way to a great NBA career. However, uninspiring play led to him being traded multiple times within his first few years in the league. Once he became a member of the Washington Wizards, he had a highly publicized locker room altercation with Gilbert Arenas, and the two were suspended for the rest of the season. Crittenton never played another minute in the NBA since. Once out of the league, Crittenton was found to have gang ties and actually killed a 22-year old mother of four while trying to go after someone who had previously robbed him. He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
1 Eddie Johnson
Johnson was a two-time All-Star and a player who averaged over 15 points per game through his career. So while he was a talented player capable of helping his team win games, most people know him for his catastrophic collapse after he was banned for life from the NBA in 1987. He had a major cocaine problem throughout his career and once he was out of the NBA, things only got worse for him. He was arrested over 100 times and had numerous stints in prison for his crimes that ranged from drugs, to burglary and more. His worst actions were when he was charged with multiple counts of molesting children in the mid-to-late 2000s. He is currently (and rightfully so) incarcerated on a mandatory life sentence without parole.
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