Professional athletes in today’s world live the dream, playing the sport they love at the highest level possible usually for a high price as well. Some of the brightest stars in the NBA today have signed for abnormally high sums of money during the prime years of their careers. Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry just signed a five year, 200 million dollar contract, averaging 40 million per year. Kevin Durant supposedly took a pay cut to remain with a dynamic and explosive Warriors team by agreeing to a two year, 53 million dollar contract. It is definitely amazing to see earning 26.5 million dollars in a year being a pay cut to anybody in the world today. But the NBA is filled with stars and amazing contracts, the players can do a lot of good with it. Unfortunately, there are some players who do more harm with millions of dollars than good.
In this day in age, NBA players will buy anything they can get their hands on. This includes mansions, cars, yachts, and anything else that can be thought of. However, money earned can also be used on destructive things as well such as alcohol, women, bad investments, child support, and others. This list takes a look at some of the well-known NBA players that earned a big payday, but wasted it and now have struggled since losing it all. Sports fans will be amazed at the amount of money some of these former players have lost over the years. Here are the top 15 recently retired NBA players who have already gone broke or are going broke.
15. David Harrison
We start out our list at number 15 with David Harrison. Harrison was a former center for the Indiana Pacers for five seasons before finishing his career with several teams overseas. Over his tenure with the Pacers, he reportedly made about $4.5 million. For the average working citizen, this would take care of a lot of financial issues. But for Harrison, it wasn’t nearly enough. As his life went on, he spent it on drugs and alcohol as he had a marijuana problem throughout his time in the NBA. There was even a crazy rumor that he hit rock bottom by taking a job at McDonald’s. Imagine going from playing in front of sold out crowds every night to asking what toy a child wants with their Happy Meal.
14. Eric Williams
The number 14 slot on this list was playing for the green and making a lot of green as well. Eric Williams enjoyed a 13 year career in the NBA that ended in 2007 with the Charlotte Bobcats. During his time in the NBA, Eric Williams earned more than $40 million. Like most of the athletes that will be on this list, Williams ran into some trouble off of the court that made $40 millions feel like having $40. He has had multiple issues with child support payments which has made a big dip into the $40 million earned. It is quite a shame that Williams couldn’t work out his marriage and custody problems that would have saved him a good portion of his earnings. Williams would probably be celebrating all the green he earned had he been smarter with his issues off of the court. But unfortunately, he became broke and could never recover.
13. Robert Swift
Number 13 might not be a well known name around the league. Does anybody remember Robert Swift? He was a first round pick in 2004, the same draft that produced names like Dwight Howard, Ben Gordon, and Shaun Livingston? If not, maybe this will serve as a refresher. Swift played for the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder for five seasons. He then tried to get onto the Celtics by playing for their summer league team but ultimately did not make the professional team. Despite that, Swift earned up to $10 million during his playing career. Unfortunately, he spent a lot of it on heroin as he had a major drug problem. Swift never had much of a chance as his family filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and again in 2003. Maybe Robert is somehow related to Taylor and can get some of her earnings to help him out.
12. Jason Caffey
The number 11 candidate on this list learned that making the same mistake repeatedly can cost you in the long run. Before playing with the Warriors, Jason Caffey won two championships with the Chicago Bulls during their iconic run in the 90s. During his career, he had fun winning with the Bulls and also had fun collecting around $34 million dollars during his NBA career. Unfortunately, along with winning and money came women and Caffey might have had a little too much fun with them. He has ten children with a total of eight different women. His money situation got so bad that he had to file for bankruptcy in 2008, just five years after he retired. It is truly a shame that women got in the way of his earnings and success. Maybe Jason Caffey feels better when he looks at his championship rings as opposed to always dwelling on the fact that he let women take his money one payment at a time.
11. Derrick Coleman
The top ten starts with a gentleman who had a great career with the New Jersey Nets. Derrick Coleman was a forward that was playing alongside guards Kenny Anderson and Drazen Petrovic which made the Nets must see television. He had much success in New Jersey, earning an All-Star nod in 1994 and Rookie of the Year in 1991 along with making over 90 million dollars before retiring in 2005. Unfortunately, that money didn’t stick around for Coleman. He made some poor real estate decisions that led to his filing for bankruptcy in 2010. There are some questions that are still left unanswered here. What would the Nets had been if Petrovic hadn’t died in a 1993 car accident? How well could Derrick Coleman’s life had been if he had a smarter plan with his earnings? These are questions we will never know the answer to. All Coleman can do at this point is try to better his life and figure out what went wrong along the way.
10. Kenny Anderson
Coleman was not the only New Jersey Net to run into financial problems during their careers. Kenny Anderson had always been a well-respected guard since his days at Georgia Tech. He enjoyed a similarly successful career to Coleman, also earning an All-Star bid in 1994 and making over 60 million dollars during his career. Many young NBA players usually come from low-income areas, so their first sight of money makes them want to spend it all. This assumption wasn’t different in Anderson’s case. He spent money on cars, failed businesses, and also had to give up his earnings due to child support payments. He filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and ultimately retired the next year in 2006. Kenny Anderson got caught up in seeing the beautiful sports cars waiting to be driven just like any kid with millions of dollars would. Anderson has probably learned by now what he should buy and what he shouldn’t buy based on his past financial failures.
9. Dennis Rodman
The next selection for this notorious list had the ability to run and jump with the best of them. He also had one of the more interesting personalities in the history of the NBA. Dennis Rodman was one of the best rebounders and defensive players to ever step onto an NBA court. He ended up winning five championships between the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls. He finally hung up his sneakers in 2006, while earning about $50 million along the way. Dennis wasn’t able to keep all of his money for a variety of reasons. He had multiple child support payments, he also had spouse payments as well as several drunken driving arrests which resulted in fines.
Everyone knew Rodman was out of control and it would only have been a matter of time before his lifestyle caught up to him. For one of the best players in recent NBA history, it is a shame his reputation comes with outlandish behavior and filling out checks to stay out of prison.
8. Eddy Curry
The number seven culprit of throwing away their money goes to a player that didn’t have much of an NBA career, but had fun throwing his money away off of the court. Eddy Curry enjoyed getting a championship with the Miami Heat in 2012. He retired in 2013 and earned over 70 million dollars during his career. Just like Jason Caffey, Curry had a little too much fun with women off of the court. He has seven children which he provides child support payments for. His situation go so bad to a point that in 2009, he had his house foreclosed. It just goes to show that no matter how super human NBA players look, they are really just normal people with problems off the court just like the rest of the world. In Curry’s case, he had a problem staying away from the pretty women that come with the NBA lifestyle.
7. Shawn Kemp
At number six on this list comes former Seattle Supersonic great Shawn Kemp. Along with Gary Payton, the Supersonics were a force to be stopped in the Western Conference during the 90’s. This included an appearance in the 1996 NBA Finals, only to lose to Michael Jordan and the Bulls. The six time All-Star enjoyed a successful playing career, which included accumulating over $90 million. Unfortunately like the rest of the players thus far, Kemp found a way to blow it all. Kemp’s biggest weaknesses were sex and drugs. He was known for having drug problems which took away from his earnings. He also reportedly has seven kids with six different women. So the child support payments add more financial problems for the former NBA star.
The one question that fans could ponder is: if the Sonics somehow beat the Bulls in the 1996 Finals, would he have lost as much money or would it have changed his mindset? Like they say, winning can cure all and that might have been the case for Kemp.
6. Gilbert Arenas
He was once known as “Agent Zero” by the fans and his bank account was once at zero. Gilbert Arenas used to be a significant factor for the Washington Wizards. The three time All-Star had success on the court that wasn’t matched off of the court. Arenas retired in 2013 having made over $111 million throughout the course of his career. Like most of irresponsible athletes today, Arenas had to fill out a lot of child support and custody payments to his ex-wife Laura Govan. There were even rumblings about how Arenas was giving Govan $20,000 a month for said payments. He also reportedly had gambling issues and had an obsession with shoes, having owned more than 2,000 pairs! With lifestyle choices like those, it doesn’t take a math major to figure out why Arenas became a poor ex-NBA player. Maybe “Agent Zero” should aspire to have multiple zeros after another number in his post-NBA life.
5. Latrell Sprewell
When sports fans think of craziness in the NBA, the first person people will think of is Dennis Rodman. However, the number four suspect on this list is not too far behind. Latrell Sprewell had a lot of upside heading into the NBA, but his attitude and antics became a huge part of his reputation. This is the same player that choked his own coach during a game in a heated exchange. But his decisions with money were probably just as bad as his interactions with players and coaches. Sprewell made over $100 million before he retired in 2005. When he hit rock bottom and became poor, he had to sell his mansions and yachts just to survive. He once turned down a contract because he said he needed to feed his family. Well Latrell, does $21 million sound better than 0 dollars at this point in your life?
4. Scottie Pippen
The next spot on this list is considered one of the 50 greatest NBA players to ever play the game. Unfortunately, he was not one of the greatest all time in making good financial decisions. Scottie Pippen was the solidified second option on those Bulls teams that won six championships in the 90s. Before Pippen called it a career for good in 2008, he had made over $120 million. For the average man, it would be good enough to retire and live a luxurious life. For Scottie, it came with a lot of distrust and bad decisions. One of those decisions was purchasing a jet that was reportedly worth $4 million. He also had a financial advisor that was eventually caught for fraud and ended up with a three year prison sentence. Just goes to show you have to keep your friends extremely close or otherwise you’ll end up in a situation just like Scottie Pippen did.
3. Antoine Walker
The number two spot on this list is for a player who was known for his three point shooting and his shimmy dance moves. He was a star at Kentucky and alongside Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker helped make the Celtics a formidable team in the early 2000’s. He cashed in on his good play too, making close to 110 million dollars before he retired for good in 2012. Walker has just had bad luck when it comes to money. He was robbed on two separate occassions in 2000 and 2007. He also was accused of writing bad checks during his playing days and eventually filing for bankruptcy as well. Walker seems to be doing better now by getting into broadcasting and analyzing like a lot of retired professional athletes do. Just a shame to see a guy with that much talent finally get his pay day and blow it all. Walker was bad with money, but he wasn’t as bad as the number one guy who threw away a lot more.
2. Rick Mahorn
This next broke former professional athlete brought a whole new meaning to the words “physical play” in the NBA. Back in the late 80s, Rick Mahorn teamed up with Bill Lambeer to form one of the most bruising back-courts in NBA history. Their physical style helped the Detroit Pistons win an NBA title during the 1989-90 season as part of the “Bad Boys” era. After retiring in 1999, he had all the money he could think of. Unfortunately, it didn’t last him the rest of his life as he declared for bankruptcy in 2010. He reportedly had to sell his championship ring just to make ends meet. The most bizarre tale of Mahorn’s spending is he owed 55 dollars to a library for overdue books. So if you are ever at a library with Rick Mahorn in the future, make sure you pay for yours because if not, you’ll have a heavy fine to pay!
1. Allen Iverson
The number one guy who went broke was known as “The Answer” on the court. But off of the court, he had anything but answers for his horrible financial decisions and questionable behavior. Allen Iverson was one of the best point guards in the late 90’s and early 2000s. He had many great seasons in Philadelphia which included an appearance in the 2001 NBA Finals. He made close to $200 million during his playing days. Unfortunately he lost it all. With child support payments and divorce payments hitting him hard at home, he nearly lost it all. His luck got so bad to the point that he had to sell his $4.5 million house in Atlanta.
Iverson now plays in the newly formed Big 3 league that started in 2017. Maybe now, Iverson will learn how to keep his money. But until then, he sits at the top of the recently retired NBA players that went broke.
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