Professional basketball features some of the highest paid athletes in the world. Every year the NBA becomes more and more lucrative for the players as their agents negotiate seemingly outrageous contracts. In 2016, the highest paid players are earning over $20 million per year and there are several more making over $10 million. If a budding athlete is able to make it in the NBA, then he should be set up for the rest of his life.
Today’s rich athletes need to be sure that they are receiving sound financial advice in order for them to achieve financial stability after their playing days end. A lot of successful athletes are able to make profitable investments and develop business skills to help them prosper post-career. They transition well and reap the rewards of careful planning.
Sadly, there are also many rich athletes that don’t have the skills they need in order to handle fame and money. They live far beyond their means. They are ruined by reckless spending habits and are sometimes taken advantage of by relatives, friends and managers. They fall victim to bad investments or unprofitable business schemes. It isn’t until their careers are over that they realize that they have nothing left. The bitterness and shame can be devastating and the road back to solvency is full of serious challenges.
There are countless examples of NBA players going broke and there aren’t many happy endings to these tales. Here are 15 NBAers who lost everything: Where are they now?
15 Derrick Coleman
Derrick Coleman was picked by the New Jersey Nets as the first overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. He would go on to have a pretty good career and become one of only three players to ever record at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game. He will also be remembered for his disruptive attitude, alcohol abuse and being grossly out of shape towards the end of his career. His career ended with the Detroit Pistons in the 2004-05 season.
After earning close to $90 million over his career, Coleman’s well-intentioned but poorly conceived business ventures put him in debt, as he tried to stimulate the economy in his home area of Detroit. He filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010. These days Coleman is doing much better. He's back on his feet and has even been delivering much-needed bottles of drinking water to the residents of Flint, where the water supply has been linked to illness and even death.
14 Rick Mahorn
After a career that spanned 18 seasons, NBA power forward Rick Mahorn moved into broadcasting and coaching. He is currently doing radio commentary for the Detroit Pistons. However, he is also well known for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010 after investments went bad and he was unable to pay his mortgage. Added to these woes was a $200,000 tax bill owing to the IRS.
Mahorn earned over $6 million in his playing days and continued to make a decent amount of money in broadcasting and coaching. Still, it appears that he was living a tad beyond his means and is suffering for it now. On the bright side, he still earns a decent paycheck as a commentator. He is starting fresh and trying to work hard to rebound.
13 Eric Williams
Drafted by the Boston Celtics 14th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft, Eric Williamsseemed to be set. He would play for 12 seasons and earn nearly $40 million. When he found himself out of basketball in 2007, he was broke. Eric Williams had blown through his fortune and, in 2014, claimed that he was homeless and broke. To further aggravate things, he was on the hook for $24,000 in unpaid child support and due in court. Then, topping it all off, was the fact that he could neither afford a lawyer nor could he come up with the airfare for a flight to Colorado. As of 2015, his net worth was negative $100,000.
These days he seems to be keeping a low profile and was last reported to be working with an unnamed non-profit organization. Like so many on this list, Williams knew nothing about money-management and, sadly, wasn’t able to put away any savings.
12 David Harrison
The Indiana Pacers drafted David Harrison late in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft. The Pacers decided not to re-sign Harrison after his contract expired in 2008. After an unsuccessful tryout with the Timberwolves, Harrison was done in the NBA after just four seasons in which he earned about $4.4 million.
Harrison continued to play basketball in China before returning to the States where he played in the D-League. He had squandered his earnings and at one time was forced to take a night-shift job at McDonald’s. He is currently selling and trading in stocks to keep the debt collectors from his door but it isn’t easy. He is also trying to get money together to finish his college degree.
11 Robert Swift
At 7’1” and full of potential, Robert Swift was chosen in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft by Seattle. His NBA career was derailed by a series of injuries and drug abuse which limited him to a total of 97 games over his five-year career. He missed the entire 2006-07 season due to a knee injury. Despite his limited playing time, he managed to earn over $11 million.
After being released by Oklahoma City, he tried to salvage a career in the D-League but his life had spiraled out of control. He was using hard drugs, drinking heavily and he was overweight. After a good 2010-11 season in the Japanese league, Swift had hopes of returning to the NBA but he found no takers.
His life deteriorated even further. He was found living in terrible conditions inside his mansion which was being foreclosed. The house had bullet holes in the walls, garbage everywhere and animal feces on the floor.
In January 2015, Swift was arrested for his role in an armed home invasion. The odds of this story having a happy ending is a long-shot.
10 Antoine Walker
How does a person blow $108 million? As Antoine Walker explains “I created a very expensive lifestyle.” That’s an understatement. He was known for blowing money on cars and houses while helping many of his friends with large gifts of money. It didn’t help that he had a gambling problem either. Walker claims that it was the collapse of his real estate firm during the last recession that ultimately cleaned out his bank account.
He had his share of legal troubles including DUI and passing bad checks. He had amassed about $750,000 in gambling debts. He was forced into bankruptcy in 2010.
He worked hard to bounce back and. in 2013. he proudly announced that he was debt-free. He now works with youth in an attempt to teach them to avoid the same mistakes he made. Well done Antoine!
9 Eddy Curry
The Chicago Bulls had high hopes for Eddy Curry when they drafted him 4th overall in 2001. He had a pretty good run with the Bulls until an irregular heartbeat sidelined him for 13 games left in the 2004-05 season. After issues arose over Curry’s medical condition, the Bulls pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Curry to the Knicks.
His stint in New York started out well enough but it eventually turned into a disaster. He reported to training camp bloated and out of shape in both 2007 and 2008. In 2009, word was circulating that Eddy was in some severe financial difficulty and the fact that his house was repossessed proved these rumors to be true. Apparently he was merely a lowly multi-millionaire and not a multi-billionaire. Eddy left New York and spent the following two years warming benches in Miami and then finally Dallas.
In 2012, after earning and blowing over $70 million dollars, Eddy Curry was out of the NBA. He was last playing in China in 2013. Hopefully he is receiving better financial advice.
8 Shawn Kemp
Recently seen in a chicken outfit, Shawn Kemp was a six-time NBA All-Star over his 14-year career. He broke into the league with Seattle in 1989 and played a big role in the Sonics’ run to the 1995-96 Finals where they lost to the Bulls. Following the 1996-97 season, Kemp was traded to Cleveland where he quickly deteriorated.
He has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was busted with cocaine in 2005. Kemp also has at least seven children with six different women. His sprawling stable of children has cost him dearly. His fortune is said to have been almost entirely absorbed by child-support payments.
7 Kenny Anderson
Yet another young kid with no appreciation for money, Kenny Anderson squandered his $60 million NBA career earnings. Like most young men, Kenny loved to party hard. His hobbies included collecting cars, going to bars and fathering children. These expensive hobbies apparently cost about $60 million. After his playing days ended, Kenny found himself broke and without a job. He went on to earn his degree in organization leadership in 2010. He has continued to work in coaching and has done stints in television.
6 Jason Caffey
A quick Google search of Jason Caffey will quickly produce his mug-shot and a slew of bad headlines. This guy made over $34 million during his mediocre NBA career but has nothing to show for it except for those Google results.
Like a few others on this list, Jason would loose a lot of his earnings to child support payments. He ended up fathering 10 children with eight different mothers. Adjusting to life without glamour has been tough but Jason has continued to plug away. Aside from being arrested for failure to pay his child support, he was also named the head coach of the American Basketball Association expansion team, the Mobile Bay Hurricanes, but was replaced six games into his first season with the team.
5 Delonte West
Delonte West had a relatively short eight year NBA career but he was still able to earn over $16 million. He also blew it all while wearing out his welcome with his teams. He was suspended multiple times and also arrested in 2009 when he was found to be carrying several loaded weapons. By 2012, no teams wanted anything to do with West. He continued playing basketball doing stints in China and the D-League where he was waived 2015 after sustaining an injury. Soon after he went broke.
In 2016, he was in the news after being seen in a Jack in the Box parking lot wearing only a hospital robe and no shoes. He is currently in treatment for his bi-polar disorder. We wish him the best.
4 Allen Iverson
There is no doubting that Allen Iverson was great with a basketball. He just wasn’t too good with all the money he earned in his career. He is well known for his drinking binges, his penchant for gambling and his many legal troubles. Allen Iverson is also known stirring controversy both on and off the court. His infamous “Practice” rant sure got chins wagging. So did his lifestyle. He blew through the $150 million he made in his NBA career before it was over.
He recently got some really bad news. A $32 million Reebok trust fund that he had planned on cashing in on when he reached 55 years old seems to be in jeopardy.
Iverson puts on a brave face and insists that he isn’t broke despite his home being foreclosed on in 2013. He has recently been the topic of a biography and has been the subject of a new Showtime documentary which highlights his financial struggles.
3 Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell was definitely an impact player. He was a four-time NBA All-Star who amassed earnings of nearly $100 million in his NBA playing days. He was also notoriously terrible with money. He had reckless spending habits and frequently made headlines because of his money troubles. He also made headlines as a notorious trouble-maker. There was the strangling incident with his head coach, as well as his handling of a contract offer at the end of his career. In 2005, he turned down a $30 million three-year offer claiming that he was “insulted” by the offer and that he had a family to feed. He actually could have used that money because in 2007 he lost his yacht and his house to foreclose, after no other offers came in.
Apparently, he's now living a modest life and was recently in a Priceline commercial where he apparently makes a bit of fun of himself. It’s nice to know that he has a sense of humor.
2 Vin Baker
He made roughly $100 million dollars over his 13-year career in the NBA. Vin Baker was a highly touted prospect when he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1993. His career got off to a good start but then Vin started to gain a reputation as a troubled booze-hound who let himself fall out of shape. He gained a whole lot of weight during the NBA lockout of 1998-99. He reportedly got up to 300 pounds and his game suffered as a result. In 2003-04, while playing for the Celtics, he showed up to practice reeking of booze and was promptly suspended and released. He would go on to play over parts of the following two seasons but he was clearly out of shape and still drinking heavily. He was out of the league in 2006.
Poor life choices combined with a series of questionable investments and other stupid financial decisions left Baker broke. He appears to have straightened up a bit and is training to be a Starbucks manager. It’s probably not the retirement he had planned, but good for Baker that he's rebounding and straightening his life out for his family's sake. We wish him the best!
1 Dennis Rodman
You have seen him on television, in movies, in drag and in tabloids. You might also remember him as a basketball player. Dennis Rodman carved out a pretty good basketball career but it was usually his off-court shenanigans that netted him the most notoriety. He blew through his career earnings by living hard and spending poorly. In 2012, there was rampant speculation that Rodman was broke and owed a ton in spousal support.
In 2014, he created a stir in North Korea by promoting peace through organizing basketball games there. In 2065, he continued to linger in the media with a story about his planned participation in a slightly bawdy chicken-wing eating contest. Rodman is really good at keeping himself in the public eye.
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