While sports are an overall great thing to live your life by, there are traps that one must look out for. There are a lot of young athletes aspiring to become the next best thing in the NBA, but the reality is much more complex.
People have been paid an alarmingly increasing amount of money in wages, and history has shown that not everyone can manage it the same way. Here is a list of some former NBA players, who in spite of making tens of millions of dollars, ended up bankrupt.
10. Eddie Curry
Eddie Curry might have not had a long-lasting career in the NBA, but he did make quite an impact in his short tenure in the league. He was drafted 4th overall in 2001 by the Chicago Bulls and went on to improve every year until the Bulls made the playoffs in 2004-05. However, a series of heart conditions impaired his ability to play for the Bulls, and even though he was traded to the Knicks, his career was put to a halt from heart arrhythmia. He actually made $70 million from his NBA wages, but he reportedly spent a ton of money on family and friends, buying them luxurious cars and whatnot.
He battled trials from his former employees about sexual harassment, and even if they were not true, they hurt his image. Years later he got the bad news that his ex-girlfriend, Nova Henry, and the couple’s nine-month-old daughter, Ava, were found dead in Henry’s Chicago apartment, having sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Henry and Curry’s three-year-old son was also found at the scene unharmed. Curry hasn’t commented publicly about the shooting, but it must have been a very difficult and trying situation to learn that your ex-girlfriend and nine-month-old daughter were killed in front of your three-year-old son.
Despite making over $57 million during his nine-year NBA career, he is currently broke, and actually about $2 million in debt. He recently defaulted on a $585,000 loan he took out in 2008 and actually claimed that he shouldn’t have to pay the money back because he has too many other expenses.
9. Kenny Anderson
Kenny Anderson had quite a full career with 14 full seasons of playing in the NBA, but despite making over $60 million, he found himself struggling to get his life together. The Georgia Tech product was picked at the second pick in the 1991 draft by the New Jersey Nets, and he really took off in his sophomore season. He actually came from a really poor family, and had little to no help managing his hard-earned NBA cash. His life was not really stable either, as he married 3 times, and has 6 children.
All the legal battles with his divorces took a big toll on his bank accounts, and Kenny Anderson eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2005. He did try to get his life back on track with numerous basketball-related gigs, but he failed miserably. Anderson took the position of basketball coach at the David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Florida. In May 2013, following a DUI arrest, the school indicated that they would not renew his contract.
In 2014, Anderson was named to a team assembled by Dennis Rodman as part of his “basketball diplomacy” effort in North Korea with the job of playing an exhibition match against the North Korean Senior National Team to celebrate the birthday of Kim Jong-Un. He emerged from the depths this year when he starred at the “Mr. Chibbs” documentary, that tracked his life after basketball, and how he came to terms with his personal demons.
8. Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen is probably one of the most underestimated forwards in the history of the NBA, mostly because he was overshadowed by Michael Jordan in his time with the Bulls. Even so, his career was highly successful with a whopping 6 NBA titles, having been named in the NBA All-Defensive First Team 8 times in a row, and having made the All-NBA First Team 3 times. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and was the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1994. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the 1996–97 season, and is one of four players to have his jersey retired by the Chicago Bulls (the others being Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, and Michael Jordan). Moreover, Pippen is the only NBA player to have won an NBA title and Olympic gold medal in the same year twice (1992, 1996). However, despite the massive success he had on-court, his decisions off the court were not that great. He had quite a few financial upsets under his belt, as he at one time bought a $4 million defective jet, that couldn’t even operate.
Not only did the splash one more million in repairs, but the damn thing still didn’t work, so he just used it as a showpiece. Scottie actually made some good moves in the real estate and commercial markets, but he has also made some bad calls that have cost him millions. Just like most other players on this list, Scottie Pippen is battling a court case against his wife, as the two are trying to finalize a divorce. Pippen has reportedly removed his wife from their bank account, leaving her with no access to their money.
7. Dennis Rodman
The Worm was one of the most extravagant players during his time in the NBA. Known for his shenanigans both on and off-court, Dennis Rodman was surely one of the most spectacular figures to watch. He might have made “just” $27 million during his playing career, but he did not escape the grasp of bad decisions and drug abuse. He was probably the first guy in the NBA to paint his hair in multiple different colors, all at the same time.
Besides diving for rebounds and sparring with opposing players, Dennis Rodman’s life was as interesting outside the court. In a court hearing in 2014, his lawyer filed documents that showed that the Worm was “extremely sick and broke”, making it simply impossible for him to pay child support anymore.He owed more than $800,000 at that time, and was reportedly struggling to cope with his own expenses. This was coming from the guy who once married himself. Dennis Rodman decided to go into politics in 2015, as he endorsed Donald Trump for presidency when he tweeted “Donald Trump has been a great friend for many years. We don’t need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump”.
More recently, he traveled to North Korea (yes, the one with the nuclear weapons), to visit his ‘good friend’ Kim Jong Un. His first trip there was in 2013, when he met the North Korean leader, who grew up watching the Chicago Bulls in the Michael Jordan era. Rodman return to North Korea on what he called “ambassador duties” but he also stated that the two were riding horses, hanging out, went skiing, and actually didn’t talk about politics. I could expect nothing more from the Worm.
6. Shawn Kemp
This is one of the most interesting, while sad, stories that we have seen in recent years. Shawn Kemp was a dominant force in his time with the Seattle Supersonics in the 90’s. He was known for his athleticism and spectacular dunking, and for the highly successful Payton/Kemp era for the Supersonics. The team had the best record in the NBA in 1993-94, and even went on to the NBA Finals in 1995-96, where they were eliminated by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
The six-time NBA All-Star and three-time All-NBA Second Team member saw his career go from high to low after his Supersonics days, as he gained quite a few pounds, and battled alcohol and substance problems. After his NBA days were long gone, Shawn Kemp signed a one-year contract with Italian team Premiata Montegranaro in 2008, despite being 39 years old at that time, and with a ton of extra weight. He only played in 3 pre-season games before he had to return to Houston to assess damage done to his home by Hurricane Ike. He never returned from that trip. Shawn Kemp might have been one the of the most explosive players during his good years in the NBA, but he is also known for having 7 children with 6 different women by the time he was 28 years old.
His wild lifestyle included a 2005 arrest for drug possession and gun charges, and the same thing happened a couple of years later. Battling drug addiction, along with a ton money to pay in child support led Shawn Kemp to a life-long financial battle. His most recent endeavor was a sports bar in Seattle, named Oskar’s Kitchen, that pulled the plug back in 2015.
5. Derrick Coleman
Derrick Coleman couldn’t be left outside this list, as the former number 1 overall pick in the NBA fell into the pit of the financial hell. It was Sports Illustrated that once wrote about him that “he played just enough to ensure his next paycheck”. Well, despite making close to $100,000,000 from the NBA, the former star found himself between a rock and a hard place.
He did make some business efforts when he bought stakes at a Hilton hotel, and he was also involved in various fast food chains, but bad decisions left him high and dry. He eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2010, reportedly owing more than $2 million to tens of creditors who were willing to risk their money on him. At least he is still finding ways to make a buck, as he was recently involved with longtime friend Tim Ferguson, who became a Detroit Public School teacher.
The former college football stand-out helped Coleman become somewhat of a success story, as the two partnered to create a top-rated high school basketball league called the DC Elite. This program not only helps kids from the area escape the street-life by directing them to a more safe lifestyle, but it also provides exposure to the basketball world.
4. Latrell Sprewell
This guys was famous for more than his career, as his so-called “Mike Tyson-esque” demeanor got his in some kind of trouble during his career. He was stellar in his Golden State days, scoring an average of over 20 points per match in his 6 seasons there. However, he is know for his 1997 “choking-incident” with coach PJ Carlesimo, as coach PJ asked Sprewell to make better passes when practising. Sprewell was apparently “not in the mood for criticism” and he grabbed and choked his own coach for over 7 seconds. Later that day he punched his coach in the face. As if that wasn’t enough, teammates have disclosed that Sprewell fought with team-mate Jerome Kersey back in 1995, and returned to the practise carrying a piece of wood. He later threatened to return with a gun.
His contract was eventually terminated by the Warriors (which included $23.7 million over 3 years), and the NBA suspended him for the year. During that time, he was charged with reckless driving, and spent 3 months under house arrest. During his time with the Timberwolves, Sprewell turned down a 3-year, $21 million contract extension, quoting “I have a family to feed… If Glen Taylor wants to see my family fed, he better cough up some money”.
The Wolves offered him nothing more, and that was pretty much the end of his career. His life started taking a downward trajectory that lead to the foreclosures on two of his million-dollar mansions, as he was eventually forced to auction off his luxury yacht. He was recently rumored to have taken money by Knicks owner James Dolan, to simply pretend to be his friend and show up at Knicks games with him. Sad.
3. Vin Baker
Vin Baker couldn’t be left out of this list, as the 4-time All-Star made around $100,000,000 but somehow managed to blow it all away. He had a somewhat stellar career, with 4 consecutive All-Star Game appearances, but since his 13-year career in the NBA came to an end in 2006, Vin Baker has had quite a few financial troubles.
He actually did try to invest his money, but a series of poor investment decisions and the fact that he tried to go around the system forced him to pay over $1,000,000 in back taxes. He did sue a financial firm for negligent management, but his alcohol abuse, combined with his reckless lifestyle and a 2007 DUI arrest are probably the sum of his life.
Even though he was a superstar in the court, Vin Baker didn’t wander off the beaten path of financial instability among ex-NBA Players. Even so, he was last seem working as a store manafer for Starbucks in Connecticut, but landed a gig as a basketball analyst with Fox Sports more recently.
2. Antoine Walker
Antoine Walker, former NBA All-Star for 3 seasons, was one of the best forwards in the NBA in his prime, averaging more than 20 points per game in 6 of his 13 years in his career. His total career stats featured 17.5 ppg, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals and almost 2 three-pointers per match. He made $110 million from his wages during his time in the NBA, but exactly two years after his retirement from the NBA, Antoine Walker had filed for bankruptcy.
He had an unusual addiction for sports-cars, as his collection once featured a couple of Bentleys, two Mercedes, an Escalade, a Range Rover, a Hummer and a Maybach. A little too much if you ask me. Moreover, Antoine Walker had a tendency to spend a ton of money on family and friends, as he supported an entourage of 70 people, and the costs were insane. Combined with his gambling addiction that cost him more than $700,000, Antoine Walker hit rock-bottom in 2009, when he was arrested for writing illegal checks to casinos.
At least he has made some efforts lately to warn others from his fate, participating in various short films and documentaries about falling from financial grace. He is a part of NBA’s Rookie transition program, that teaches new-comers to the NBA on how to use their money wisely.
1. Allen Iverson
Once a league MVP and former NBA scoring champion, Allen Iverson was just as dramatic off the court, as he was on it. Despite earning well over $150 million in earnings, he was found standing on a courtroom during divorce proceedings, pulling out his pockets in an attempt to show that he can’t even afford a cheeseburger.
Just like some other players in this list, Allen Iverson got crazy with his well-deserved NBA earnings, as he lost most of it to feed his gambling addiction, legal fees, strip clubs, alcohol troubles and more. He is said to have been feeding a whopping 50-person entourage at some point in his life. Luckily for him, he signed a deal with Reebok that set him up for a $30 millions trust fund, but he can’t get hold of that money till he is 55.
These days, AI is participating in a makeshift 3v3 tournament hosted by Ice Cube, that might not fill AI’s pockets with money, but it reminds us what a great player he was, and how things can easily make a turn for the worst.