EVERY PROFESSIONAL sport has main draws and because these franchises generate so much income from the talents of these individuals, their compensation shoots up to the moon and back. These pro athletes receive obscene salaries and with it comes the lavish lifestyle. Even real blue-blooded royals with castles as mere summer homes cringe with the way they throw away money.
Most had been wise and hired financial managers on where and how to invest their earnings while others got blinded by the glitter and glitz they simply went from riches to rags. Here are notable NBA stars who made technical fouls of their huge earnings.
LATRELL SPREEWELL – Golden State’s 24th pick in the 1992 Draft, Spree had a great career with the Warriors until he choked head coach PJ Carlesimo during practice in 1997. It got him suspended for the rest of the season without pay. Traded to New York, he thrived with the Knicks until he was dealt to Minnesota. Before his contract ended in 2005 with the Wolves, he famously said, “I have a family to feed” declining a three-year, $21-million extension. His agent added that the $5-million mid-level exception offered to his client was “a level beneath which Sprewell would not stoop or kneel.” That ended his basketball career. Spree had earned more than $100 million in his career but with his questionable behavior and excessive spending, he’s now only worth $50,000. A 70-foot yacht as well as two mansions were foreclosed.
SCOTTIE PIPPEN – He is the only player to win an Olympic gold medal and an NBA title in the same year twice (1992 and 1996). He had a great career alongside Michael Jordan winning six NBA titles with the Bulls; once led the league in steals; a defensive specialist; and was on the All-NBA defensive team for 10 straight years. He had career earnings of $120 million but had bad investments including a $5-million private jet he never used and trusting a scheming financial adviser where he lost more than $20 million and about $1.4 million where his signature was forged to pay off personal loans by the same adviser. He’s total net worth now is $50 million, still fit for a king.
ANTOINE WALKER – Boston’s sixth overall pick, he’s a member of the deep 1996 Draft Class where 1/3 of the first round picks became All-Stars. He won a title with Miami in an important support role. Walker had career earnings of about $110 million but lost most of it thru bad investments, gambling debts, multiple houses and expensive cars. He declared bankruptcy in 2010 with almost $13 million in liabilities that even his championship ring was sold off. Nearing the end of 2013, Walker announced to the world that he is debt-free. He’s now worth less than $300,000 but earns his monthly keep as a sports analyst. He released a book and a documentary, “Gone in an Instant” focusing on wise spending and the lessons learned from his mistakes.
SHAWN KEMP – Hewas one of the best and more popular players of the ‘90s. Because he reigned over his opponents during his prime, Kemp was baptized by the league as the Reign Man and reign he did with his vicious dunks. He also reigned over women as officially, he fathered seven children from six different women. It was rumored that he fathered many more. He had career earnings of $90 million but he’s now only worth $5 million. He’s not exactly broke but the huge drop in his earnings went to child support and substance abuse. Sitting on a two-hectare land somewhere in Seattle, Kemp is selling his five-bedroom, five-bathroom house with a four-car garage, a swimming pool, tennis court, basketball court, putting green and a spa at a “discounted” $2.5 million. Interested?
ALLEN IVERSON – At six feet, he is the league’s shortest top pick ever and like Walker above, belonged to the 1996 Class and became NBA Rookie of the Year. He ranks along Jerry West and LeBron James as the only NBA players with career averages of 26 points and six assists. An 11-time All-Star and one-time league MVP, he was a four-time league scoring champion and three-time steals leader. He had career earnings of almost $200 million but squandered most thru reckless spending, jewelry, gambling (sometimes dropping $1M a night in Las Vegas and Atlantic City) and drinking which resulted in him being banned in several establishments for drunken behavior. His financial troubles surfaced when his wife filed for divorce and demanded child custody and support for their children. He was also ordered by a judge to repay a jeweler $900k, had houses in Denver and Atlanta foreclosed. Reebok bailed him out from trouble by signing him to a lifetime deal which pays him $800k annually up until now and has set aside a $32-million trust fund which he can’t touch until he turns 55 in 2030. We don’t know if he can wait that long but even then, he only gets half of it because his wife gets the other half. Iverson’s net worth today is roughly $1 million, thanks to Reebok’s generosity.
Millions of dollars squandered thru wasteful spending. Sad but true./PN