Every year when the new draftees come into the NBA, they are required to attend a rookie symposium. This is so important that every professional sport does the same thing. The purpose of it is to teach rookies the way of life in the big leagues. They go over several issues during the event, but the most important is how to manage the money that they are about to make. Most players have never seen the kind of money that they are going to come into. Even the league minimum contracts is a huge chunk of change that can lead to some awful decisions. But apparently not many pay attention during the annual meeting. Maybe it’s because they have too much confidence coming in and they think it will last forever. But clearly, they were not paying attention because one of the principal lessons is that the money doesn’t actually last forever.
Today you will read about several players that either didn’t pay attention or just didn’t care. Because after making millions during their playing days, they are now as broke as they were when they came into the league. The only difference is that now they owe lots of money as well. These are the same players that the new rookies are warned about as there are some huge names that blew it all.
You’ll learn who had a monthly allowance set aside to support 70 people, who purchased a private jet that was broken, who got a job at McDonald’s after their playing career ended and just how many players gave away millions of dollars by having kid after kid after kid. Thankfully one player on this list had one of his endorsement companies put $30 million aside for when he turns 55, but the rest may not be so lucky.
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15 David Harrison (Earned $4 Million)
David Harrison played for the Indiana Pacers for four years, but he may be more known for his participation in the Malice at the Palace incident (an on-court brawl with fans) than he is for his playing career. He didn’t do much on the court and that’s why his career was so short. A lot of the people on this list made huge amounts of money, so at least in that regard Harrison is different. But in terms of everyday people like you and I, that $4 million is a huge amount of cash.
In a true sign of how low he had fallen, In 2013 he took his son to McDonald’s and didn’t have enough money to pay for his Happy Meal. If you didn’t have the money to pay for it, why did you take him there, David? That’s pretty stupid in itself. But what’s more embarrassing for him is that the event led to him getting a job there. Yes, at McDonald’s.
So we know four things about David Harrison. He can participate in on-the-court fights, he can’t manage money, he makes dumb decisions and he can flip burgers. He may also be the only seven-foot-tall guy that works at a McDonald’s.
14 Rick Mahorn (Earned $7.6 Million)
Rick Mahorn was unfortunately not the only person on our list to come crashing down when the city of Detroit was hit with hard times. He had been a major player in the city for a very long time and he was part of the Pistons team that won the NBA title in 1990. In fact, he was even considered to be the leader of the “Bad Boy Pistons.”
After his playing days were done he joined the broadcast crew for the team and made a lot of investments around the city, most of them were in the real estate world. But the city that he loved so much brought him to his knees and forced him to file bankruptcy in 2010. This came after he had earned $7.6 million during his playing days.
He even had to sell the championship ring that he had won in 1990. On the list of people that he owed money to was the local library, to which he owed $55 for late fees. He may just be the only player in the history of the NBA that has been in a public library, let alone owe money to one.
While a lot of guys are not so nice off the court, Mahorn seemed to be one of the good guys. He tried to make wise decisions and help out the city at the same time. You have to give him some credit for that, it just didn’t work out for him.
13 Charles Barkley (Earned $26 Million)
Charles Barkley was one of the most colorful players on the basketball court during his playing days. He was a sports writer's dream as you never knew what was going to come out of his mouth next. A good plan of attack in the locker room was to just keep quiet and leave your microphone near him. This way someone else could ask the stupid question that would set Barkley off and they took the brunt of his anger while you got some good sound bites without the risk.
He made a ton of money over the course of his career (around $26 million), but he once reported that he lost a major chunk of it from gambling. Just how much? Barkley estimated that his gambling addiction had cost him roughly $10 million. That’s not just a bad day at the track or the casino, that’s more like a bad year!
Unlike many other former NBA stars though, Barkley knew he had a problem and took steps to correct it. But not unlike several other former stars, it took that major fall before he realized the extent of his problem.
While many of these athletes were not able to turn it around, Barkley was able to land a job working as a broadcaster for TNT. As a result, he is now one of the wealthiest retired players around but it wasn't always that way.
12 Dennis Rodman (Earned $27 Million)
Dennis Rodman played in the NBA for a long time. He was one of the best rebounders in the game for the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks. But anyone that saw him knew that he lived a different kind of lifestyle. He was very lavish and flamboyant and you could easily pick him out of any crowd. During his playing days, he made just under $27 million, but it’s now all gone.
In 2014 he was brought up on charges of failing to pay back child support. It was reported that he owed over $800,000 in back child support, but he couldn’t afford to pay it. His lawyer said that Rodman was “extremely sick and broke” and because of that he couldn’t keep up with his own living expenses let alone pay back child support.
The child support, alimony, and the constant flying around the country to party it up didn’t help matters in his financial world. The guy that was once on television just as much for his off the court partying, as he was for his on the court play, is probably wishing he was a bit smarter with his money.
11 Jason Caffey (Earned $34 Million)
Jason Caffey liked to do two things in life, play basketball and have sex. He did both pretty well and has plenty to show for each. He won a pair of NBA Championships while playing with the Chicago Bulls and he is the father of ten kids (that we know of) with eight different women.
During his playing career, he earned a little over $34 million on the court, not including outside endorsement deals. So you can safely say that he easily earned over $35 million. But apparently, that wasn’t enough to keep him from becoming a deadbeat dad.
One of the women claimed (and proved) that he hadn’t paid her any child support and he was arrested for it in 2007. He has also had his share of legal troubles which have cost him some money as well. In 2008, he tried to get out from under the deadbeat dad label by filing for bankruptcy. A judge denied the claim thus making him accountable for his sexual escapades and the results from them.
You would think that pulling in the kind of cash that he did during the height of his playing career that he could have dropped a few bucks on some condoms. It’s been a pretty expensive lesson for him.
10 Eric Williams (Earned $40 Million)
Eric Williams made nearly $40 million during his twelve year run in the NBA but it’s all gone now. Williams has claimed to be broke and homeless, but there really isn’t a lot of documentation on what he blew his money on.
From what can be found it looks like the same old same old as far as how he threw away all that money. It looks like the typical houses, cars, and partying theme that seem to accompany so many people on this list.
Some would bring up the old saying that “It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” as there are lots of rumors around that Williams just isn’t a nice guy. He did nothing to disprove those thoughts when he threw a drink in his ex-wife’s face on an episode of Basketball Wives: Miami. The show went a long way in showing that he hadn’t treated her well for a quite a long time. One of the cast members, Tami Roman, even chimed in once by saying “God doesn’t like ugly.” That was in response to his claims of being broke and homeless.
His career earnings were reported to be $39,835,520.
9 Kenny Anderson (Earned $63 Million)
Meet Kenny Anderson, who spent fourteen years in the NBA with career earnings of over $63 million. At least he had a plan coming in, as he had a budget for his money. His problem was however that he didn’t budget it wisely. Included in his monthly budget at one point was $10,000 that was put aside and called “hanging out money.” That must have been nice. Some people can’t spend that much in a lifetime just “hanging out.”
Some of his other spending was spent on a mansion in Beverly Hills, eight cars, and seven kids. Obviously, the seven kids required a good chunk of money for child support. The number was around $40,000 per month to be a little more precise. To make things even more complicated the kids from five different women.
Further depleting Anderson’s bank account was his divorce from Tami Ronan. Maybe she had an issue with his failure to purchase condoms. But she didn’t seem to mind what she got out of the divorce. When it was finalized she bought a nice new car with a vanity license that said “HISCASH”.
When Anderson's NBA career ended he went back to college and got a degree in 2010. You can hope he is putting it to good use. It has to suck to give away most of your earned income to support kids from five different women, but that's the price you pay when you aren't careful with sex.
8 Eddy Curry (Earned $70 Million)
Eddy Curry is living proof that a person can indeed be too nice. That along with some foolish decisions has led to the $70 million that he earned, vanishing into the wind. While he was once looked at as one of the most promising players, he is also the father of seven children. He can only hope that one of them grows up to be the basketball star that he once was, but just a little smarter with their money.
He was drafted into the NBA right out of high school as the #4 overall draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in the 2001 draft. From 2001 until 2008 he was a star and that’s when he earned most of that $70 million. But the next four seasons saw him play in only 26 total games and now he is out of the NBA and is now 33 years old.
In 2008, Curry was hurting for money so badly that he took a loan of $580,000 from Allstar Capital. It’s obvious that he was having a hard time finding someone to give him the loan because he got that one at a ridiculous 85% interest rate. That’s just insane.
Back in the day, he had a monthly allowance of $16,000 for friends and relatives. Yet he says that he doesn’t know where all of his money went. Let’s help him a bit, the already mentioned 16 grand a month didn’t help, seven kids, several bad decisions that were supposed to fix his money issues, but only led to making things worse, the 85% interest, oh and the twelve cars that he bought for family and friends. I wonder if those friends and family are still around today.
7 Derrick Coleman (Earned $91 Million)
Derrick Coleman didn’t blow his millions foolishly, well not all of them anyway. He spent a considerable amount of money on a Rolex watch collection, but most of the rest of his money vanished due to bad business happenings in Detroit. When the market crashed and Detroit was hit hard, countless businesses were impacted. It brought Derrick Coleman down with it along with the $91 million that he earned over his playing career.
Coleman was a part of many different business ventures in Detroit and you can’t fault him for trying to be a part of making the city better. But at that point, they had no idea what rock bottom really was. They eventually found out. He filed for bankruptcy in 2010 even though he owned parts of several fast food chains and part of a Hilton hotel. He stated at the time that he owed over $4 million and thanks to the crash he just didn’t have it anymore.
You have to feel for the guy. He is one of the few guys that you will read about on this list that actually tried to do something smart with his money. Things just didn’t work out the way that he had hoped.
6 Shawn Kemp (Earned $92 Million)
Shawn Kemp made just about $92 million during his 14 seasons in the NBA. But drug problems and a lack of condoms caused all that money to disappear.
He has faced many drug-related incidents and everything that comes with that is very expensive. The lawyers that are always more than happy to help out make sure that they get their cut. And when you have to use them constantly it can total up to a huge amount of change.
Then you have the seven kids that he has with six different women. At least he had two kids with the same woman. But those child support payments totaled up to a very large sum of money over the years and there is now nothing left of the $91,572,963 that he earned during his playing career.
Kemp has done a lot of embarrassing things since his playing days were over to try and earn some money, including taking part in Pros vs. Joes. But there really isn’t anything that can help overcome the amount of child support that it costs for seven kids. Maybe a box of condoms could have cut the number of kids down but it really doesn’t matter. If he had all that money that he paid out in child support, he probably would have just used it on drugs anyway.
5 Vin Baker (Earned $97 Million)
Vin Baker came to the NBA from the University of Hartford. It’s a small college located in Connecticut and not many leave there and then make $97 million like Baker did. And even fewer blew every penny.
Baker was an All-Star four years in a row and he put together a nice 13-year career in the NBA, most with the Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle Supersonics. He was worth the money that he was paid but like so many other he got involved in a lot of poor investments.
He had a lot of tax problems that cost him over a million in back taxes, but those weren’t his fault. He sued Brodeur & Company, who were certified public accountants because he felt that their mistakes caused the issue. But he made plenty of his own mistakes as well. You don’t just blow $97 million without making a bad decision or two.
Baker has long suffered from alcohol abuse and everything that stems from that has led to all that money now being gone. A DUI arrest in 2007 is just one example of the reckless lifestyle that he lived for such a long time. The former #8 overall draft pick probably wishes that he could do it all over again and make better decisions.
4 Latrell Sprewell (Earned $100 Million)
I love writing about Latrell Sprewell. If you are looking for the stupidest player to ever take the court in the NBA you will be hard pressed to find anyone that’s dumber than Sprewell. This idiot made over $100 million during his NBA career and it’s now all gone.
Every decision that he seemed to make was a stupid one. Like the time his coach wanted him to try a little harder during practice. Sprewell choked out his coach and then later returned to the practice court and attacked him once again. He was suspended for 68 games for that decision and he lost a lot of money during the suspension. Not that it would have helped him any in the long run.
He made a lot of ridiculous purchases when he had money and none of them paid off in the end. If you’re looking for justice though here it is. Minnesota offered him a three-year contract near the end of his career that would have paid him $21 million. Sprewell declined the offer saying that it wasn’t enough. After all, he had “a family to feed.” He never received a counter offer and no other team in the league made him any offers. His career was over. Just like that. I’ll bet his family was pleased about that decision.
Shortly after that, his $2 million mansion went into foreclosure and his $1.5 million yacht had to be sold at a 50% loss. You just know that he wishes that he could go back in time and take that $21 million offer.
3 Antoine Walker (Earned $108 Million)
Antoine Walker filed for bankruptcy in 2010, only two years after he retired from the NBA. He made over $108 million during his twelve-year career and blew it all.
But he didn’t do it alone, he had plenty of help. He had a posse of around 70 people that he supported and gave an allowance to. This would be friends and family that pretty much did nothing for him but stroke his ego for a price. He also had a few bad decisions that were made in real estate along with losses of over $700,000 in casinos. He had a very nice car collection though. He owned a pair of Mercedes, a pair of Bentleys, a Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover and a shiny red Hummer. But they’re all gone now.
Walker was arrested in Las Vegas in 2009 when he started bouncing checks to casinos. They tend not to like that. This happened while a bunch of creditors were trying to chase him down for money that he owed them. Maybe he was writing the bad checks to try and get all the money back.
I’m guessing that when he was writing those bad checks that none of those seventy people offered to give him any money back.
2 Scottie Pippen (Earned $120 Million)
Scottie Pippen was Michael Jordan’s right-hand man while playing for the Chicago Bulls and winning a fistful of World Championships. And he was paid very well for it. All told Pippen cleared over $120 million during his career for playing and endorsements. But it’s all gone now.
While he made a lot of good decisions while on the court, he didn’t do the same away from it. He made countless bad decisions on investments that he thought would pay off in the end. You can’t blame a guy for trying. But what you can blame him for is buying a private jet for $4 million. Oh yeah, the jet was also broken and it cost him over another million to get it fixed. For five plus million dollars he could have bought one that worked when he bought it.
Of course, it takes a lot of bad decisions to blow away over $120 million so the jet was only one bad decision. But it was a big one and it gives you a little insight to the thought process that Pippen had when going into financial ventures.
There is no denying that Pippen was one of the greats during his time on the basketball court. But he won’t be in the Hall of Fame for financial decisions with the money that he made.
1 Allen Iverson (Earned $200 Million)
You may remember Allen Iverson as the former star of the Philadelphia 76ers. He was the one that once told reporters that practice isn’t needed for him. It turned into one of the most famous basketball quotes in history. It went
“If I can't practice, I can't practice. If I'm hurt, I'm hurt. Simple as that. It's not about that at all. But it's easy to talk about and sum it up when you just talk about practice; we're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we're talking about practice. Not a game! Not a game! Not a game! We're talking about practice. Not a game; not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last, not the game, we're talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that? We're talking about practice. I know I'm supposed to be there, I know I'm supposed to lead by example, I know that. And I'm not shoving it aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important. I do. I honestly do. But we're talking about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice? We're talking about practice, man! We're talking about practice! We're talking about practice... We ain't talking about the game! We're talking about practice, man! When you come to the arena, and you see me play... You see me play, don't you?”
Great stuff there for sure. Before his NBA career even got started he had done a four-month stint in prison so the writing was on the wall with this guy. He blew a lot of his money by supporting his 50 person posse that included friends and family and he has been banned from casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City. Do you know what kind of an idiot you have to be to be banned from a casino? Their goal is to take your money and they won’t even let him in anymore. That alone is quite an accomplishment.
He drank a lot of his money away and lost a bunch in a divorce settlement. In that court appearance, he pulled his empty pockets out and told the judge that he didn’t even have enough money left to buy a cheeseburger. He gave away a bunch of money to attorneys as well for all of the legal trouble he was always in.
Unlike most people on this list however, Iverson has a saving grace. When he signed an endorsement deal with Reebok they put $30 million into a trust fund for him. He can get the money on his 55th birthday. The bad news for him though is today he is only 41 years old. He may not be around on his 55th birthday.