An estimated 60% of former NBA players go broke within five years of retirement. Crazy to think that six out of ten NBA players will be cleaned out within only five years of leaving the league. These numbers are changing for the better, slowly but surely, as players coming into the league are more educated about their finances and more careful about choosing their financial advisers. We don’t see as many players with an entourage as we used to before.
Here’s the list of ten NBA players who managed to lose their massive fortunes, ordered by the amount of money lost.
10. DENNIS RODMAN
Considering his lavish lifestyle throughout the years, it’s a bit surprising that Dennis isn’t ranked higher on this list. Rodman was arguably the most prominent celebrity the NBA had during the 90s. And OK, Michael Jordan was a global superstar at the time, but Rodman was in a class of his own. Hanging out with Tier A singers and movie stars of the time, Rodman racked up a reputation that went beyond the NBA arenas.
According to Spotrac, Denis earned a total of $27 million over his 12-year career. However, his net worth today is estimated to be around $500,000. ‘The Worm’ hit rock bottom in 2014 when he didn’t have enough to pay child support, claiming he was “sick and broke.”
Rodman was also the victim of a financial scam, pulled off by Peggie Ann Fulford – a woman posing to be a financial advisor. Fulford claimed that his financial troubles were caused by his bad spending habits and used that reasoning to take full control of Rodman’s accounts. She’s now serving a 10-year sentence in prison after being sentenced in ’18 for interstate transportation of stolen property.
However, her statement of Rodman’s poor spending habits had some merit to it. Rodman allegedly spent significant dollars on alcohol and strip clubs. He also had a lot of legal troubles, from drunk driving to a domestic disturbance call. Dennis also paid a fair share of NBA fines, the biggest one being $200,000 he had to pay after kicking a ref. He was also suspended for 11 games, meaning that the incident cost him around $1 million. Given Rodman’s current financial situation, it wasn’t worth it. Not by a long shot.
9. JASON CAFFEY
Jason Caffey was a solid contributor for the Bulls during their title run in ’97. He went on to have an OK NBA career, earning roughly $34 million over 8 years in the league.
When is $34M not enough? How about when you’re a father of ten kids. All his financial troubles boiled down to child support payments. It got so bad that he filed for bankruptcy in ’07, listing $1.9 million in debts compared to $1.5 million in assets. According to ESPN, just months after his bankruptcy case got shut down, an Atlanta judge ordered Caffey to be arrested after he failed to pay more than $200,000 in child support and legal fees to one of the mothers of his children. That was all result of Caffey’s distorted perception of what love meant. He taught love was measured by the number of children.
That’s what I equated love with, and that was definitely the wrong thing to do,” Caffey said. “I was sort of narcissist with that. And I felt like I could control my own destiny, and I couldn’t.Jason Caffey, via Chicago Sun-Times
Such a chain of events led to Caffey battling depression and anxiety, as he fought with them for a long time. It seems that Caffey has recovered, and he’s using his platform to help young men avoid making his mistakes, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness.
8. ERIC WILLIAMS
The Boston Celtics selected Eric Williams with the 14th pick in the ’95 NBA Draft. Coming out of Providence, Williams was a promising young prospect at the forward position. He went on to have a solid NBA career, averaging 8.6 points over 12 years he had spent in the league. But very few will remember him for what he did basketball-wise.
Williams earned a total of $39 Million during his NBA tenure. It sure sounds like more than enough. Not for Eric, though, as his net worth is estimated at -$100,000. Williams claims that he is now broke and homeless despite earning millions during his NBA career. These statements were made in a letter he wrote to a Colorado court explaining why he could not attend a child support hearing in CO earlier this month. Among the reasons, Williams said, “court-ordered citation for me to appear was not delivered to my home address as I have no home.”
The father of a 13-year-old reportedly owes about $24,000 in back child support payments to the child’s mother, said his financial situation is so dire, he can’t afford airfare and has no money to pay a lawyer. Williams said he is currently a volunteer at an unnamed non-profit organization — and that he’s in the rebuilding stages of his life.
7. KENNY ANDERSON
How does one go from earning $63 million to only being worth $800,000? Just ask Kenny Anderson; he’s got the recipe. And it once again involves paying hefty amounts of child support.
The New York City basketball legend has had three divorces, eight kids, and pays child support to two of his ex-wives. As for the other ex-wife, she challenged their prenup agreement and strolled off with half of everything Anderson earned while they were together. Safe to say she got the biggest slice of the pie. Besides giving his money to the women he had children with, Kenny also gave a lot of it to his friends to help them pay their rent and his mother.
No one stole my money. My mother, may she rest in peace, had a carefree life for 20 years. I spoiled my mother to death. I didn’t know how to say ‘no.’Kenny Anderson, via Mr. Chibbs
Anderson later admitted he had great attorneys that advised him how to spend his money during his career. But obviously, he didn’t listen. Kenny’s experience did teach him a lesson, but it was the one he paid dearly for. That’s why, when asked about advising current NBA players on how to deal with their money, Anderson has some tips.
Be cautious on who you allow to handle your finances and always check your tax returns, invest wisely, and before making any purchases, ask yourself if what you’re purchasing is a need or a want.Kenny Anderson, via Forbes
6. EDDY CURRY
Coming from Thornwood High School, Eddie Curry checked every box as one of the most promising high-school recruits. However, the guy once dubbed “Baby Shaq” never realized his immense potential. A series of questionable lifestyle choices led to a myriad of financial troubles. Curry earned $70 million over his 11 years in the NBA, but today has a net worth of “only” $3 million. I bet you’re wondering how’s that possible. Well, here’s how.
At some point, I kinda fell in love with helping people. I couldn’t say no. I could not listen to somebody crying on the phone, telling me something was wrong and just know or feel like this money could help them. So I was like ‘hey bro I got you, what you need $1,500? I got you ‘They’d be like ‘$1,500 would do, but if you had $3,000 that’d be better ‘and I’m like ‘I got you. ‘When you’re doing that to 15 different people, it adds up.Eddie Curry, The Player’s Tribune
That is just a drop in the ocean of Curry’s poor off-court decisions that led him to financial problems. But it does paint the perfect picture of how Curry mismanaged his money. It seems like Eddie is your textbook example of came from nothing type of NBA player who had a hard time adjusting to the fact he suddenly became a millionaire.
I mean, the guy paid $1,000 for a cable TV. He also spent $17,000 per month renting a home while playing in New York. The hefty center also kept a house chef for $72,000 a year. Add it all up, and it makes sense how it all went down the drain. Eddy sure didn’t spend it wisely.
5. SHAWN KEMP
Over his 14-year NBA career, Shawn Kemp has made around $91 million in salary and around $11 million from endorsement deals. The Supersonics’ fan-favorite led Seattle to the NBA Finals in ’96 with his partner in crime Gary Payton. But it all went downhill after that. Kemp hit rock bottom after getting traded to Portland in ’00, where he went from 18-points scorer to a bench-riding role player. What was happening off the court had a lot to do with it.
Shawn Kemp is a father of seven children by six different women. Paying for houses, cars, and food, while also paying for child support is not exactly cheap. Kemp also had a fair share of legal troubles that started while he was still in the league. By the time he got to Portland, Reign Man had struggled with cocaine and alcohol addictions. It got so bad that he had to go through rehab during his year with the Trailblazers. Shawn’s legal troubles continued even after his career, as he was arrested multiple times for marijuana possession.
While he is not entirely broke, Kemp’s net worth is estimated at $5 million. His career earnings were drained by child support payments and Kemp’s drug-related legal troubles. Today, Kemp works in hospitality as a part-owner of Amber’s Kitchen in Seattle, trying to stay on the right track.
4. VIN BAKER
One of the most extraordinary cautionary tales in NBA history is the story of Vin Baker. Vinnie played 13 seasons in the league, was a four-time all-star, and a top-tier Power Forward in the NBA at the time. He was also an Olympic gold medalist in Sydney back in ’00. But he doesn’t own his medal anymore. Baker sold it in ’14 for $67,642, becoming the first pro-U.S. men’s basketball player since NBA players started playing in the Olympics to sell his Olympic medal. But Vin didn’t do it on a whim. He was forced to do it.
Toward the end of his NBA career, Baker battled alcoholism. In ’08, he had his $3 million home in Durham, Connecticut, foreclosed on for failing to pay his mortgage. Earlier that year, a restaurant Baker was a part-owner of also went out of business. A series of poor investments combined with his alcohol addiction led to Baker losing nearly $100 million he’d earned during his NBA career.
Today, Baker’s net worth is estimated at around $500,000. But more importantly, he’s getting back on track. Vinnie’s been sober for nine years and has found a way to get his life in order. For years, he’s worked at Starbucks, and today, he’s an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, once again making a name for himself in the NBA.
3. LATRELL SPREWELL
Most will remember Latrell Sprewell for choking his coach P.J Carlesimo. After Carlesimo yelled at Sprewell, he snapped. Sprewell charged his head coach and grabbed him by the throat, dragging him until teammates pulled him off. Twenty minutes have passed, and Sprewell still couldn’t keep his cool as he once again assaulted Carlesimo. Only this time, he punched P.J in the head. The incident cost Latrell millions of dollars, as the league suspended him for 68 games.
Sprewell did get a second chance in the NBA but once again blew it. Spree famously declined a three-year/$21 million extension by the Timberwolves in ’03 by saying, “I have a family to feed.” Well, Latrell, it seems you definitely could’ve used that money. Instead, he declined the contract and had never played in the NBA again.
Sprewell blew all of his money on a lavish lifestyle. An ex-girlfriend once sued him for $200 million. At one point, he owed $3 million to the state of Wisconsin in back taxes. A boat he owned was reportedly repossessed with $1.3 million worth of payments remaining and $650,000 worth of missed payments. Two of his homes were foreclosed on. It all led to the guy having a net worth of $50,000, despite earning nearly $100 million during his NBA career.
2. ANTOINE WALKER
Antoine Walker is an NBA champion and a 3x All-Star. During his prime, he was a force to be reckoned with. Walker had his best year with the Celtics during the 00-01 season when he averaged 23.4/8.9/5.5. Having such a resume earned Antoine $108 million, which is enough for most people to set them for life. So how does Walker only have a net worth of $250,000?
Like many other athlete millionaires, Walker became a victim of mismanaging instant wealth. He’d created a costly lifestyle, spending lavishly on cars, jewelry, and homes. Same as Eddy Curry, Walker also had a curse of not being able to say no. He estimates he helped about 30 people move to “better situations,” and you know he didn’t keep them accountable for it.
According to Walker, the most significant catalyst for his financial troubles was the Great Recession. It caused the implosion of Walker Ventures, his Chicago real estate firm, as Walker ended up being forced to pay back about $20 million to banks. Oh, and he also had sort of a gambling problem, although he keeps denying it being the cause of his financial collapse. According to reports, Walker had run up $882,500 in gambling debts at three different Las Vegas casinos. He was charged with three felony counts of writing bad checks and had pleaded guilty to the felony: Antoine didn’t face any jail time and was put on probation as he worked towards repaying the debt.
Today, Walker is working as a FOX Sports NBA analyst and is trying to teach young athletes not to follow his example.
1. ALLEN IVERSON
Allen Iverson tops the list of NBA players who lost their massive fortunes, as you’ve all expected. And let me tell you right away, no one had lost more than The Answer.
Over his Hall of Fame NBA career, A.I. earned over $200 million – $155 million from his salary and another 50-60 million in endorsements. But regardless of that, this NBA icon barely avoided going completely broke. And looking at his basic monthly expenses, it’s no wonder.
Iverson spent $10,000 on clothes, $10,000 on restaurants, $10,000 on groceries and goods, $1,000 on dry cleaning and $126,000 on creditors and mortgages. And that was only his costs on a monthly basis.
A.I. prided himself on taking care of his crew. And no, it wasn’t just his inner circle. Iverson took care of 50 people. He traveled with them, showering them with money and expensive cars. But it still wasn’t enough for some. Iverson kept his cash in garbage bags spread around the house because he didn’t trust banks. Allegedly, it was typical for a bag or two to go missing, but A.I. was never too bothered with it. I wonder who took it among those 50 people?
At one point, he arrived back at an airport and had forgotten where he parked his car. He just ditched it and bought a new one. You get the pattern by now. A.I. simply didn’t know how to manage his money properly.
Thankfully for him, that’s when Reebok came to play. In addition to paying $800,000 a year for life, Reebok set aside $32 million in a trust fund that Allen will not access until he turns 55 in the year 2030. This deal came to light when Allen’s ex-wife filed for divorce, and as a result of the divorce, Allen will inherit half the trust fund in 2030. Let’s hope he won’t throw it down the drain again.