From Riches to Rags

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How Did These Stars Go Broke After Finding Success in the NBA?

The transition into life after the NBA is one of the most challenging aspects of being a professional athlete.

Back in 2012, a Bleacher Report article noted that an astounding 60% of NBA players file for bankruptcy within five years of retiring from the league. It is an incredibly high number but one that unfortunately is a product of the sudden drastic change in salary.

While in the league, players make millions per year and feel as if they are on top of the world as they real in wads of cash. They make risky investments, attempt to provide financial aid for family members and friends, and ultimately show a complete lack of responsibility when it comes to their own finances. Then, as they retire and enter unemployment, it takes time for them to find a job and when they do, it doesn’t come with the salaries they have grown so accustomed too during their playing days.

With far lower salaries, players still maintain their poor investments, their mansions, and their third cousin’s friend’s sister’s house in Malibu which just so happens to also have a three-car garage.

Simply put, the salary isn’t there but the expenses persist, which leads former players down a dark path to bankruptcy.

As post-career bankruptcy cases skyrocketed with each decade, the NBA took it upon itself to provide players with financial literacy courses. Players now have carefully curated inner circles that include financial advisors – not only agents. As the game grows, players become smarter, yet there will always be those that fall through the cracks so here are the top-5 NBA stars who went from having it all to losing damn near everything.

5. Charles Barkley

One of the greatest power forwards of all-time, Charles Barkley spent 16 seasons in the NBA.

A top-five player in the league for the majority of his career, Barkley was also a member of the infamous Dream Team. All of the accolades came with plenty of cash, which Barkley quickly squandered following his playing career after being unable to overcome his gambling vice.

Luckily, he now holds a prominent role as a co-host on Inside the NBA which surely keeps him financially satisfied.

4. Eddy Curry

Eddy Curry was big, strong, and essentially an immovable object.

Curry consistently struggled with weight issues and during the latter part of his career, injuries began to plague him when he couldn’t get his conditioning and size under control.

Pulling back the curtain, Curry’s decade long career was riddled with misfortune. His nine month old daughter was murdered, he was charged for sexual harassment and was even involved in a robbery at gunpoint. After his playing days, everything fell apart, as very quickly he squandered $60-million dollars.

3. Antoine Walker

If you are looking for a case of blind spending, look no further than Antoine Walker.

A former All-Star with the Boston Celtics and an NBA champion with the Miami Heat, Walker enjoyed a successful 12-year career on the court. Off the court, Walker would make irresponsible purchase after irresponsible purchase like it was a part-time job.

Walker enjoyed shiny cars, purchasing himself two Bentleys, two Mercedes, a Range Rover, a Cadillac Escalade and a Hummer. On top of that, the generous Walker would spend millions on his friends and relatives, supporting nearing 70 people with allowances that ultimately led him to bankruptcy. He would hit a new low after being arrested in Las Vegas for writing ten fraudulent checks to casinos.

2. Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen – the great sidekick to the greatest ever.

A Hall of Famer and a superstar throughout his 17-year NBA career, even Pippen would be embarrassed to take a look back at his investment portfolio. The former Chicago Bulls legend blew away over $120 million over poor investments and delusional purchases.

Luckily, Pippen now works for ESPN and is hopefully back on track.

1. Allen Iverson

Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge how lucky Allen Iverson is to be only 10 years away from acquiring his $32 million trust fund from Reebok.

One of the most illustrious careers in NBA history, it didn’t take Iverson long to squander nearly $200 million dollars following his 14-year career. Iverson would support around 50 of his close family and friends and would use the rest of his money compulsively gambling at Atlantic City and Detroit casinos.

Following his playing days, Iverson simply has had no answers.

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