Thursday, January 28

7 Bankrupt NBA Players Who Went Financially Broke

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Playing in the National Basketball Association requires a lifetime of training, sacrifice, and dedication. Only the best of the best can make it into the graces of the NBA alongside other legends of the court. However, success with a ball doesn’t necessarily translate into success with other aspects of life, such as managing finances and the risk of bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, it is incredibly common for talented basketball players to face financial ruin after or during their heydays on the court. To further explain this issue, we will be taking a look at seven bankrupt NBA players who lost it all.

1. Latrell Sprewell

“I got my family to feed,” were the words Sprewell used when offered a $21 million contract extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004. He turned down the offer because it apparently wasn’t enough money. Following this quote, the player never signed another NBA contract following the 2004-05 season.

Luckily, Sprewell retired with an impressive $97 million in savings. Unfortunately, it was all gone a mere three years later. This is due to a yacht repossession and his defaulting on a $1.5 million mortgage, causing his house to enter foreclosure. His cautionary tale serves as an exemplary warning about the financial distress of bankrupt NBA players.


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2. David Harrison

At an approximate 7ft tall, David Harrison certainly had the stature of an NBA player, but his natural talent simply wasn’t up to par with his peers. In the four years that he played for Indiana, he earned a little over $4.4 million. To the average person, that’s an insane amount of money that could last quite a while.

Unfortunately, the fortune slowly dwindled away until his credit card was declined in 2013. Harrison reportedly began making more money by trading stocks, but such a slow and gradual fall from prosperity has to be rough.


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3. Erick Strickland

Following a journeyman nine-year career across six different teams, Erick Strickland made over $13 million in his career. That sum of money is nothing to scoff at, but it can go pretty easily in just a few bad moves. In Strickland’s case, it came in taking the advice of a friend of a friend who had a promising business deal.

He paid out a significant amount of money to this friend for a piece of land that seemed to have investment potential. As you may have guessed, the land was not, in fact, anywhere near as valuable as what he paid. This led to the former player going broke and a falling out with the aforementioned friend.


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4. Derrick Coleman

Sometimes a millionaire attempts to invest their money in wise ways, as is suggested. This is the route Derrick Coleman took with his $91 million in career earnings following his exit from the NBA. Sadly, he invested in a ton of poorly timed business ventures, largely in Detroit, Michigan.

Coleman filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after owing millions to at least 50 creditors. Like some of the more fortunate bankrupt NBA players, the former player has since bounced back in a way, but times were hard there for quite a while.


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5. Larry Johnson

Commonly known as “Grandmama,” Larry Johnson amassed over $83 million in his NBA career. That could certainly be called a successful career, but his personal life was either a bit too successful, or unsuccessful, depending on how you look at things.

Johnson had fathered five children with four different women at the time. This led to some pretty hefty child support payments that amounted up to about $900,000 in debt to one woman. He gave up his $800,000 home in Orange County, California to help pay the debts, and the rest of his money was drained away by 2015.

6. Antoine Walker

Thinking about being able to financially assist friends and family seems really nice when daydreaming about winning the lottery or coming into an inheritance. That feeling of charity and generosity would be a wonderful thing to experience. However that is a pretty big factor in how former NBA player Antoine Walker ended up broke.

Walker earned an incredible $108 million during his career. Unfortunately, a circle of dozens family members and friends helped him spend all of that money. Toss in an extravagant car collection and gambling issues, and you have a perfect recipe for bankruptcy.


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7. Allen Iverson

Once an NBA scoring champ and league MVP, Allen Iverson fell prey to pitfalls that are common to many NBA stars. Iverson made a total of $154 million during his time on the court, and it was all pretty much washed away in a quick manner. Giving away money to friends, gambling addiction, legal fees, and alcohol issues led him to financial ruin. At one point he stated he couldn’t even afford a cheeseburger after his issues caught up with him.

Like many bankrupt NBA players, Iverson has reportedly bounced back into wealth, and he also has a $30 million trust fund from a deal with Reebok that will become available when he turns 55. All in all, he is doing quite well despite reaching rock bottom at one point.


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About Author

Fiona Thompson

Staff writer / Avid internet junkie / Devoted music aficionado