Basketball stars get ridiculously rich.
It’s the American way.
But some players have struggled with their
obnoxiously huge wads of cash in ways that
most people could’ve easily seen coming.
Latrell Sprewell was one of the bigger hotheads
of the NBA, and in the end it severely affected
He managed to earn a whopping $100 million
over the course of his career, but he’s lost
virtually all of it, thanks to some bad decisions
that started in 1997.
He was infamous for getting into fights; Sprewell
once got so mad at something that his coach
PJ Carlesimo said to him during practice that
he attacked him.
This led to his $24 million contract being
He managed to get it back in the end, but
it proved that when he was angry, he wasn’t
This continued when Sprewell was offered a
contract extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves
that would’ve earned him up to $30 million.
He spit on the offer, saying it wasn’t enough
money because he had, quote, “a family to
Either that’s one huge family or they eat
a ridiculous amount of food.
In the end, he only played one more year and
earned significantly less.
Everything went downhill once he stopped playing.
He racked up legal fees, lost his yacht and
both of his mansions, and failed to pay $3
million in taxes.
Out of that fortune of $100 million, it is
estimated Sprewell is now worth $50,000 and
lives in a rental property.
Antoine Walker made $110 million during his
With even the tiniest bit of foresight, that
would set most people up for life, but Walker
managed to blow it all away.
He was drafted at age 19 and suddenly had
more money than he’d ever seen in his life,
so he did the right thing and got himself
a financial adviser.
Then, he completely ignored him.
“I would travel with eight to ten people with
me and pay for their flights, hotel rooms,
eating on the road.
So you add up those combinations of things,
you know, we used to have real big bills at
the end of those trips.”
For one thing, Walker was supporting his extended
family, which is a lovely thing to do, but
it was also expensive, especially when he
built all of them multimillion-dollar homes.
But not all of his expenditures were so selfless;
he bought himself numerous fancy cars, including
a $350,000 Maybach.
His wardrobe choice was designer suits, and
he couldn’t wear the same suit twice.
He tried to invest by buying 140 different
properties, but then the real estate bubble
burst, and he lost everything.
In 2010, he had to file for bankruptcy and
sold his championship ring.
Now he’s just trying to save enough so he
can retire one day.
Vin Baker lost nearly $100 million, but he
doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him.
He told the Providence Journal losing all
that money was just a life lesson and he’s
perfectly fine now, even if that means that
he was training to become manager of a Starbucks
in 2015 to support his family.
Baker’s problems started with alcoholism.
At one point during his career, he began binge
drinking and ended up getting suspended from
paying three times.
Then, the Boston Celtics terminated his contract
with $35 million to go.
He ended up getting some of it back, but things
kept getting worse.
“A hundred million dollars or a hundred dollars
with a disease is zero no matter how you add
Two years after Baker stopped playing, his
$3 million house was foreclosed because he
couldn’t pay the mortgage.
Then, a restaurant that he was a partner in
went out of business.
He found out his accountant was screwing him
over and took him to court.
He eventually had to auction off the Olympic
gold medal he won in 2000.
These days Baker is full of advice.
He says it’s important to know where every
cent goes, whether you’re a rookie earning
$50 million or a Starbucks barista.
He also says he’s just happy to be alive and
not in jail; today, Baker has returned to
basketball and works with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Derrick Coleman was a number one draft pick
and 1991’s rookie of the year, and his salary
Some say he never totally lived up to his
potential, but he still managed to rake in
$87 million while playing.
But then, he filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
Coleman isn’t like most of the players on
He didn’t blow away his money away at a casino
or buy himself 40 Rolexes.
Instead he tried to give back to the community;
He knew the local economy was in more trouble
than the rest of America and wanted to do
what he could to help.
Unfortunately, he just did it at the wrong
time and lost everything because of it.
Coleman’s ideas were good.
He invested in real estate, including a mall
in one of the city’s worst-off neighborhoods,
in order to create jobs and foster more business
But in 2009, just a year after the economy
crashed, he defaulted on the loans for the
His bankruptcy attorney blamed both the economy
and the failing real estate market, and Coleman
ended up owing his creditors almost $4.7 million.
But not all was completely lost; despite losing
virtually everything, Coleman still has access
to his NBA pension.
Most of these ballers lost all their money
after they stopped playing and the paychecks
weren’t coming in anymore.
But Eddy Curry managed to top them all: he
was millions in the hole while he was still
in the NBA.
He lost some of it tragically, like when he
was held up at gunpoint and robbed of $10,000
in cash and jewelry.
But he only has himself to blame for losing
most of it.
Nine years into his playing career, after
he had already earned $57 million, Curry was
$2 million in debt and defaulted on a $585,000
His logic on that one was interesting: he
said that he shouldn’t have to pay it back
because he already had too many expenses.
It emerged that those outgoings included $30,000
a month on “household expenses,” giving $17,000
a month to his relatives, and, for some reason,
$350,000 to another NBA player.
Then there was his $6.2 million mansion which
he bought in 2006; he’d fallen $220,000 behind
on the mortgage by 2009.
The house was foreclosed and auctioned off,
all this despite Curry earning $70 million
by the time he was done playing.
As a WNBA player, Sheryl Swoopes’ chances
of getting as rich as her male colleagues
were relatively slim.
But she was so good that she managed to do
what only a few male athletes do: she got
her own sneaker line, known as “Nike Air Swoopes.”
The shoes made her a ton of money, and at
one point, her fortune was estimated at over
Somehow, it all disappeared.
For one thing, Swoopes is alleged to have
made some really bad investments, but some
of it wasn’t really her fault, as lawyers
and agents may have completely screwed her
In 2004, she filed for bankruptcy, and five
years later, she still hadn’t fully recovered.
She was 37 and couldn’t afford rent, nor could
she pay the $300 per month she owed on a storage
unit housing some of her most prized possessions,
so mementos of her college, Olympic, and professional
careers were auctioned off.
It was a hard fall for one of the best female
athletes of all time.
Darius Miles was drafted straight out of high
school, so he was probably too young to know
what to do with his money.
In 2000, he signed a $9 million contract and
had plenty of other income streams as well.
Michael Jordan gave him an endorsement deal
with his athletic brand, and he even dipped
his toes in Hollywood, acting in movies alongside
Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds.
But by 2016, the money was gone, and he filed
Some of his expenses were understandable,
like when he bought his mother a house.
He seemed to like property, because his bankruptcy
filing revealed he owned 13 homes, but they
either weren’t paid off or they weren’t worth
much because he listed only $460,385 in assets
against $1.57 million in liabilities.
In 2010, Miles was sued for child support,
and four years later he had to sell one of
He may also have been a bit too willing to
help out someone in need.
Wherever the money went, creditors wanted
to recoup their losses, so his stuff was auctioned
The haul included a waffle iron, karaoke machines,
game consoles, and tons of signed memorabilia.
It’s not clear where all of Delonte West’s
money went, but we do know that by the time
of the 2011 NBA lockout he was crying poverty.
According to ESPN, he had lost the $14 million
he had earned in his career up until that
He couldn’t bide his time off during the lockout
by signing to a foreign team, as he was on
probation for weapons charges.
Instead, he applied for a job at Home Depot.
A month later, he posted a photo of himself
in a delivery van, having gotten a job with
a furniture store.
He had also reportedly sold most of his cars
and jewelry to try and stay afloat.
Even once Delonte started playing ball again,
things didn’t go so well.
He could only afford to live in a rental,
but landlords don’t like to rent to people
with gun charges, so he ended up sleeping
in his car or the locker room.
He earned another $2 million, but that seemed
to go away, too.
In 2016, a fan saw him wandering shoeless
in a Jack in the Box parking lot.
When asked if he was Delonte West, he replied,
“I used to be, but I’m not about that life
Jason Caffey could be the poster boy for how
to very stupidly lose $29 millions as a basketball
But maybe since he was busy winning championships
with the Chicago Bulls, he didn’t have time
to think about planned parenthood.
Instead, he found himself broke.
Caffey has so many kids that there doesn’t
seem to be a consensus on the actual number.
He may not even know how many are out there.
By 2016, he had at least ten children by eight
different women, and those women expected
When Caffey stopped playing and the checks
stopped coming in, the parental expenses basically
He filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007,
but a judge turned down his petition, allowing
the mothers of his children to sue him for
Overall, he had debts of $1.9 million and
only $1.15 million in assets.
Chris Washburn was drafted in 1986 and made
numerous millions during his three years in
the NBA, but the thing that cut his playing
career so short would be the same thing that
caused him to blow all his money: his drug
He was still only 24 when he was sacked from
the league after failing three drug tests
in three years.
He had to sell his house and soon was in dire
straits, living on the streets or staying
with friends, begging for food or even sometimes
eating out of garbage cans.
A friend said he looked dirty and would call
people up to ask for money.
He reportedly hung out in crack houses and
had some run-ins with the law.
Eventually he went to jail, where he was invited
to play for the prison basketball team.
“You’re looking at the only person in the
NBA history that is banned for life.”
Washburn seemed to have turned his life around
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