Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker made over $110 million in his NBA career. Today all of it is gone. Yahoo Finance recently caught up with him to discuss what lead to his financial trouble as well as how he’s spending his time now that his basketball career is over.
Walker’s path to bankruptcy began his rookie year just as you might expect for someone coming into large sums of money for the first time at a young age. As the oldest of six kids, Walker built multiple multi-million dollar houses for himself and his family members. In addition, his list of car purchases were legendary. Bentley’s, BMW’s, a Maybach. You name it, he owned it. Combining his outlandish spending with an affinity for gambling made for a solid recipe towards financial disaster. Even still, the biggest culprit seems to have been his real estate deals.
Prior to the housing market crash, Walker, like many others, tried to get his money to work for him through real estate investments. But once the market crash hit, he began to default on his mortgages and since he couldn’t focus on his investments as well as he should have while also maintaining a full-time basketball career, eventually it all came crashing down. He admits he let his investments get away from him during this time.
“I think there were different ways of how I could have saved the bulk of my wealth. I could have been on top of it. I missed a lot of court dates, a lot of default judgments, there’s a lot of properties I could have kept that I thought were good investments.”
In 2010, Walker filed for bankruptcy due to what he cited as nearly $13 million in liabilities against only $4.28 million in assets. As a result, his credit cards were frozen and his assets were seized, including the NBA Championship ring he got as a member of the Miami Heat in 2006.
Today Walker’s life is quite a bit different from the life he lived during his playing days. He lives a modest life in a house in downtown Chicago he co-owns with other members of his family. He also no longer has any of the luxury cars he used to own. Instead, he uses Uber or he’ll hitch rides.
In March of next year, he is releasing a documentary and book called ‘Gone In An Instant‘, which he hopes will educate others on the importance of financial literacy. His advice for young NBA players in the league today:
“Get the word ‘No’ in your vocabulary. You’re going to have to say no to a lot of people that are very important to you. Stick to your financial plan and don’t invest until you’re done with your career when you’re able to be hands-on.”
Unfortunately his tale is far too common, but that’s certainly solid advice from a man who’d know.