In a recent interview with “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Sheree Whitfield and retired professional basketball players John Salley and Antoine Walker, TJ Holmes asked questions that many of us regular folk would love to know the answer to: How is that professional athletes with million dollar contracts find themselves in financial ruin after they depart from the league? Why were these three specifically chosen to speak on the poor money management of pro athletes, you ask? Well, Antoine Walker who is the ex of Basketball Wive’s Evelyn Lozada is popular for running through $110 million dollars like it was water. If you’ve ever watched “Real Housewives of Atlanta” back in it’s “Sheree days”, you’ve probably heard her discuss what poor financial shape her ex-husband former NFL player Bob Whitfield is in. And by TJ’s tone, it seems that John Salley may have also face financial hardship at one point or another. Here’s some of what they had to say:
Antoine Walker on how he went broke:
“Well, that’s easy on the outside. The realization of it is when you come in the league at 19 years old; it’s really hard to understand what a million dollars is. I didn’t know what a million dollars was and what wasn’t a million dollars. I didn’t know that was $600,000. Thinking about taxes, thinking about things you don’t think about before you are in the league. I’m an inner city kid. I come from a very struggle background. I’m the oldest of six. I have two kids of my own. So now obviously you start providing for them. You put yourself in a lifestyle that you like and create. I lived a very expensive lifestyle.”
Antoine Walker on how much he spent on Evelyn:
“She lived a very good lifestyle. I was with Evelyn for 10 years.[...] Some millions. When you are with someone you are giving them cash. They aren’t taking taxes out of that. That’s a big difference. But she was with me, we were together. Obviously, I was taking care of her and her daughter.”
Sheree on the role she played in her husband’s financial turmoil:
“I didn’t find out that he wasn’t doing so well [financially] while we were married until after we were going through the divorce. When I met Bob I was an accounts payable supervisor. When we got married I offered to help pay the bills around the house. I had no knowledge of what was coming in or going out.”
“I should’ve probably been more involved, but I wasn’t. He wanted to control his finances. He made the money. I didn’t have a problem with that. I trusted my husband. And I did was I was a loving wife. I stayed home and made sure the house was taken care of and the kids were taken care of. I did not have any say so in the finances.”
Sheree on whether or not she and Bob’s split was because he went broke:
“Absolutely not. It had nothing to do with money… It was a slew of other things.”
Antoine on women being that contributing factor in the financial ruin of professional athletes:
“You set the lifestyle for the woman. You pretty much let them know what they can get away with and what they can’t get away with. With the things you buy them you kind of set the precedent for what things are gonna be. Usually the man feels like if this is my arm piece, the woman I’m going to be with, the one I’m going to show off, they’re usually going to make sure that she looks nice, she wears the best things and she has the best things on.”
In typical John Salley fashion, he of course interjected and called Antoine’s explanation “tricking”. He also urged all new players in the league to seek financial advisers before they do anything else. It’s great to see that such a common issue in the Black community is being addressed and hopefully players will take heed to the advice being offered.
Check out the interview on the next page. Who do you believe is responsible when professional athletes go broke?