Ex-Boston Celtics player, Antoine Walker, was a success story in basketball and finances. Walker made the NBA’s All-Star team three times during his career and in 2006 won the top prize in NBA with the Miami Heat. Walker has a classic rags to riches story, growing up in a poor Chicago neighborhood then hitting six figures at a young age.
But these classic stories have a too-often unfortunate ending – bankruptcy. Walker is one of many athletes that could boast of riches and fame during the highs of their hoop dreams and find themselves lost in bankruptcy once they’ve awakened to life after sports.
Walker made more than $108 million during his career, but filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010, only two years into retirement.
“I thought I was set for the rest of my life,” Walker said to CNNMoney. “My story is sad. It’s sad to see other guys work so hard throughout their life — and then they just lose it in two or three years.”
Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players hit hard financial times, reports CBS News.
Now, you can find Walker, 38, giving advice to young athletes on what not to do. He has partnered with NFL linebacker Bart Scott as well as Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment to bring lessons to sports players.
Walker took some time for himself and of course his finances to figure out what exactly went wrong.
“I created a very expensive lifestyle. That’s how you lose your wealth real bad at the beginning,” Walker said.
Walker bough fancy cars, jewelry, loaned multiple friends and family members money, gambled and lost his company Walker Ventures. Walker Ventures focused on real estate in Chicago but Walker says the recession ended his business. He had no choice but to file for bankruptcy in 2010.
He still faced financial challenges as 2011 brought a case where Walker pleaded guilty to felony bad check charges and was ordered to pay off gambling debts.
Walker realizes he made many bad financial decisions and is looking to use his life as a “real life” lesson to others.
“These individuals are forced to make decisions as teenagers and these decisions impact them for a long time,” Dre Hawkins, head of Morgan Stanley’s global sports and entertainment division, told CNNMoney
Walker and Scott are not the only ones looking to invest into players’ financial literacy and there are some players who retire and succeed after sports, such as former NBA star Adonal Foyle.
Foyle, previously of the Orlando Magic, went to college after retiring from the NBA to get a Masters in sports psychology which turned into a recently released book, Winning the Money Game: Lessons Learned from the Financial Fouls of Pro Athletes.
“I wanted this book to be a way to talk about financial literacy in general… we must all get involved,” Foyle told CBS.
Do you think the NBA should offer financial literacy programs to young players?