From the stars to the 15th man on the bench, players earn a lot of money for getting a NBA contract. Unfortunately, while getting huge paychecks can give a life of luxury, there’s still a possibility that one can go broke if these earnings are mishandled. From Dennis Rodman to Allen Iverson, let’s take a look at the richest NBA players who went broke.
Career earnings: $27 million
Dennis Rodman was one of the most notorious players of his time. With all his achievements in the NBA, Rodman has carved out a respectable amount of earnings from the NBA. Furthermore,f with his known personality, he has appeared in various shows and even wrestled in WWE. On top of these, Rodman also earned from endorsement deals.
But despite the lucrative earnings, Rodman eventually joined the broke NBA players club. With a lavish lifestyle and living out the “bad boy personality”, his financial stability took a hit. Apart from fines in the NBA, Rodman also faced several fines off the court for driving violations. He also faced legal issues regarding child support to one of his former wives. In terms of lifestyle, Rodman’s partying habits and expensive assets have also negatively affected his net worth.
Fortunately, Dennis Rodman has been actively participating in podcasts, authored some books, and launched his own line vodka.
Career earnings: $62 million
Known widely for being teammates with LeBron James, Miles carved out a respectable NBA career and earned a decent amount of money. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury hit Miles which eventually forced him to retire early.
While his basketball career was cut short, Miles’ retirement wasn’t forgiving either. Based on reports, Miles continued to live an extravagant lifestyle which threatened his financial stability. Furthermore, a string of failed investments also led to Miles eventually finding himself declaring bankruptcy.
Career earnings: $67 million
Glen Rice is one of the most decorated players in this list with a NBA championship and three All-Star appearances. Unfortunately after his playing years, Rice struggled with retirement. In 2016, reports claimed that Rice struggled to pay child support which demanded $1,500 monthly. He also suffered his own share of failed investments. In order to deal with retirement, Rice lived off of autograph signings and training camps.
Fortunately, Rice looks to be in a better situation today. Rice’s two sons Glen and G’Mitri Rice are both professional basketball players plying their trade overseas. Furthermore, Rice currently serves as the Miami Heat’s scout and community ambassador.
Career earnings: $83 million
A productive and lucrative career usually translates into a smoother retirement experience. However, that wasn’t the case for two time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year winner Larry Johnson.
Although he earned decent money from NBA contracts and endorsement deals as a player, Johnson squandered that hard-earned money. Based on reports, Johnson fathered five children with four different women. In 2015, the child support totaled to $120,000, which Johnson couldn’t pay. Thus, the two time All-Star declared bankruptcy.
Career earnings: $87 million
Coleman surprisingly went broke despite earning a lot of money from his paychecks as one of the young, promising NBA players of his era. Based on reports, an extravagant lifestyle and partying habits negatively impacted his financial position. In addition to this, an economic crisis in 2010 ultimately led to the failure of his investments in Detroit.
Fortunately, Coleman has been able to turn it around as of late. Based on reports, the NBA veteran returned to finish his college education at Syracuse University and earned a degree in Sociology. Coleman has been actively working for clean water and equality in Michigan. Moreover, he also continues to hover around basketball by running a summer basketball league program called DC Elite.
Career earnings: $90 million
When it comes to names, Shawn Kemp certainly rings a bell to a lot of NBA fans. Kemp has carved out a lucrative NBA career, especially if you also consider his partnerships with Reebok. Unfortunately, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Kemp now only has $5 million to his name. The big drop could be traced to Kemp’s obligation to pay child support, given that he is obliged to care for six separated families. Moreover, Kemp also had to pay for his criminal fees that included possession of drugs.
While Kemp had his fair share of legal troubles regarding possession of drugs, he has used his belief in marijuana to own a stake of the dispensary named after him.
Career earnings: $100 million
Like Shawn Kemp, Vin Baker is also one of the most decorated players in this list. But despite the decorated career and lucrative NBA earnings, Baker eventually squandered his wealth. According to sources, Baker engaged in bad relationships, substance abuse, and failed investments.
Although this spelled doom for some, Baker found a way to turn his life around by working at Starbucks in 2014. He eventually returned to basketball after serving as an analyst for FOX Sports. Moreover, he also worked as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and helped them win the NBA championship in 2021.
Career earnings: $100 million
Latrell Sprewell carved out a relatively successful 13-year NBA career. However, it was his decision to decline a lucrative deal that marked the beginning of his downfall. During the latter part of his NBA career, the Timberwolves offered him a solid contract extension, worth $21 million.
Sprewell would never be offered another contract with that amount of money. And after his final season in 2005, Sprewell felt the consequences of rejecting the lucrative deal. Based on reports, Sprewell had to sell his assets. Furthermore, he also needed to pay the state of Wisconsin for back taxes. And above all these, Sprewell’s former wife eventually sued him for $200 million.
Although Sprewell has mostly emptied his earnings from the NBA, he still lives a decent life. The four time All-Star works as a media personality for Madison Square Garden.
Career earnings: $108 million
Coming out of Kentucky, Walker would go on to play in three All-Star games and won his first NBA championship in 2006. He’s become the poster child of broke NBA players and it’s not hard to see why. While Walker shined on the hardwood, Walker was extravagant off the court. He possessed expensive homes, cars, and jewelry. Aside from that, Walker also had a problematic gambling habit. In 2011, Walker was forced to pay $770,050 in restitution to several casinos for failing to settle his gambling debts.
Since blowing away his earnings from the NBA, Walker has managed to recover. He worked as an analyst for Fox Sports Network and ESPN’s SEC Network. Furthermore, Walker now also works as a financial consultant with the hope that no other athlete will have to repeat the same mistakes he committed.
Career earnings: $200 million
It is hard to imagine that a beloved NBA star can go from riches to rags. While Iverson earned a huge amount of money playing in the NBA, he eventually squandered those due to his lavish lifestyle. The former MVP reportedly spent huge sums of money on his entourage. Furthermore, Iverson also had problems in managing his vehicles. Two years after he ended his NBA stint in 2010, Iverson was unable to pay his debt to a jeweler which resulted in him declaring bankruptcy.
Fortunately, Iverson’s unique lifetime endorsement deal with Reebok provided him a safety net from going completely broke. Furthermore, Allen Iverson was also entitled to collect money from the NBA, in terms of pension.