Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why 60% Of NBA Players Go Broke In 5 Years

Twelve years ago today former Boston Celtics point guard Kenny Anderson said something remarkable. He said that times were so tight that he might have to pare down his fleet of luxury cars. He owned eight cars including a Porsche, a Lexus, and a Range Rover. He was thinking of selling his Mercedes. Former Toronto Raptors player Jason Kapono said something even more remarkable. "I've seen an NBA player having two cars a day to drive. You know 14 cars, think about how absurd that is. You say 14 cars, all right, you may have some kids, a family of nine, but a single guy having 14 cars? It's one thing if Bill Gates wants to do that, but when you're 22 years old and you don't even have kids yet, it's not good."

A representative of the NBA Player's Association cited the statistic that 60% of retired NBA players go broke 5 years after their NBA paychecks stop arriving. "Sixty percent is a ballpark. But we've seen a lot of guys who've really come into hard times five years after they leave the league. The problems are, for a lot of guys, they have a lot of cars, they have multiple houses, they're taking care of their parents. They're taking care of a whole host of issues and the checks aren't coming in anymore", said Roy Hinson, the former NBA forward who's a representative for the Player's Association. 

"You see how guys live", said Kapono. "A lot of players get in trouble because they want everyone around them to lead the same lifestyle. So you fall into a hole. You buy this big house now for those people, and they no longer want to drive the low-end car to go with the big house. So the big house leads to the big car, to the better clothes, to the better restaurants and stuff. It's a snowball effect. That's why that stat isn't shocking because I've witnessed it."

Back in October of 2007, Jason Caffey who made $29 million during his eight year career was in bankruptcy court seeking protection from his creditors, among them the seven women with whom he fathered 8 children. Also in 2007, Latrell Spreewell, who famously turned down a $21 million contract, had his $1 million yacht repossessed. 

Look, I'm not purporting to have all the answers, I am just voicing my opinions and how I handle my own success personally. What I do know is that if you don't come from money, then it shouldn't be surprising that you will not know how to handle substantial amounts of money. Did my man Jason Kapono drop a Bill Gates blast? What Warren Buffet and Oprah didn't want any of that? He made a good point, these guys spend money like they're billionaires. If I were an NBA rookie I would: Get rid of the yes men, keep true friends that are honest. I would hire an accountant, a financial planner, and a lawyer to start. I would stay away from strippers errrr I mean young women with whom I may have a child out of wedlock. I take that back, but if you're going to "get down" as Michael Vick would say, I would mix in some condoms.

These guys kill me whenever I see 7 mothers and 8 children, think about how much grief a quick stop to Speedee Mart for some um... protection would save you. Like I said, I'm not perfect and I'm not rich, I have more than when I was in college though thank goodness. I know I'm a very fortunate guy and I can do a lot of things not a lot of people can. I also know what it's like to avoid family members who are constantly trying to borrow money they can't pay back and relationships get ruined. The hardest thing ever for me was telling the people I care about "No". A lot of these athletes haven't learned to say no, and they'd better learn before their careers are over.

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