Too Much, Too Fast, Too Soon

Boston Celtics v Indiana PacersWe’ve all heard the story: talented young athlete or entertainer quickly makes millions of dollars and loses it just as fast. In some ways it’s understandable. Many people who get famous fast come from humble beginnings where money is tight, and then suddenly have more than they ever dreamed of. The combination of humble roots and sudden riches isn’t helped by the lack of “wealth wisdom” many young people have.

According to a CNN Money article, one athlete who endured this “rags to riches to rags” scenario is former NBA star Antoine Walker. After growing up in a poor Chicago neighborhood, he won an NCAA championship at the University of Kentucky and got drafted by the Boston Celtics in the first round before the age of 20. Walker went on to play on three NBA All-Star teams and won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. Unfortunately, his financial success hasn’t mirrored his success on the court.

Although he made $108 million during his NBA career, Walker filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2010, just two years after he retired. At age 38 he was penniless and owed millions of dollars. Walker blames his financial downfall on many factors, including a lavish lifestyle (cars, jewelry, houses), and giving money to friends and relatives. He admits he became an “open ATM” throughout his playing career. Walker also lost money gambling, but he claims this wasn’t the main cause of his financial trouble. He says his real money issues resulted from the collapse of his real estate firm Walker Ventures during the Great Recession.

But, Walker learned from his mistakes. He and former NFL linebacker Bart Scott have teamed up with Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment to educate young athletes on managing their sudden wealth. Walker hopes he can help the young athletes of today make better decisions than he did.

If you’ve made poor financial decisions and find yourself in danger of having to file bankruptcy, you need to have experienced legal counsel at your side. Call the law office of McFarlin LLP today at (888) 728-0044 for a free consultation. We can help you put your financial life back on track.