Acquiring $108 million is something none us of will ever experience. Sorry to burst your bubble so early on a Sunday, but somebody had to break it to you. In fact, that amount of money is something most of us couldn't even wrap our heads around, but blowing it is even more unfathomable (though, unfortunately common for many athletes in both the NBA and the NFL).
Former All-Star Antoine Walker (who's still only 38-years-old) knows the feeling, and he shared his story in hopes that today's players won't burn through their nine figures faster than dropping JPMorgan into the sun.
It started almost immediately after he put a pen to his rookie contract, because only a handful of people can handle those types of means at such a young age. Coming from a poor neighborhood in Chicago gave Walker no preparation for the wealth he was about to handle, and he instantly started handing out checks for jewelry, cars and homes. He estimates that he acted as an ATM for "30 people" to move to "better situations." He also gambled away some of his dough, but claims that (despite signing bad checks for a $770,000 gambling debt) media reports exaggerated betting's role in his downfall.
The real reason for the evaporation of his riches, Walker says, was the recession of 2008 and the resulting impact on his investments. The crisis caused his real estate firm (Walker Ventures) to lose $20 million in cash. As a consequence the bankruptcy forced him to sell his 2006 championship ring, and saw him trying to make a comeback to basketball by playing in both Puerto Rico, and the D-League.
Now he goes on a circuit teamed up with Morgan Stanley to be the living lesson young NBA players ought not to follow. On top of that, he has two key pieces of advice for you to prevent you from blowing your $108 million with the same reckless abandon:
1.) Tell people (see: Family and friends) "no"
once in awhile frequently.
2.) Remember that future you is going to need money too. Or, as Walker puts it, "You can still enjoy your life to the fullest, but let's preserve some of that wealth for your kids -- and for their kids."
Both rules are pretty obvious in hindsight...or, you know, just in general.
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