Most would fine it hard to image how someone can blow through $110 million in 12 years. But that is just what Antoine Walker, a former NBA champion and All-Star, did during his professional basketball career.
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Though, in an interview on ESPN’s “First Take” with co-hosts Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, Walker said that there are many misconceptions about how ex-millionaire athletes–including himself–lose their fortunes.
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“Personally, I was involved in a lot of real estate projects with the banks where I was the personal guarantor of the loans,” he said. “And when the recession hit back in 2007 and 2008, the banks went really hard after the money.
“There’s probably like 7 to eight banks that we had loans with. And it kind of hit me all at once. I had to pay back the money. Everybody’s situation is different. But that’s pretty much what down-spiraled mine. Just bad real estate investments.”
When co-host Bayless asked Walker if he blamed his financial advisers for his failed real estate ventures, he took personal responsibility.
“No. I don’t blame them. I blame more so myself. I think the one thing…that is difficult to do is to do investments while playing basketball. I think if it was one thing I would tell any young guy or anyone who’s playing and making money right now is to wait until the end of your career and start investing and start making money off the field or off the court.”
He added that his time-consuming NBA schedule kept him out of the loop of what was happening with his investments.
“By me not being able to watch over everything, watch all of the moves, be on top of all of the court decisions and things like that and just playing and being unaware of so many things that were going on, it makes it very tough to manage,” he said.
Smith, the other co-host, pressed Walker to discuss other ways he lost his fortune. He replied that he lived a “lavish” lifestyle that included 10-15 hanger-ons who he took care of on a “regular basis.” Walker believes he spent several million dollars on them, including business ideas they’d propose to him.
Walker’s story is one among several in a new ESPN documentary film “Broke” that profiles professional athletes who made big money and ended up losing it all. It aired on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 and will air again on Oct. 24. Here is the schedule.
The one-time NBA champion who was once engaged to reality TV star Evelyn Lozado during the height of his career, had to sell his NBA championship ring he won with the Miami Heat back in 2006 to help settle his debts, according to TMZ.