NBA Roundtable

Antoine Walker Is Broke + In Debt

In General NBA on October 25, 2009 at 10:02 pm

The Boston Globe reports

In the early morning hours of July 16, two Douglas County sheriff’s deputies were combing through the crowds around the gaming tables at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe casino in Stateline, Nev., trying to find a certain high-roller, a sort-of celebrity, a wanted man. They carried a snapshot with them, just to be sure they arrested the right guy.

It wasn’t a face they knew well, but we do.

It was Antoine Walker.

The article continues

A Globe review found that, during the last seven months, Walker has been pursued by multiple financial institutions for unpaid debts totaling more than $4 million. Court documents filed in Illinois and Florida reveal Walker was named a defendant in three recent debt-related civil cases, in addition to the ongoing check-kiting case. His former agent is also after him, citing a heap of unpaid fees.

Several National Basketball Association sources, among them friends and former teammates of Walker’s, said the 33-year-old player may well have squandered much of his $110 million-plus in career earnings.

Things are looking dire

“In the DA’s office’s last communication with Walker’s attorney, it was reported to us that Mr. Walker was trying to get a job,’’ said Stacey Welling, spokeswoman for Clark County. “If he gets a job, he can potentially enter into a payment plan to pay off the debt. Without a job and means to pay off the debt, criminal proceedings will go forward as planned.’’

Fun joke at Pitino’s expense

As Rick Pitino, then the Celtics president and coach, put it, Walker “will never have to worry about money again in his life.’’

Pitino’s prediction, like so many things about his tenure with the Green, proved way off the mark.

Antoine was spending willy-nilly

During his heyday with the Celtics, Walker played and lived with brash confidence. On the court, there were the reckless 3-pointers, the improbable game-winning (and sometimes game-losing) shots, the trademark wiggle as he celebrated his biggest baskets.

Off the court, there were the cars, the jewelry, the houses, the suits, the gambling. He liked to move in an outsized entourage; his mother estimates that, during his playing days, he was supporting 70 friends and family members in one way or another. And speaking of his mother, he built her a mansion in the Chicago suburbs, complete with an indoor pool, 10 bathrooms, and a full-size basketball court.

Bad loans

And he faces a host of other claims. This summer J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Wachovia Bank, and American Express Centurion Bank won decisions against Walker. He was ordered to pay J.P. Morgan Chase $1,571,771.47 and Wachovia $1,540,929.14 – both for failing to pay off sizeable promissory notes. From court documents, the loans appear originally related to Walker’s nonbasketball business endeavors.

Some guesses on where/how that $110 million went

Financial advisers often caution professional athletes to look at the big numbers on their contracts and subtract half for taxes. That rough math would have left Walker with approximately $55 million in career earnings to spend.

NBA agents and players contacted for this article say an annual “burn rate’’ of $2 million to $4 million isn’t unusual for the living expenses of an elite player. With Walker’s taste for the finer things, former teammates suspect he fell on the higher end of the scale. In the 10 years since his first max-contract, that could account for about $40 million of Walker’s total wealth.


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