Blowing Money (Too) Fast

Posted by By at 19 January, at 03 : 05 AM Print

NBA players are super talents.  Their skills are matched by no other league and it’s the premier place to play for ballers around the world.  With these talents come obscene and sometimes out of this world contracts.  These contracts are awarded to players in order to ensure a team can keep them playing for their city for extended periods of time.  

- Kobe Bryant – $24.8 million/season
- Rashard Lewis – $20.5 million/season
- Kevin Garnett – $18.8 million/season
- Tim Duncan – $18.7 million/season
- Michael Redd – $18.3 million/season

As seen by these insane annual salaries, players are being paid as if they are Royalty.  In the case of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and possibly Kevin Garnett some would say theirs are warranted.  Their level of play has elevated their teams to greatness as each of their respective clubs has won an NBA Championship.

In the case of the other 2 representatives of the top 5 highest paid players club, both Rashard Lewis and Michael Redd were paid based on past performance and neither have been able to live up to their hype.  Michael Redd has been injured for what seems like his entire career and Rashard Lewis has become nothing more then a role player since he arrived in Orlando and now even worse now that he is in Washington.

The meaning for all of this salary discussion is for a couple reasons.  Firstly, as the NBA Player Association battles on with the League and David Stern heading into this coming offseason to try and avoid a lockout. player salaries and revenues is front and center.  It’s clear to see if one evaluates the entire leagues salary structure that players are paid crazy amounts of money to play a sport.  Some may deserve it, but in most cases they don’t.  That’s the first and most obvious reason for this piece.

The second reason and one that sometimes gets forgotten is the fact that although these players are getting paid salaries that some people could never even dream about making they still manage to find ways to spend it all, and sometimes go broke.

2 extreme cases come to mind when this topic pops up. 

Kenny Anderson is a 14-year NBA veteran who was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the 1991 NBA Draft.  He played for 9 teams in his career and earned himself well over $50 million in player salaries.  His case is very a well known example of a player gone wrong.  His play on the court, although not at an All-Star level may not have shown it, but Anderson lived a lavish life with many cars, expensive homes and his spending was out of control.  He retired in 2005, and not so long after, filed for bankruptcy.  Spending money on himself, friends and family in amounts that exceeded his salaries (how, is a great question!) turned his life into an NBA joke as he went from an ex-NBA All-Star to a retired player who filed for bankruptcy and had to start over.

Matt Geiger, drafted by the Miami Heat 42nd overall in 1992 was a journeyman NBA player until he signed a $52 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001.  Unfortunately, he had continuous knee problems that forced him to retire the very next season after his contract was signed.  The light at the end of the tunnel for Geiger was that the contract earnings he signed for were still owed to him.  With his salaries earned, Geiger who by no means was ever regarded as an NBA Star purchased a 28,000 square foot home in Tampa.  In 2008, Geiger attempted to sell it for $20 million dollars and only recently sold it for $8 million.  That’s 60% less than his original asking price.  Bad timing and the recession could be blamed for his misfortunes, or mismanagement of his assets.  Below is a listing of some of the amenities he had installed in his home.  Bare in mind he was no where close to being regarded as an All-Star:

- Putting green
- Artificial Lake with 2500 bass fish
- A purchased herd of livestock
- 40 televisions, 18 with Xbox systems
- DJ Station and Dance floor
- Hot tubs

For a player whose career was cut short due to injury, it’s clear to see he had the wrong people managing his assets.  Although he has yet to file for bankruptcy and may never do so, he obviously should have had better management of his money and is a great example of improper spending just because he had it.

This is an epidemic in professional sports.  You see players making money they couldn’t dream of, who grew up in lower class families in some cases who are thrust into stardom.  Thrust into the limelight and given money to burn.  In a lot of cases and in the examples show above, the money is burnt.

Professional sports leagues are taking action and have all instituted classes and assistance through their player associations to help educate young players coming into the league.  The unfortunate thing is, so long as money is being handed out and lavish items are available for purchase, cases like the two listed above will keep popping up.

As Rick Ross says so poetically…”We Blowin Money Fast on This 1


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