Former Michigan hero Rumeal Robinson made news last week for scamming his own adopted mother out her house. Not cool, dude. A Miami newspaper decided to dig deeper and find out how he became such a heartless (and penniless) jerk.
Here's a hint: Strippers. And cars and motorcycles and houses and guns and terribly ill-conceived real estate deals. Basically, any way that you can imagine a middling NBA player squandering his entire fortune, Robinson did it. He also managed to piss away hundreds of thousands of dollars in money that didn't earn, thanks to a shady bank officer who floated him and his friends over a million dollars in illegal loans. So where did it all go?
In August 2006, Community State Bank filed suit and found Robinson had spent the money on clothing and jewelry at upscale boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Bodega, and the Royal Shop. He had bought steak dinners, plane tickets, and expensive hotel stays at a Jamaican Ritz-Carlton, the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and the Abbey Hotel in Miami Beach. He had blown nearly $800 on smokes at Coco Cigar in Coconut Grove, and even bought a $10,000 M16 machine gun at Miami Police Supply in Little Havana.
He also leased at least three luxury Mercedes and BMW vehicles, and bought new Ducati motorcycles. When he didn't pay those bills, creditors demanded the vehicles back. Since 2006, Robinson has also been sued in Miami-Dade Court for not paying the leases on two Mercedes and a 2005 Maserati Quattroporte.
He didn't drive those precious vehicles very carefully. He has racked up 18 moving violations in Miami-Dade County since 2001, including twice driving with a suspended license. Robinson spent $1,500 of the business loan cash at Traffic Ticket Guy, a Deerfield Beach law firm.
Obviously, he's been sued into oblivion, but it doesn't matter because he's completely broke. One friend put his predicament into stark relief.
"He pulled up in a brand-new Mercedes SL500. He asked me if I had $20 for gas. He took me to seven or eight strip clubs, starting with Tootsie's. He would buy a Coke and nurse it for an hour or two, and I didn't see him give a dollar to the dancers."
You know, I don't want to be the obnoxious MSU fan here and I'm not trying to gloat over the misfortune of an ex-Wolverine ... but okay. I am genuinely curious. What if he doesn't make those two free throws against Seton Hall? Is he still a first-round drat pick? Does he make the same amount of money? Attract the same friends? Even if he does make the NBA, did that moment and all that came with it make him less humble, more entitled, more greedy? Did it change his character at all? Or was he always going to be the guy who blew his paychecks on strip clubs he shouldn't be at and cars he couldn't afford?
Every so often an athlete has their life dramatically changed by one specific moment. Before that moment in the NCAA Championship was Robinson's fate avoidable? Or was there always going to be a day at some point in his life when he would have to explain to a lawyer at a deposition that his only worldly possession was an extra pair of pants?