In 12 years, Antoine Walker made roughly 55 million NBA dollars (after taxes, but not counting endorsement deals.) Yet, he has over $4 million in unpaid debts and faces felony check fraud charges. How the hell did that happen?
Well, since he bounced about $1 million worth of checks in Las Vegas you can chalk a healthy portion of that up to gambling losses. But that doesn't explain it all way. Walker was a generous friend and teammate. A little too generous. A Boston Globe investigation into the former Celtic's lavish lifstyle includes free spending, not just on himself—in 2002, he had a new suit made for every day of the playoffs so he wouldn't have to wear the same one twice—but on those in his very large orbit. Teammates say he routinely picked up giant dinner tabs on the road or would hire limos to take everyone out on the town. According to his mother, at one point Walker was financially supporting seventy of his friends and relatives.
However, Diane Walker doesn't see what's wrong with that:
Walker's mother, Diane, said her son does not have a gambling problem. She added that "he doesn't party any more than the next person'' and "what you do with your life is your business.''
"Antoine doesn't owe anybody any explanation,'' said Diane Walker. "He's not out here hurting anybody. He's trying to live his life peacefully. That's all he's doing . . . My son is young. Why can't he just enjoy life, go where he wants to go?''
Because, believe it or not, $110 million does not last a entire lifetime. (At least not when you're spending $10 million a year on watches.) Apparently, Walker gave very little thought to where that money might come from once his basketball career was over. When he did invest, he invested poorly or simply gave it away to charities. Sadly, playing $15,000-a-hand blackjack with Michael Jordan is not a sound retirement strategy.
In 1999, when he signed a six-year, $71 million deal with the Celtics, then-president and coach Rick Pitino said Walker "will never have to worry about money again in his life." So add that to the list of everything else Pitino got wrong in Boston.