Antoine Walker is a nice guy. He’s probably too nice. The former Boston Celtics forward learned the hard way that being too generous with your money can have its consequences. In Walker’s case, those consequences turned out to be pretty severe.
Walker was a star with the Boston Celtics
Antoine Walker was the sixth overall player taken in the 1996 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics. The 6-foot-8 forward out of Kentucky spent his first eight seasons in Boston. In his second season with the Celtics, Walker made the first of his three NBA All-Star appearances after playing in all 82 games and averaging 22.1 points per game. He also averaged better than 10 rebounds per contest.
Walker was known as a scorer but shared the load with Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce which limited his overall numbers. Despite teaming with Pierce for most of his career, Walker still averaged 20.6 points per game in his eight seasons with the team.
During the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, Walker returned as an NBA All-Star. In the 2001-02 season, Walker averaged 22.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The following season, Walker averaged 20.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. In his fourth season in Boston.
With success comes money
In Antoine Walker’s fourth season in Boston, he was making $9 million per season and it only increased from there. By the 2002-03 season, his salary with the Celtics was more than $12 million. Throughout his NBA career, Walker made nearly $110 million, endorsements not included.
When he was a 19-year-old rookie in 1996, Walker had a financial advisor, but as a young kid with a lot of money, he made a lot of decisions on his own. “Through my young arrogance, being ignorant to a degree and being stubborn and wanting to do my own thing with my money, I went against a lot of his wishes,” Walker told Yahoo Finance.
Walker grew up the oldest of six children and he always helped his mother take care of the family. That continued when he was making millions in his rookie season. “I never really thought about the severity that I put myself through after just the first year of the league, but I didn’t really worry about it because the money was constantly coming in,” said Walker.
He quickly acquired a taste for the finer things and upgraded his entire family to live in multi-million dollar homes that he built from the ground up. His driveways were filled with four to five luxury cars — from Bentleys and BMWs, to his prized $350,000 Maybach.
Walker files for bankruptcy
Including friends and acquaintances, Antoine Walker made sure everyone in his circle enjoyed the lifestyle he led. His spending was out of control as he tried to please everyone. In addition to providing for others, Walker accumulated serious debt while gambling, losing $646,900 in just two years.
Walker declared bankruptcy in 2010, citing $12.74 million in liabilities with $4.28 million in assets. The entire bankruptcy process was drawn out over two years. Stripped of his credit cards and his bank accounts frozen, it was heartbreaking for Walker to liquidate many of his priceless possessions, including his NBA championship ring his team, Miami Heat, won in 2006.
Through all this, Walker has bounced back. He is living a more modest life now and has said he’s learned a valuable less through all this. “It’s a tough lesson to learn,” he said. “I wanted to take care of my family and I wanted the best for them. I really didn’t have the word ‘no’ in my vocabulary. It was something I was not used to saying. You’ve got to get the word ‘no’ in your vocabulary.”