Even league-average NBA players make a significant amount of money in their careers. Unfortunately, not all of them know how to manage their money. They often fall under the sway of less than savory financial partners. In recent years, numerous fraud cases have come to light, including those involving former and current players like Rick Fox, Richard Jefferson, and Lonzo Ball.
Another player who falls into that category is former Detroit Pistons star Richard “Rip” Hamilton. During the early 2000s, Hamilton was defrauded by this then-business manager, who he eventually sued in 2009. Here we take a look back at Hamilton’s career in the NBA, his professional earnings and net worth, and his unfortunate brush with financial fraud.
Rip Hamilton’s NBA career
The Washington Wizards drafted Hamilton with the seventh pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. Over the course of three seasons in Washington, the 6’6″ guard-forward combo blossomed into an effective 20 point per game scorer. In September 2002, the Wizards sent Hamilton to the Detroit Pistons as part of a multi-player deal.
Hamilton continued to improve in Detroit, bumping his assist numbers from less than three to over four per game. He ultimately spent nine years with the Pistons. Alongside Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, and Tayshaun Prince, Hamilton was a core part of the Pistons squad that fought their way to an unlikely title victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003-04.
Hamilton rounded out his career with a year and a half with the Chicago Bulls, before announcing his retirement in February 2015. Over the course of his career, Hamilton averaged 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. His teams made it to the playoffs in nine seasons, and his postseason numbers were even stronger: 19.8 points, 3/9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.
Professional earnings and net worth
Hamilton earned a significant amount of money over the course of his career, especially when you consider the fact that he only made $10 million or more in just four seasons. Three of those seasons coincided with a three-year $34 million contract extension the Pistons offered Hamilton in 2008. Per year, that was the single most lucrative contract he signed during his career.
All things told, Hamilton walked away from the NBA having made nearly $110 million. For the most part, Hamilton has managed his money wisely over the years. As a result, his current net worth is estimated at an impressive $50 million. Of course, on at least one occasion, Hamilton did fall prey to financial fraud.
When friendship turns to fraud
To understand Hamilton’s fraud incident, you must go back to his college days at the University of Connecticut. There Hamilton became friends with Josh Nochimson, who was the Huskies equipment manager. After the Wizards drafted Hamilton in 1999, Nochimson followed him to Washington, where he became Hamilton’s personal assistant.
Over the course of several years, Hamilton gave Nochimson several raises. He eventually paid him $50,000 a year and gave him the title of business manager. In that capacity, Nochimson had direct access to Hamilton’s various financial accounts and credit cards. This meant to use to pay for Hamilton’s bills and expenses.
But apparently Nochimson couldn’t resist the temptation to use Hamilton’s money for himself. When Hamilton eventually sued Nochimson in 2009, his lawyers presented a laundry list of complaints. Nochimson had transferred Hamilton’s money into his own account, written unauthorized checks, failed to pay back personal loans, and used Hamilton’s frequent flyer miles.
All things told, Nochimson stole an estimated $1 million from Hamilton between 2003 and 2008. During the lawsuit, Hamilton made it clear that the case was about more than the money. The legal action was also meant to convey his disappointment at what he felt was a personal betrayal from someone he considered his friend.