Just a year before David Robinson arrived, Willie Anderson looked like the future of the San Antonio Spurs. But after a fantastic rookie year, his career never took off like many expected. Ironically, he fathered as many children as the number of years he spent in the NBA. That led to major financial troubles for a player who made millions.
Willie Anderson looked like a star early with the Spurs
Coming out of Georgia, Willie Anderson generated a ton of hype. The two-time All-SEC selection went 10th overall in the 1988 NBA draft. That class featured just one player who would go on to average more than 20 points in the NBA.
As a rookie, the smooth-moving shooting guard looked like the top star of his class. Anderson started 79 games for the Spurs and rarely came off the floor. Though he didn’t boast 3-point range, he averaged a team-high 18.6 points on 49.8 percent shooting. The 22-year-old also averaged 5.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.9 steals. Anderson’s terrific debut season earned him NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.
Surprisingly, he never matched that production again. Anderson’s scoring average dropped to 15.7 points per game in his second season, and it continued to fall throughout his Spurs tenure. The 6-foot-7, 190-pounder struggled to stay on the floor and ended up leaving San Antonio after getting drafted by the Toronto Raptors in the expansion draft. The veteran did enjoy a solid 49-game cup of coffee in Toronto before getting traded to the New York Knicks. He never played another NBA game after spending the ’96-’97 season with the Miami Heat.
The father of nine ran into serious financial troubles
Despite earning $10 million in his nine-year NBA career, Willie Anderson ran into serious financial troubles. Of course, that had a lot to do with the fact that he fathered nine children with seven women. In 2003, his financial troubles made headlines when he lost almost all of the $1.75 million he was supposed to receive from a deferred 10-year contract. So where did that money go? Well, according to the Associated Press, the Internal Revenue Service took a chunk of that, along with three women who claimed Anderson had not paid child support to.
Cynthia Anderson, Anderson’s ex-wife, and former girlfriends Marshae Richardson and Sonji Austin contended Anderson owed them hundreds of thousands of dollars for the four children he fathered with them. The three women and the IRS reached an agreement in September on how to split the $175,000 that the Spurs are supposed to pay Anderson each January for nine years.
The four children will each receive about $12,900 annually. This year, the IRS gets $68,456. Cynthia Anderson is entitled to $53,350 as part of her divorce settlement. Her lawyer, Sue Hall, also got a small cut, according to Furgeson’s order.
Richardson’s child-support claim totaled about $240,000. Anderson’s ex-wife’s claim checked in at about $190,000. The IRS sought $397,373 in unpaid taxes from a nightclub that Anderson co-owned. In addition, that figure also included unpaid income taxes from 1996. The government entity even filed a lien against a home Anderson owned in Georgia, where he played his college ball.
Anderson isn’t the only member of his family to play in the NBA
Financial issues aside, there’s no doubt that Willie Anderson still put together a respectable NBA career. However, he wasn’t the only member of his family to make millions from playing basketball. His younger brother, Shandon Anderson, also played at the University of Georgia. The 6-foot-6, 208-pound wing got selected 54th overall in the 1996 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz.
Unlike his older brother, Shandon Anderson didn’t put up prolific scoring numbers. He started just 226 games in 10 seasons for four NBA franchises. Mostly a role player off the bench, he averaged 7.4 points in 719 games. Ironically, Shandon Anderson finished his just like his older brother did—playing for the Heat.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference