The sad stories of ex-NBA stars keep pouring in. Derrick Coleman had a 15-year NBA career and now faces bankruptcy.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that ex-NBA player Derrick Coleman has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and owes his creditors $4.7 million. During his 15-year NBA career, Coleman played for the 76ers, Nets, Hornets, and Pistons, making over $87 million. Now, he has only $1 million in assets, including a Bentley and five fur coats. Smart investments.
Coleman is just the latest in a string of NBA players to blow it all. Recently it was reported that former Celtics and Heat forward Antoine Walker owes $4 million to his creditors and has a felony fraud charge in Las Vegas. The 33-year-old Walker, who made over $110 million from NBA contracts, supposedly supported around 70 people while he was playing in the NBA. Some entourage.
First off, let's be clear that not all of the money was blown in excess. Coleman invested in a project called Coleman's Corner in an effort to revive one of Detroit's worst neighborhoods. He's not a bad guy, just not so smart a businessman.
But there is an obvious issue with NBA players and finances. A report a few years ago from the Toronto Star said that around 60% of NBA players go broke within five years of retirement. The NBA needs to do something about this and start teaching their players to be smart. They can't completely fix the problem or make their players brilliant business minds, but they can help.
It all starts in the schools. Recently, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested bans on postseason play for NCAA teams that do not graduate 40% of their players. This is another smart way to help young players learn how to handle their money and fame. The problem will never completely die but the NBA can preach higher learning and financial sense to the few people who have the privilege to play in the league. Those players need to be trained because, eventually, they will also have to encounter the "real" world.