It's a good thing Jamie Dimon believes "corporations are flush with cash" because his is still $1.5 million short thanks to Antoine Walker. In support of his candidacy for NBA representative to the Professional Athlete Financial Disaster Union, Walker can claim owing $1.5 million apiece to JPM and Wachovia, $53,000 to American Express, and $450,000 to his former agent. But you don't become a 3-time All-Star just by putting up gaudy numbers. You need to demonstrate the intangibles. Such as facing felony check fraud charges to the tune of $1 million courtesy of several Vegas casinos. While the list of unpaid debts is impressive, the speed with which Walker was able to legitimize his candidacy is what sets him apart from the competition. So how exactly do you make being paid close to $10 million/year for 12 years vanish?
He liked to move in an outsized entourage; his mother estimates that, during his playing days, he was supporting 70 friends and family members in one way or another. And speaking of his mother, he built her a mansion in the Chicago suburbs, complete with an indoor pool, 10 bathrooms, and a full-size basketball court.
Living at the Bishops Forest condominium complex in Waltham during the Celtics season, Walker turned the pavement surrounding his home into a virtual luxury car lot - two Bentleys, two Mercedes, a Range Rover, a Cadillac Escalade, a bright red Hummer. Often, the vehicles were tricked out with custom paint jobs, rims, and sound systems at considerable added expense. He also collected top-line watches - Rolexes and diamond-encrusted Cartiers.
Then, there were the custom-tailored suits - closets full of them, including the set he ordered for his first playoff run in 2002, enough so he wouldn't wear a suit more than once during the postseason run. When the Celtics officially hired Jim O'Brien as head coach in 2001, Walker had his tailor make three suits and presented them to O'Brien.
When it came to his Celtics teammates, Walker took good care of them on the road. It wasn't uncommon for Walker to hire limos to take out groups of teammates. And Walker always paid for the big dinner bills.
In the end, maybe it's not so surprising he wound up in serious financial straits. But basketball is a team sport and AW has had some high profile people around him on his team. Something like this doesn't happen overnight. It typically starts when athletes are first exposed to million dollar paydays and can't fight the temptation to go through all of it. Surely there must have been somebody in Walker's corner early on who warned him about not being responsible with his money.
As Rick Pitino, then the Celtics president and coach, put it, Walker "will never have to worry about money again in his life.''
For Walker, financial fouls mount [Boston Globe via Yahoo]