Latrell Sprewell had a great career in the NBA. But his legacy for many fans relates to when he turned down $ 21 million. His basketball career took a turn for the worse after that. Now his story serves as an uplifting tale for professional athletes in all sports to watch their finances.
Latrell Sprewell was a bright young NBA star in the early 90s
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It started so well for Latrell Sprewell. The All-Star led the Golden State Warriors to a rare playoff spot in the ’90s alongside rookie Chris Webber. Webber forced a trade after this season. This sudden return to mediocrity (the Warriors didn’t make the playoffs again until 2007) set the pattern for the rest of Sprewell’s frustrating career. The good times never lasted as long as they should have.
His talent was never questioned, but his impulsiveness ended his tenure in the NBA much sooner than expected. After suffocating PJ Carlesimo in an argument in practice; Sprewell’s contract was canceled. The NBA suspended him for a year and he instantly became one of America’s most hated athletes.
He relaunched his career with the Knicks. However, he was fined $ 250,000 for showing up to training camp with a broken hand he forgot to tell them about. After five years in the Big Apple, Sprewell was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves after the 2002-03 season.
He redeemed himself in Minnesota and threw it all away
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Sprewell has formed an entertaining trio with Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell to lead the team to the best season in franchise history. He averaged 17 points per game as they won 58 games to take the Western Conference seed. Unfortunately for them, their excellence did not really translate into a championship. The Timberwolves lost to the Lakers in the six-game conference final.
There was still optimism over the next few years for the franchise. But Sprewell has done his part to extinguish that hope as soon as possible. Ahead of the 2004-05 season, Minnesota offered him a three-year contract extension worth $ 21 million. Sprewell was making $ 14.6 million in the last year of a contract he got from the Knicks.
You might understand that the pay cut is a slight blow to the ego. But Sprewell expressed that emotion in the most disconnected way possible. According to the Black Wealth Channel, he turned down the contract and explained his decision, saying, “Why would I want to help them win a title? They don’t do anything for me. I am in danger. I have a lot of risks here. I have my family to feed.
To the surprise of no one but Sprewell, the quote enraged fans and the surrounding fury plagued his room. He had his worst year in the league and the Timberwolves failed to advance to the playoffs.
Despite his big mouth, Sprewell entered free agency awaiting a deal from someone who would align with his distorted self-perception. This contract never materialized. He never played in the NBA again.
How Latrell Sprewell lost his millions
Sprewell would come to regret having refused these contracts. According to SF Gate, at the end of 2007 he was sued by his longtime partner for $ 200 million, while also alleging that he abused her, had his yacht repossessed, named “Milwaukee’s Best. Defaulted on his $ 1.5 million mortgage and Milwaukee sued him for $ 3 million in back taxes. Sprewell has earned more than $ 100 million during his career and his current net worth is only $ 50,000, reports Celebrity Net Worth.
He seems to be at peace with some of his mistakes since committing – or at least willing to pretend to be paid for an ad, Twin Cities details. But his tribulations are now one of many examples of how players can go bankrupt after high-paying careers.
Modern players pay much more attention to their finances, both during and after their careers. The era of player empowerment encouraged them to look after their own interests rather than the wants of their teams more intensely before. And the increased level of awareness of how influential their money is when they use their platform wisely.
Players still say stupid things from time to time. But it’s fair to be shocked if someone interprets the play as badly as Sprewell did so soon.