Former NBA star Antoine Walker visited Seton Hall on Wednesday night as part of a presentation by Morgan Stanley to teach Seton Hall student-athletes the importance of wealth management.
Walker was a three-time All-Star and NBA champ in a basketball career that spanned over 14 years. He collected just over $108-million dollars in his career, but less than two years after playing his last game on an NBA court, Walker filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Walker is not the only athlete to have had a surplus of wealth disappear in the matter of an instant. His lesson is a tale that many athletes endure when confronted with large amounts of money, especially when coming from the very opposite of climates in their upbringing.
He said he tried to provide his family and friends with a lifestyle that was not sustainable once he made the NBA. Walker bought his mother a brand new house, only to build her an even more lavish one once he signed a new contract. He also provided his younger siblings with expensive cars and full rides through school in an attempt to have them avoid the upbringing he endured.
Walker also had his personal expenditures. Jewelry, cars, clothing, and partying, all to the extreme. He admittedly once owned eight sports cars, partied for 24 straight days after winning the NBA Finals, and bought a new suit for each NBA game he played in over the course of an 82-game season.
“We try to make them aware,” Walker said of student-athletes. “Trying to make them aware of some of the life lessons that they are going to face when they make a lot of money. Everybody is not going to be in the position I was, but they’re going to make some money.”
A key theme of the presentation was saving. The presentation outlined how most people should be saving 20 percent of their income if they want financial stability over the long haul, and that 30 percent can be put aside for food and leisure, or as the presentation put it, “fun money.”
“We try to make guys think about the future,” Walker said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. You retire at such a young age, basketball is 4.8 years and football may be three years, lifetime. So we try to teach them that your career is short, but your life is a long-term thing.”
The presentation began with Walker telling his story to the packed audience of 250 student-athletes. The presentation then got light and interactive, however, with Morgan Stanley worker Aaron Harding taking the leading role and putting his own entertaining spin on the wealth management session.
“The thing I’ve learned more than anything is how hungry students are for this kind of education,” Harding said. “They don’t get it very often, they know they need it, and as much as people talk about millennial apathy, I think that these kids are clamoring for this type of education. So I always wish there was more opportunities for them to get it.
“The overall goal is to just make sure they have a good time, it’s really like edu-ertainment more than education or entertainment.”
James Justice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MLSTakeover.