Every so often you hear about a star athlete who went from having millions of dollars to losing it all. Whether the money was spent, gambled away or was flat out stolen, it’s always tough to hear these stories. One of the most well-known examples is that of Antoine Walker, the former NBA All-Star and champion. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, Antoine Walker was a star, but after poorly managing his money, he went broke. How does one go from making over $100 million dollars to filing for bankruptcy? We’ll tell you Antoine Walker’s story and fill you in on where he is today.
Antoine Walker’s Life Prior to the NBA
Growing up in Chicago, Walker played basketball at Mount Carmel High School, alongside former NFL star quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb, who would play basketball as a walk-on at Syracuse on top of his football career, claims to have been better than Walker, though Walker ended up being the better recruit. After a dominant high school career, Walker went on to play for Rick Pitino and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Walker’s impact was immediately felt at Kentucky. Although he began his freshman year as a key contributor off the bench, toward the end of the season, Walker was coming into his own. As a freshman he was named the MVP of the SEC Tournament. Kentucky earned a No. 1 seed and made it to the Elite Eight, where the Wildcats lost to UNC.
Coming into his sophomore year, Walker was already recognized as one of the best players in college basketball. That year, he averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds and earned First Team All SEC Honors. He, along with Tony Delk, Ron Mercer and Walter McCarty led Kentucky to another NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 1 seed. Walker was one of the best players throughout the tournament, being named First Team All-Region.
Kentucky ended up beating Syracuse in the national title game 76-67. Although Walker only scored 11 points, he was able to contribute in other ways with 9 rebounds, four assists and four steals.
After the season, in a no-brainer move, Walker declared for the NBA Draft.
Antoine Walker on the Boston Celtics
He led Boston in scoring and rebounding as a rookie and was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team. After a 15-67 season the Celtics fired head coach M.L. Carr and hired Walker’s college coach, Rick Pitino. The Walker-Pitino reunion appeared to be off to a good start and Walker averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds in his second season. His success earned him a spot on the Eastern Conference All Star team and on the cover of NBA Live 99.
Although Walker was having a ton of personal success, the Celtics continued to struggle. In the 1998 NBA Draft Boston selected Paul Pierce, giving Walker the star player he needed to help bring the Celtics to new heights. The young duo got better and better each year and in 2002 reached the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets. The Celtics made the playoffs again in 2003 and were once again eliminated by the Nets.
After regressing in 2003, Boston hired Danny Ainge to be the team’s general manager. He didn’t wait long to shake things up, and on October 20th, 2003, the Celtics traded Walker to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Raef LaFrentz, Chris Mills, Jiří Welsch and a first round pick, which ended up becoming Delonte West.
The Mavericks, Hawks and Back to the Celtics
Although he played in all 82 games in his first season in Dallas, Walker took a pretty sizable step backwards averaging only 14 points per game. After his first season with the Mavericks, Walker was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Jason Terry, Alan Henderson and a first round pick.
Although the Hawks weren’t very good, Walker appeared to get his scoring back on track averaging 20 points per game. At the trade deadline of his first season in Atlanta, Walker was traded back to the Celtics.
It didn’t take Walker long to get his mojo back in Boston. Immediately upon returning, the Celtics won 11 of 12 games and earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite being one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Celtics fell to the Indiana Pacers.
Antoine Walker and the Miami Heat
The move proved to be a good one for the Heat, who won the NBA Finals that year. As Miami’s second leading scorer, Walker played a huge role in the Heat’s Finals victory over the Mavericks.
Walker played one more season in Miami before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Walker’s Forgotten Years, and Final NBA Stats
If you asked an NBA fan to name each team that Antoine Walker played for during his NBA career, there’s a good chance they’d forget to name the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies.
In the 2007-2008 season, Walker played in 46 games, averaging 8 points per game. In the offseason he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Although he never played a regular season game with Memphis, the team’s GM Chris Wallace said “Antoine Walker was a true professional during his time in Memphis. We wish him all the best in his effort to find another team where he can receive more playing time.”
Antoine Walker finished with 15,647 career points across 12 NBA seasons. He averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds for his career, topping 20 points per game five times during his career. He was an NBA All-Star in 1998, 2002, and 2003.
Walker’s Downfall and Bankruptcy
Despite having an outstanding NBA career, Antoine Walker may be more well known for losing $108 million.
To most people, the idea of spending over $100 million seems impossible, but Walker managed to do it. Whether it was buying luxurious cars, fancy clothing, gambling and just living a lavish lifestyle, Walker’s money was disappearing at a rapid rate. In addition to buying nice things for himself, he also hooked his friends up, spending over $8 million on them alone. Walker was a big time gambler. He claims that he lost over $4 million due to gambling debts.
While Walker’s spending habits certainly led to his bankruptcy, it was actually the financial crash of 2008 that put the nail in the coffin. He invested over $20 million in real estate, and when the market crashed he was forced to pay back every dollar to the bank, leaving him with nothing.
Attempt at a Comeback
It was obvious that Walker’s best days were behind him, but he needed money so he had to come out of retirement. In 2010, Walker signed a deal to play with Mets de Guaynabo, a professional basketball team in Puerto Rico. Walker only played in nine games for Mets de Guaynabo, averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds before being released.
Walker’s next attempt at a comeback came with the Idaho Stampede (now the Salt Lake City Stars) of the NBA D-League. In his two seasons with the Stampede, Walker played in 86 games averaging 12.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Personal Life, Relationship with Ex-Wife Evelyn Lozada, and Daughter Alana Walker
Walker was famously engaged to Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada for ten years before the couple broke it off. When asked about his former soon-to-be wife, Walker says “My thing with Evelyn is she reaped a lot of benefits of my wealth. And when it got tight, she chose to go a different direction. So that’s the problem that I have with Evelyn.” He went on to say that “She got to reap the full benefits of the whole process. She played her part. You think someone will have your back and that’s my whole thing. Evelyn went on with her reality show and we all know all her relationships she’s been in since me.”
Walker doesn’t appear to be in a relationship today, but he does have a family of his own. He has two daughters, Alana Walker and Crystal Walker. His daughter Alana is a star volleyball player for Northwestern.
Antoine Walker today, and his Current Net Worth
Despite losing all of his money and being the subject of a lot of negative attention, Walker seems to have turned it around. Today you can find him on FS1 as a basketball analyst. Although he hasn’t built his bank account up to what it used to be, today, Walker has an estimated net worth of $250 thousand dollars.
Walker was the subject of a documentary released in 2020 called Gone In An Instant. The movie tells the story of Walker’s rise to stardom and fall into bankruptcy. Gone In An Instant has appearances from John Calipari, Gary Payton, Donovan McNabb, Rick Pitino and several other former NBA players.
Antoine Walker’s story is one that we can all learn from. Not only is it important to learn from the mistakes he made with his money, but it’s also important to see how he bounced back. We hear a lot of stories about people who lost it all and let their lives spiral out of control. Walker lost it all, but instead of giving up, he went back to work.
If there’s one thing you can learn from Walker’s story, it’s that even when you hit rock bottom, it’s never too late to turn things around.