because there are no fours

The other day, when I was reading about Antoine Walker officially filing for bankruptcy, something struck me, hard. Apparently, 60% of all NBA players go broke five years after retirement.

Take a step back and let that sink in. Six out of ten professional basketball players–with an average annual salary of 5.3 mil–go broke within five years of retirement. In Toine’s case, he blew some 110 mil (not including Adidas endorsement. Remember? Dude was EMPLOYEE NUMBER EIGHT!) not even two years after receiving his last NBA paycheck. If there is a statistic kept for “rich people going broke in short time”, the NBA has to be among the category leaders.

So why the NBA? Could it be…because…the players are black?

I know that last line may have offended some people. Alright, stop. Collaborate and listen. Let’s step aside first. The race issue has always been the elephant in the room for the NBA. David Stern tries his best–and he does a damn good job–to market the league worldwide and giving the game mainstream appeal, regardless of race, class, or sex. But at its core, the NBA is a black men’s league. The best players are black. Hip hop is the music of choice for most players. Hell, just today during Lakers/Celtics game 2, one camera man followed a team huddle too closely and inadvertently picked up one of the players saying “myyyyyyy nigger”, live on NATIONAL TELEVISION IN PRIME TIME. Even non-black players develop a hip hop swagger and Black twang after a few years in the league. Check out Yao Ming, dude went from speaking no English 6 years ago to speaking with this weird combo of Chinese mainland accent and hip hop drawl.

So now back to the original topic…it’s been widely documented that players go broke because they spend too lavishly when the checks are coming in; they’re ill-prepared for when the day when the checks stop. You gotta wonder how much do things like rolling with an eight-deep entourage everywhere you go, or owning multiple Bentleys, factor into this going broke thing, right? No one can deny that the entourage phenomenon is more a young black American thing than say, an young Asian American thing.

In our overly-PC world these days, very few will point to the race factor as a possible reason for the alarming high rate in which NBA players go broke, even though the thought has to cross people’s minds when they read about how many guys–that’s grown-ass-men–some NBA player support financially.

This isn’t meant to be a bashing of the young black American lifestyle (if you think I’m a racist because of this entry–you’re an idiot), this is a look at the truth, and it’s necessary to help get rid of the racial stigma.

Charles Barkley’s been preaching about the importance of educating black youths for the past decade, probably for this exact reason. He knows that the league is held to higher standards and extra scrutiny than any other league, or company, simply because it’s a black league. (Perfect example: NBA fights are met with horrific media and public reactions. Words like “brawl”, “melee”, and “thugs” are thrown around. When fights happen in baseball and hockey–generally much more vicious fights–no one reacts with the same look-of-horror…because the skin’s a lot lighter and less tatted up)

Once these young black athletes are taught to manage their finances better, or to be more responsible with their lifestyle, the percentage of these cats going bankrupt will drop.

And that’s how you fight the racial stigma.

BTW, Toine will always hold a special spot in the hearts of internet basketball fans because of his shimmys.



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2 responses to “because there are no fours

  1. Tim

    hmm interesting observation, Roads.

    however while its plain to see that, to quote your figure, as much as 60% of post-NBA players file for bankruptcy, and that the vast majority of these players are black males (lol i wonder what the stat is for the WNBA) i think that the race card is a big factor.

    however it’s the card behind it – socio-economic background – that’s the real kicker. the vast majority of black males in the United States come from low-income families and backgrounds, and i would argue that this is the factor that ultimately leads to their post-career financial downfalls.

    imagine if you grew up in a poor ass family sharing a house with potentially other siblings, being supported by, in many cases, just one parent (having to work multiple jobs very often) and then you have this gift: incredible sporting ability. and it gets you a fat, fat paycheck. and it keeps coming. you would spend like crazy right? your whole life you been struggling and now you hit the big time.

    this is a mindset that is only fueled by the “get rich or die trying” attitude of the culture that permeates American Hip-Hop culture.

    re-educating a national mindset isn’t gonna be easy but it is LONG overdue (see: Financial Crisis of 2008)

  2. lonewolfncub

    exactly, tim. it’s the black culture and the lifestyle that leads to the high rate of bankruptcy. of course, very few dare point the finger at that. but everyone thinks it. charles barkley is the only celebrity outspoken enough to say this. and it needs to be said. the lifestyles gotta change, or else they cant blame no one for negative stereotypes.

    NBA commissioner david stern implemented dress code a few years back, requiring all the NBA players to show up to games in collared shirt. most of them hated it because they couldn’t dress “hip hop” anymore. but david stern saw the big picture. he knew that by getting these kids out of their do-rags and XXXXXL pants and into suits and polo shirts, the image of the league–and the black players–will improve.

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