Antoine Walker had it all.
At 19 years old, lauded for his role with the “untouchable” championship-winning Kentucky Wildcats, Walker was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.
He quickly made his presence felt at the next level, leading the Celtics in scoring (17.5 points per game) and rebounding (nine per game) en route to a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.
Over the next decade, he went on to become an NBA Live cover athlete, a three-time All-Star, an NBA champion, and the recipient of over $108 million in contract money.
In 2010, two years after he played his final NBA game, it was all gone.
The temptations — the cars, the clothes, the pressure to help family and friends — that came with the fame and fortune caught up to Walker, and he was forced to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
“That process of me playing in the NBA created a very expensive lifestyle for myself,” Walker told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview last month. “I lived a very good lifestyle where I took care of not only myself, (but) my brothers and sisters. I was the oldest of six, so I watched my mom raise us by herself. I have two kids of my own … and I brought friends along on the journey as well. I ran with a group of friends, seven or eight of us that grew up in the same neighborhood. I kind of took them on this journey with me throughout the NBA and made sure that they enjoyed the fruits of my labor too.”
Walker, who would never wear the same suit twice and owned more cars than he could count on one hand, accelerated his financial downfall when he dove into real estate.
“In the process of taking care of (friends and family) and myself and creating a lifestyle for myself, seven years into my career I decided I wanted to venture off into real estate,” Walker said. ” … Eventually, four years down the line, it ended up going bad. Recession hit, 2007, 2008. … The downfall, the mistake that I made, was being the personal guarantor of the real estate company and putting up my personal financial portfolio in order to get these loans and this money.”
After spending over two years in bankruptcy, Walker announced in…