We know that things haven't gone super great for Antoine Walker since he last set foot on an NBA court in 2008. This time last year, the former three-time All-Star was slogging through a D-League stint that he hoped would result in an NBA return; by mid-April, the overweight, shot-happy comeback effort had ended and Walker had retired from professional basketball. Several weeks prior, the former Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat forward was forced to sell the 2006 NBA championship ring he won as a member of the Heat for just $21,500 to help chip away at the mountain of debt he'd accrued by blowing through more than $110 million in salary (plus plenty more in endorsements) earned over a 12-year NBA career en route to going broke and filing for personal bankruptcy in 2010.
And now, athletes of the world, he wants to give you financial advice:
On one hand, yes, it does seem pretty odd for someone who's gone deeper into debt than most humans could even possibly fathom to say, "Let me tell you how you should spend your money." On the other, though, there's a certain level of white-hat logic to letting a safe-cracker take a whack at your strongbox to let you know where you're most vulnerable. Although, in this case, I guess Walker is less the safe-cracker than a dude whose safe has been cracked repeatedly by many different kinds of safe-crackers over the years, and can use that experience to say, "Hey, seriously, definitely don't let your safe get cracked," which isn't quite the same thing. So, "a certain level of logic," but certainly not an iron-clad and impenetrable level.
We don't know much about Denovo Elite Athlete Management, the new firm Walker's promoting in the video above — the "About Us", "Horror Stories" and "More Info" pages on its website are all presently blank, and the "Going Pro Soon" tab just shows us the video again — but the apparently just-on-its-feet concern seems to be a continuation of a move Walker discussed with Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard last year:
When talk turns to the future, Walker says he's starting to do his "due diligence" and deciding whether to pursue his degree online or go back to the classroom. He's also involved with a start-up consulting company. The idea, which came from a Boise businesswoman, is to serve as a watchdog for pro athletes in the management of their finances. "It's a way to give back," Walker says, "so that other guys don't make the same mistakes I made."
I'd assume there's a way for this watchdog work to put some change in Walker's pockets, too, but if the end result is that he helps some young, impressionable kids beset on all sides by pocket-picking potential partners from becoming the next contestant on that "30 for 30" screen, then that's a net positive. I don't know that I'd go to him with my financial questions, personally, but then again, I doubt he's looking at bloggers as his target clientele. We could probably help fill up that "Horror Stories" tab, though.
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