The NBA has seen some incredible stories unfold year after year. From players that went undrafted becoming stars to buzzer-beating game-winners, to off-the-court controversies. It seems like the league never sleeps and it’s even hard to catch up with all the things that happen.
One of the most surprising stories we’ve ever heard was about Latrell Sprewell, who was an All-Star and one of the best scorers in the league at some point but made perhaps the worst work-related decision in the history of professional sports.
Sprewell had a controversial incident with his then-coach PJ Carlesimo, who he threatened to kill and choked. Then again, he had another shot in the league with the New York Knicks, later being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sprewell joined Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell and the Timberwolves instantly became Championship contenders. Their Big 3 was unstoppable in the offensive end and it looked like they were ready to finally take a step forward and make the NBA Finals.
Fast-forward to 2004 when Sprewell hit free agency. The Timberwolves offered him a $14.6 million extension that could’ve made him amass from $27 to 30 million over the next couple of years but he felt lowballed and decided to respectfully decline their offer:
“Why would I want to help them win a title? They’re not doing anything for me. I’m at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed,” Sprewell said back in the day.
He bet on himself and ran out his contract but underperformed all year long. It’s obvious that Sprewell was expecting the Timberwolves to take their offer up a notch or draw interest from another team in the league, and given his character issues and his age, that just didn’t happen and Latrell Sprewell never played a minute of NBA basketball again.
Then in 2007, he left his wife, and that family he had to feed sued him for $200 million. He lost his yacht, defaulted his $1.5 million mortgage, had to pay over $3 million in taxes, and later lost his other house. We’re talking about a guy who made $97,060,000 over his career and now has a net worth of $50,000. That’s just incredible.