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How NBA star Antoine Walker bounced back from bankruptcy


Antoine Walker is a former NBA professional player

Shareif Ziyadat | Getty Images

Antoine Walker was $108 million richer in 2008 after his 13-year NBA career.

It was two years later that he lost everything.

He stated, “I was just 19 when I joined the league.” “I was born from humble circumstances, and I wasn’t used to making money.”

He said that he did not understand what a dollar was when he first started earning money. He also picked up some aggressive spending habits – spending on cars, clothes and jewelry as well as helping family and friends. When the Great Recession hit, real estate investment was where he lost the rest of his wealth.

He declared bankruptcy in 2010 as a result. After two-and-a-half years, he was back.

His money-related issues are now solved for others. Edyoucore, an organization that promotes financial literacy and teaches athletes about money management, is where he works as a consultant.

Before you file

Before filing bankruptcy, there are some things you should remember. The timing of when to file – if it makes sense to do so – is important.  

Sarah Bolling Mancini of the National Consumer Law Center said, “If you’re faced with losing your house, car, or garnishment it is an emergency, and it might make sense to file bankruptcy immediately.”

Beyond an emergency, it may make sense to file if you have an overwhelming amount of debt that you won’t be able to repay and that it’s peaked – meaning that you’re not still incurring more debt.

It makes sense in these cases to start working on your debt relief.

Robert Lawless of the University of Illinois College of Law said, “If your financial situation doesn’t improve after bankruptcy, it’s not time to file.” Bankruptcy doesn’t make you rich, but it can forgive past debts.

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Chapter 7 versus Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Before filing for bankruptcy, people need to be aware that there are two different types for consumers – chapter 7 and chapter 13.

Walker could file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He said that this is often referred too as straight bankruptcy or liquidation.

In this process, all unsecured debt – think personal loans, credit cards and some medical expenses – is wiped away, but a court will take possession of your assets such as property. Your case will be handled by a court appointed trustee who may also sell your assets in order to pay your debts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to retain ownership of your assets while receiving a lower payment from creditors. However, you must fit certain requirements – you need to have enough income to afford your monthly payments, and your debt must be under a certain amount.

In 2020, the limits on chapter 13 bankruptcy were approximately $420,000 for unsecured debt and $1.25million for secured debt.

Each person is unique so it’s a smart idea to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in order to decide which course to take.

Walker expresses it like this: He said, “You’re the CEO of your business.” You have to accept responsibility for what you do and be in control of your actions.

You need to surround yourself and professionals who will help you succeed.

“You need to have a CPA, financial advisor, agent, lawyer – these need to be separate but work together,” he said.

Start over

No matter what type of bankruptcy you decide to file, it will take several years for you to be free from debt. You must then begin rebuilding your financial situation.  

Lawless says that having a budget is an important aspect of financial management. In addition, after bankruptcy people should be cautious about taking on more debt – while it’s important to rebuild credit, it should be done carefully.

Mancini stated that there are many types of credit available. The key is not to immediately accept the offers. It’s crucial to tread carefully and be careful.

Walker understood that rebuilding meant accepting the possibility of a different life than he experienced while in the NBA.

“I won’t be able to make $108m again, but I can live a comfortable existence,” he stated. That’s how I viewed myself as I got back up on my feet.

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