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Former Celtics forward Antoine Walker owes Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, and the Red Rock Resort casinos in Las Vegas $822,500. He accumulated this sum over a seven-month period by getting $100,000 loans from these casinos. Thus far, he has only paid back $178,000. A warrant for his arrest was issued July 14 for writing bad checks, and authorities took him in the next day from Harrah’s Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Walker was in Tahoe for a charity event, but obviously could not stay away from the lure of the gambling world.
He earned over $100 million during his 12-year career in the NBA. How can a multi-millionaire be in that much debt? His luck on the basketball court obviously did not transfer over to the tables.
The past few years have been rough for Walker. In 2007, he was robbed at gunpoint at his home in Chicago and had a Mercedes, jewelry, and cash (totaling close to $200,000), stolen from him. This year has clearly not been any easier for him. This past January, he was arrested for drunk driving in Miami Beach. However difficult this time has been for him on and off of the court, it still does not explain how anyone can blow through that much money.
Walker’s legal troubles and his own sluggishness on the court are going to limit his chances of being signed by an NBA team. In his earlier years playing in Boston, he managed to land himself in NBA record books with other past legends, ranking in the top ten for field goals in Celtics history and top 100 for three-point field goals. His success while playing for the Celtics did not carry over to Miami or Minnesota: his final two NBA destinations.
Former Miami heat coach Pat Riley suspended Walker from several games due to an issue of excess body fat. His inability to keep his body in peak condition began to affect his performance on the court. Was he trying to start the former pro-athlete diet early?
After moving to Minnesota, he could hardly play, getting in 46 games last season. Walker was traded to the Grizzlies in 2009, only making his luck worse. The Grizzles waived their rights to him, giving him the chance to be a free agent. However, not many NBA franchises are jumping at the bit to have an out-of-shape forward when they can pluck a new one from college.
What caused the downfall of Antoine Walker? Perhaps, being thrown around like a rag doll between teams slowly ate away at his confidence, or he took too much black jack advice from Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan. I would pick the latter of the two.