By Eric D. Graham BASN columnist
Updated: April 4, 2012

Money talks but being Wealthy walks

Money talks but being Wealthy walks

NORTH CAROLINA, (BASN)—I know most of us have heard about it.

Read about it.

And even googled it.

And, off face value, we believed it.

It was sad, depressing and just plain disappointing.

But, I am not talking about the death of Whitney Houston.

I’m talking about our beloved little brother Allen Iverson.

Why? Because, according to certain reports, our little brother, Allen Iverson, who earned over $185 million during his 14 year career in the NBA, was financially broke.

How do you spend $185 million dollars in 14 years, don’t ask me? Maybe, we should ask Antoine Walker, who blew $110 million due to his lavish lifestyle, disastrous real estate deals and greedy gambling habit.


For this very reason, I was a little upset with Iverson and his potential financial ruin even with no concrete evidence whether it was true or not.

But, if it was true, Iverson would have lived up to their expectations of him.

Why? Because, in their eyes, he wasn’t nothing but a thug, who happened to play basketball.

Nothing more; nothing less.

And because he did play basketball, and played it well by the way, he was given a get out of jail free card.

In other words, in their eyes, he was bound to fail. He was bound to trip over his own untied shoestrings one day and blame someone else for not tying them for him.

Besides, in their opinion, he couldn’t do anything good.

He was a hoodlum, who happened to have a good-jump shot and a killer cross-over.

And if they took the basketball from him, he would self-destruct and end up on the street corner of Newport News or high on some “illegal drug” somewhere in a strip club in Atlanta, throwing away all of his money.

This is what some people thought, believed and hoped for…..

And, Allen Iverson knows this.

Therefore, I felt that he should have guarded his body, protected his soul as well as his finances a little better when I heard a judge in Georgia took over his bank account because of an $860,000 unpaid jewelry bill.

Why? Because, people were praying for this day to happen.

They were praying for his down-fall like they were praying for Michael Vick’s downfall.

And, as crazy as it may seem, unfortunately, there are some people, who would love to see A.I. broke, broken and locked up behind bars just like Lenny Dystraka.

But how could a potential Hall Fame athlete like Allen Iverson be so reckless with his riches?


The late-great historian Dr.Asa Hillard brilliantly gives an explanation to Iverson’s potential financial downfall along with other bankrupt ballers, who have broken bank accounts after years in the league.

“We are not raising our own children. We have no systematic structures for the masses of our children. They are raising themselves or they are being raised by others. We have forfeited one of the most vital functions of a people, the responsibility for intergenerational culture transmission. We do not have a comprehension of wealth production and accumulation.” Hillard explained.

“Many of us make money. Few of us make wealth. Our consumption appetites make us prime sources for exploitation by others.”

Hillard’s assessment was absolutely correct.

There’s definitely is a difference between being rich and being wealthy. Comedian Chris Rock, once said, if I am not mistaken, Shaquille O’Neal is rich, but the man, who writes his checks, is wealthy.

Unfortunately, the African-American community, especially our so-called superstar athletes and entertainers, continue to get the two mixed up.

As a result, in a consumer culture, they, usually spend all of their money on fancy cars, big houses, shiny jewelry, red bottom shoes and other frivolous things, which amount to nothing.

All of these material things collected by these young millionaires, however, to the general public, who are usually poor, gives them a false sense of wealth.

But, economically, they are simply rich.


According to Sports Illustrated, 78% of former NFL players and 60% of former NBA players go broke or financially stressed after five years of retirement.

Therefore, Iverson is not alone.

Let’s not forget about the financial troubles and hardships of Notre Dame/Dallas Cowboys star, Rocket Ismael, who lost $20 million due to poor business deals with financial vultures that preyed over his football fortunes or boxer Evander Holyfield, who reportedly blew $250 million, a large portion of it went to back child support for fathering 11 children.

As unbelievable as these stories seem to be, there are more tales of turmoil from these former million dollar athletes.

Let’s consider the financial fall of Olympic gold medalists, Marion Jones, Buffalo Bills running back Travis Henry ($20 million), NBA basketball player Kenny Anderson, who blew ($60 million) and boxer Mike Tyson, who lost over $300 million.


With that said, I breathed a sigh of relief after NBA Columnist Peter Vecsey of the New York Post tried to brings some clarity to this sketchy sports story surrounded by skepticism about Allen Iverson’s diminishing bank account.

“He is far from insolvent, at least in the real world, if not in harmony with his ‘nothing in moderation’ lifestyle. Someone who cared a great deal for Iverson and grasped the extent of his habits, loyalties and generosity protected him to some degree from financial ruination, at 36, at any rate.

A person with a firm grip on the situation informs me Iverson has an account worth $32 million, a principal he is prohibited from touching until 55. In the meantime, it feeds him $1 million annually. At 45, Iverson is eligible to start drawing on an NBA pension that maxes out at 10 years of active duty, or take whatever’s there as lump sum. He will be entitled roughly to $8,000 per month ($800 per x 10). If at all possible, Iverson will issue a restraining order against himself until he’s 62 or so.

At that time, I’m told, his lump sum will be between $1.5 million and $1.8 million, or he can elect to take monthly checks of approximately $14,000 per.”

After reading Vecsey’s report, we all can sleep a little better. Because, now we know for “certain” that Iverson, even though he doesn’t have an unlimited amount of cash, he is far from being broke. Matter of fact, he seemed to have planned out his future fairly well.

Plus, he is still living up to the quote, “He is the question and the answer.”

The question was is he broke?

The answer is no.

Now, there is another question, we must ask, “Will he ever play in the NBA again?

Now, that’s a question only Allen Iverson can answer.