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Hoop Dreams And Financial Nightmares: NBA Pros And Poverty

In May of last year, CNBC reported that an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players go broke within five years of departing the league. And they reported 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or under financial stress just two years after retirement.

Poverty and homelessness

are strongly correlated.

After playing in Super Bowl XIV, Jackie Wallace was let go by the Rams and never played pro again. Within 10 years he was homeless, living under a bridge in New Orleans.

Many people like to elevate professional athletes for their extraordinary physical prowess and personal achievements. In reality, they are only human and struggle from the same problems everyone else does. Too many athletes reach the top, before seeing it all fall apart.

This is the case with two former NBA stars, Oliver Miller and Vin Baker. They each have strong connections to the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks, the two teams meeting in this year’s Eastern Conference finals. Miller, had his best season as a Raptor, and Baker started his career with the Bucks.

Despite making millions during their careers, their post-basketball lives have proven to be difficult.

Oliver Miller

Known affectionately as ‘The Big O,’ Miller was a mammoth of a player, who was drafted in the first-round by the Phoenix Suns and played a total of nine seasons in the NBA. In 1995-96, he put up career-best numbers with the Raptors. But, instead of building on that success, it proved to be his peak.