Thursday, May 27, 2010

How To Make $10 Million A Year, And Still Be Flat Broke.

It might shock you guys considering how often I write about the topic here, but I'm sorta sick of these "broke athlete/entertainer" stories. They get repetitive after awhile because they all follow the same pattern.

Baller/athlete gets rich overnight. Baller/athlete gets married/knocks up some chickenhead. Baller/athlete is suddenly not so hot anymore. Baller/athlete goes broke from spousal/child support obligations and ends up playing in The Poconos/Brazilian basketball league to pay outstanding bills. Rinse & repeat.

The common thread in most of these stories is that once the money slows down to a trickle, the once lavish lifestyle can no longer be kept up. But seldom have I heard of a story like that of Knicks center Eddy Curry, who is currently in debt while making an 8-figure salary.
New York Knicks center Eddy Curry defaulted on a $570,000 personal loan while keeping up a lifestyle that included a $17,000-a-month suburban New York home, a $6,000-a-month personal chef and a dozen cars he'd bought for himself and relatives, a judge said.

On Friday, a Manhattan court ordered Curry to pay $75,000 a month to lender Allstar Capital Inc. to resolve a debt that swelled to $1.2 million with interest. The court also has issued an order letting Las Vegas-based Allstar seize three of the cars: a Rolls Royce Phantom convertible and two Land Rover SUVs, all 2009 models.

Curry earned $10.5 million this season and is scheduled to make $11.3 million next season in the final year of his contract. But the former No. 4 pick in the NBA draft has been dogged by financial and legal problems in recent years.

He took out the $570,000 personal loan in February 2008, promising to pay it back in five months at a nearly 85 percent annual interest rate -- legal in Nevada, according to Allstar lawyer Donald N. David.

Curry argued he couldn't pay off the debt at $75,000 a month because of his existing bills, which include $30,000 a month in household expenses at his family's White Plains, N.Y., home, nearly $17,000 a month in payments to various other relatives and more than $1,000 a month in cable and satellite TV service, according to the court order. It said his wages already are garnished for more than $207,000; the order didn't explain why, and lawyers wouldn't elaborate.

Curry has played only 10 games over the last two seasons, sidelined by injuries, illness and ineffectiveness. Much of his time off has been spent fighting legal problems. He was sued by his former limo driver, who alleged verbal abuse and sexual harassment; that case is headed for court-ordered arbitration. He also was drawn into a custody battle over his then 3-year-old son, Noah Henry, after the murder of his former girlfriend last year.

Curry also sued his former agent and business manager after a bank moved to foreclose on Curry's $3.7 million home near Chicago.
Reading this nonsense, you almost feel bad for Curry if you're a sports fan and somewhat familiar with his plight. For the uninitiated, Curry was once a nimble big man with a soft shooting touch. Centers who can score in the post are a rare commodity in the NBA, so then-GM Isiah Thomas foolishly handed Curry a multi-million dollar contract even though Curry was about as active on the glass as he apparently was on the treadmill. Eventually Curry's weight issues lead to a string of injuries, Thomas got canned, and the Knicks new coach implemented a run & gun offense for which Curry was ill-suited. Instead of trading or releasing him, the Knicks simply decided to put him on the shelf for the past two years, even though you could argue that given their turrible record, they'd be better off with him on the floor.

I'm sure some of you are saying, "big deal, he's still getting $10M a season to do nothing!" and you'd be partially correct. That sounds like a dream job, but imagine if your boss told you your services were no longer needed, but he couldn't fire you for legal and monetary reasons. So instead, he basically makes you come to work everyday and sit in an empty office with a lousy PC that only has solitaire and no web connection for 40 hours/week. Getting money for doing nothing might sound like a dream gig, but imagine the monotony of doing nothing for two whole years, while the rest of the office goes on about its business. By benching Curry for no real reason, that's essentially what the Knicks did.

Dealing with that sort of pressure at work, I can sorta kinda see why Curry might do dumb sh*t just to keep his sanity. $1,000 a month in cable TV might sound outlandish, but I'd imagine this guy has lots of room in his house and plenty of free time to do nothing but watch PPV movies. Seriously, if all you've known your entire life is playing basketball, and now someone's paying you specifically to not play basketball (Curry skipped college and went straight to the NBA), your psyche might be a bit fragile too. I'm just sayin'.

No, I can't defend a guy making $10M a season being so far in arrears he needs to ask his employer for a pay advance, but I can't say I don't understand, at least somewhat.

Question: Do you have any sympathy for Eddy Curry or does his dumb s$$ deserve to be broke for spending so foolishly?

Curry ordered to pay $1.2M debt [ESPN]

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