Latrell Sprewell Declines NBA Contract, saying he Had to 'Feed His Family'

Latrell Sprewell Declines NBA Contract, saying he Had to ‘Feed His Family’

Latrell Sprewell’s contract with the Golden State Warriors expired in 2001, and he decided to negotiate his next deal with himself he declined a $21 million contract from the Warriors and took only $1 million from Minnesota to continue playing basketball in the NBA. He was reportedly worried about his family’s financial situation and didn’t want to be making more money than his family needed. Many people praised him for this decision, but how did it turn out? What happened to him after that? Let’s take a look at what happened to him after declining the Golden State Warriors’ offer.

The Short Version

In 1997, Latrell Sprewell signed a three-year $21 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. However, after being given a one-year $6 million extension offer by the team in 1998 and declining it, he was traded to the New York Knicks. But before ever playing a game for the Knicks, Sprewell refused another extension offer of $21 million over three years and was consequently suspended without pay for one year. After his suspension ended in 1999 without any other offers from teams in both the NBA and European leagues, Latrell retired from basketball at age 31.

The Longer Version

Back in 1997, NBA player Latrell Sprewell had the opportunity to sign a three-year $21 million contract extension with the Golden State Warriors. But instead of signing on the dotted line, he famously declined the offer and left his agent Jack Schafer stunned. In an interview with Sports Illustrated at the time, Latrell said I didn’t come here to do all this for somebody else’s family. It was later revealed that he had declined because it would have meant passing on a $23 million offer from Nike.

Many were baffled by his actions. Some argued that while it was nice that Latrell made $7 million a year from his Nike deal, it still wasn’t enough for him to turn down a $21 million contract extension from Golden State Warriors even if Nike didn’t guarantee him anything beyond three years.

But no one knew then what we know now that Latrell’s career never fully recovered and he ended up playing in basketball’s minor leagues and overseas. By 2014 his fortune had dwindled so much so that he was arrested for shoplifting and drug possession after allegedly stealing cologne and underwear worth more than $100 at a Wal-Mart store in New Jersey which really brought everything full circle.

Now that Latrell Sprewell retired

In 1999, Latrell Sprewell was offered a $21 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. However, he declined the offer because he felt that it was not enough money and that he had a family to feed. After declining this contract, Sprewell never played another game in the NBA. In the 2003-2004 season, his team the New York Knicks called him up for a few games but that was it. He went on to work for ESPN and many other sports networks as an analyst.

It might have seemed like a good idea at first for Sprewell to decline such a big contract offer from Golden State Warriors, but it turned out to be one of his biggest mistakes. It was reported that at one point during his career as an analyst on TV shows, Sprewell made only $6 an hour when you deduct federal taxes from it. He has three kids and so according to calculations done by CBS Sports, if he worked for 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year on television in the 2014-2015 season then that would amount to around $2800 after taxes. As of August 2017 though he reportedly makes more than 10 times that much money.

What can we learn from this?

It is a difficult choice to make when you have no idea what the future might hold. Latrell Sprewell had a tough decision in front of him. He could take the $21 million contract and continue playing in the NBA or he could decline the contract and leave basketball altogether. He declined the contract because he felt that it would be best for his family and they needed financial security now more than ever before.

He had never imagined that it would be this hard to find work after being an athlete all his life. He found himself cleaning carpets and living paycheck-to-paycheck with his son at home.

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