Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” has taken on new meaning for former NBA star Latrell Sprewell. With a career that has labeled him one of the bad boys in the league, Sprewell’s on and off-court plays have gone down in the record books.
Latrell Sprewell was born on September 8, 1970, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After playing basketball in high school, he played for Three Rivers Community College for two years. After his community college career, he went on to play for two years at the University of Alabama. In 1992, the Golden State Warriors selected him with the 24th pick in the draft.
Early in his career, Sprewell worked hard on his skills and eventually became the top scorer on the Western Conference All-Star team from 1994 to 1997. However, his personal antics would begin to overshadow his athletic ability.
Regardless, Sprewell would remain one of the most lauded NBA players in the league. At the end of his career, he averaged 18.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and four assists. And because of those numbers, teams were still interested in him being part of their teams.
In the final years of his career, Sprewell received a three-year, $21 million contract. He refused, and life was never the same.
A career worth talking about
After being drafted by the Golden State Warriors and spending six seasons on the West Coast, Sprewell’s career took him to New York as a member of the Knicks franchise. There, he remained an athletic force helping the team reach the NBA Finals the first season he was with them.
He would end up playing a total of four seasons with the Knicks. After his time in New York, Sprewell was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on a four-man deal in 2003. He was considered a key part of their big three, along with Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell.
Despite his fascinating history, the Timberwolves were excited to have him as part of the team.
“Latrell gives us a very athletic swing player, something we’ve said since late last season that we needed,” Timberwolves, former vice president of basketball operations/general manager Kevin McHale, said of the trade. “He will give us tremendous defensive effort every time he steps onto the court. He played in several big games and wasn’t afraid to make big plays throughout his career. ”
Pride comes before a fall
After his initial season in Minnesota, Sprewell put on a solid performance as a league veteran. The team went on to play in that year’s Western Conference Finals, but lost to the dynamic duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Because of his solid performance on the court, the Timberwolves offered him a contract extension worth $21 million, but Sprewell declined, saying, “I have a family to feed.”
Following the terms of his original contract at the end of the 2004-2005 season, Sprewell was preparing to leave Minnesota after turning down the offer. His final season with the Timberwolves also showed a decline in his performance, with career low averages of 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Despite the declining numbers, several other teams were willing to bet on Sprewell in 2005. However, he declined all offers. According to Sports Rush, his agent Bob Gist had a plan to wait until teams got desperate during the trade season and planned to sign a team ahead of the February deadline of that year. It is alleged that Gist made it clear that Sprewell was not interested in any deal that included a “team’s $5 million mid-level exception.”
Gist described this type of offering as “a level below which [Sprewell] would not stoop or kneel!”
Since Sprewell turned down the original Minnesota Timberwolves extension and all other offers because it was allegedly under him, the 2004-2005 season was not only his last in Minnesota, but also his final season playing in the NBA.
From that point on, things started to get worse for the NBA legend. According to the New York Times, Latrell Sprewell was sued for $200 million.
From there, Sprewell was forced to sell his yacht to help pay the $1.3 million he owed for the boat, according to court documents. According to an ESPN report, his home was also mortgaged because of defaulted payments from September 2007 to January 2008.
Today, Sprewell is worth $150,000 a celebrity net worth.
However, that’s not how the story ends. Sprewell is experiencing a season of redemption. As per his Instagram bio, he is doing community relations work with his former team, the New York Knicks. The 51-year-old also works as a media personality for Madison Square Garden.