BOSTON (CBS) — Former Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker wants stars of the future to learn from his mistakes of the past.
Walker, who earned nearly $110 million over his 13-year NBA career, is getting his life back on track after he filed for bankruptcy and battled felony charges stemming from a gambling debt in Las Vegas in 2010. Walker, now 37, hopes that his new documentary “Gone In An Instant,” not only clears the air about his bankruptcy and gambling issues, but helps other prospective NBA stars from making the same mistakes he did with his money.
“I want to tell my story the right way, but also use it as a learning tool,” Walker told Steve Burton on Sunday night’s edition of WBZ-TV’s Sports Final.
Walker, who the Celtics drafted sixth overall out of Kentucky in 1996, said he liked to do things “first class” when he went out during his playing days, and was more than willing to cover the entire bill for his party, which was often as many as 10 people.
“I probably did too many of those things throughout my career,” said Walker. “It was just natural for me.”
Walker said most of his financial problems stemmed from a failed real estate venture, which forced him to eventually file for bankruptcy.
“You go through a lot of trials and tribulations in life. The main thing I went through was real estate, and I think a lot of people have misconceptions on how you can lose money like that,” he explained. “When you make yourself a personal guarantor of a real estate company, and put all your money up and the market goes bad, it can go quickly.”
To compound that matter, Walker was dealing with legal trouble at the time for passing bad checks at three Las Vegas casinos. He said the issue was his own fault, but the casinos sought legal action while he was trying to file for bankruptcy, complicating the situation.
“I gambled more recreational. I did lose $900,000 over an eight-week period; I train in Vegas in the summer time for about six weeks, so it was over a six-to-eight week period,” he said. “I was actually going to stop.
Watch Part 2: Walker On Gambling, Documentary
“When that happened I was going through the real estate problem, so they decided to take action. Unfortunately it went public, because then people start to paint a picture about me and think that’s what really happened. That’s the great thing about this documentary; people get to see the true facts behind everything,” said Walker, who is now debt-free.
Walker hopes to find his way back into basketball as a coach, but is just focused on the quality of life for him and his two daughters. He’s still making speaking appearances and signing autographs for a little income, and his famous “Walker Wiggle” still follows him wherever he goes.
“It’s crazy because now people just remember me for it, and I used to get crucified for doing it,” Walker said of the wiggle, which he said originated during his college days. “Its turned out to be kind of a trademark. You’d be surprised how many people still remember that no matter where I go. It’s been good for me.”
Watch Part 3: Walker On Wiggle, Future Of Celtics
Walker is hosting a private screening of “Gone In An Instant” in Boston on Monday night because of everything the city did for him during his playing career. Now he hopes to give back just a little bit with the new film.
“I think it’s going to be a great learning tool for a lot of young people, especially NBA ball players,” he said. “I want to give back to the kids and let them learn.”
Tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT on WBZ-TV every Sunday night at 11:35 p.m.!
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