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Allen Iverson’s Hard-Earned Lessons: No Blueprint for Retirement, ‘I Never Had a Plan’

Allen Iverson might have been nicknamed “The Answer” for his skills on the basketball court, but in his personal life, he’s learned some valuable lessons in managing his finances.

“I never had a blueprint. I’d be lying if I acted like I had a plan and thought it all out or anything like that. Honestly, that’s where a lot of my downfalls, if you want to call it that, came from… because I didn’t have a plan,” Iverson told Afrotech. “I was 21 years old. I was on the fly. I never had money before in my life. My success was on a small scale. My popularity was on a small scale… only in Virginia, you know what I mean?”

Iverson’s Professional Career and Personal Challenges 

During Iverson’s career, he earned an estimated $200 million between his NBA salary and various endorsements. However he has a reported net worth of $1 million as a result of overspending and an expensive divorce. Yet Iverson is learning to overcome these challenges. 

“I can tell you, I had to learn the hard way. I had to go through trials and tribulations. I never had the stability and the people behind me who could teach me how to meander in this life and figure everything out,” Iverson said. “I had to do it all by myself and learn the hard way, but at the same time, I think it was a blessing for me because it taught me so many things and helped to develop me into the person that I am today.”

Iverson was drafted No. 1 overall in the 1996 NBA draft and played with the Philadelphia 76ers for ten years before moving on to teams such as Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and Memphis Grizzlies. Incredible highs and severe lows marked Iverson’s career in the NBA. Named to the NBA All-Star team eleven times, he holds the ninth-highest career points-per-game average and was the top scorer four times between 1998 and 2005.

Yet despite his achievements, Iverson’s off-court conflicts — infidelities, alcohol, and gambling — often made it hard to work with him professionally. After returning to the Philadelphia 76ers for one year, Iverson could not find another team in the league and was wound up playing on a Turkish team as part of the European league. 

A Financial Lifeline

By the time Iverson had retired from playing basketball in 2013, he was faced with financial challenges that forced him to file for bankruptcy in 2012. 

Yet a deal Iverson scored with Reebok in 2001 is still reaping benefits. As part of the deal, Iverson earns $1 million annually in dividends plus $800,000 yearly. When Iverson turns 55 in 2030, he will earn $32 million from the company, which saved his earnings in a trust fund. 

And that’s not all. Iverson currently serves as Reebok’s vice president of basketball. 

“The opportunity and the trust they have in me, it’s a beautiful thing,” Iverson told Afrotech. “For them to believe in me and to have an input in something so powerful, it all goes back to my belief in God and what he has in store for me, and Pepsi just believing in me and giving me the opportunity to do something special.”

Thanks to partnerships like the above taking flight at the top of his career, Iverson can manage to work with brands including Pepsi as he continues to enjoy retirement.


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