By Ben Golliver
The state of Allen Iverson's finances has been the subject of some debate in recent years, but recently filed divorce papers don't paint a pretty picture.
TMZ.com reports that Iverson, an 11-time All-Star and surefire future Hall of Famer, admits in the paperwork that he's bleeding money. Iverson reportedly claimed $62,500 in monthly income against $358,000+ in monthly expenses, which include mortgage payments and obligations to creditors.
Allen says he blows a lot on OTHER expenses too ... like $10,000/month on clothes, $10,000/month on grocery/house items, $1,000/month on dry cleaning, $5,000/month on entertainment, $5,000/month on restaurants ... and so on.
Add it up and Iverson self-reported a monthly deficit of more than $295,000 a month, which pencils out to more than $3.5 million per year. TMZ.com also reported last week that a mansion Iverson purchased for $4.5 million in 2010 is headed to foreclosure.
Iverson, 37, reportedly earned more than $154 million during a 14-year playing career with the Sixers, Nuggets, Pistons and Grizzlies. He also held a lucrative endorsement deal with Reebok that included his own signature shoe.
One of the most popular and polarizing players of the post-Michael Jordan NBA ended his playing career in 2010 after brief comebacks in Memphis and Philadelphia. Since then, Iverson has played professionally in Turkey for Besiktas and in China for a celebrity game.
In 2010, while Iverson playing for Besiktas on a two-year, $4 million contract, Philly.com reported that he was facing serious financial hardship, even though he denied that money was behind his move to Turkey.
"It's not a problem, it's not a problem -- money," Iverson said at an Oct. 29 news conference in New York. "Obviously if it was about money, I would jump out there and say, 'You want me to come off the bench? How much money are you paying?' It wouldn't be a big deal. It's not about money or anything like that."
A member of one NBA front office, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the subject matter, said that prior to last season, a member of Iverson's family called to inquire about a contract for Iverson, explaining that Iverson owed that person money and would be unable to pay without a contract.
A similar source explained that Iverson is broke, plain and simple.
In March 2012, the New York Post reported that Iverson's financial picture isn't quite that bleak, due to the future availability of funds an adviser put away for him and an upcoming NBA pension.
Someone who cared a great deal for Iverson and grasped the extent of his habits, loyalties and generosity protected him to some degree from financial ruination, at 36, at any rate. A person with a firm grip on the situation informs me Iverson has an account worth $32 million, a principal he is prohibited from touching until 55. In the meantime, it feeds him $1 million annually.
At 45, Iverson is eligible to start drawing on an NBA pension that maxes out at 10 years of active duty, or take whatever’s there as lump sum. He will be entitled roughly to $8,000 per month ($800 per x 10). If at all possible, Iverson will issue a restraining order against himself until he’s 62 or so. At that time, I’m told, his lump sum will be between $1.5 million and $1.8 million, or he can elect to take monthly checks of approximately $14,000 per.
Iverson has kept a fairly low-profile in recent years but did show up to a Sixers playoff game back in May, where he was greeted as a hero with a standing ovation.
During an in-game interview with ESPN, Iverson said that he still wasn't ready to call himself "retired" from basketball.
"I'm not using that word [retirement]," he said. "I want to play basketball so bad. ... I mean, the way it is right now, I've accepted the fact that [playing in the NBA] might not happen. But I still want to play basketball. If I can get an opportunity to where it's going to make me happy at the end of my career, I'll take that opportunity. But I just love to play and I want to have another opportunity to play on the professional level." Iverson holds career averages of 26.7 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. His 24,368 points ranks him No. 18 on the NBA's All-Time scoring list. Listed at 6-foot and 165 pounds, Iverson has been called the best "pound for pound" scorer in league history, and the 6-foot-2 Jerry West is the only other player among the NBA's top 25 scorers listed at shorter than 6-foot-5.