NBA Hall Of Famer Opens Up On His Secret Off-Court Lifestyle
- Spencer Haywood explains his “different” off0court lifestyle
- Haywood wanted a life outside of basketball
- NBA swingman was a pioneer for NBA player empowerment
Life can be pretty simple when you’re in the NBA. From October to April, players can expect to be playing games multiple times per week followed by whatever it is they choose to do at home. For former NBA forward Spencer Haywood, however, he lived two lives during his NBA days.
As he explained in a sit-down with Kevin Garnett, he enjoyed a completely different lifestyle when he wasn’t playing games. “I just wanted something different. I wanted a different life than just basketball. And so when I met Iman and later we just got married and had children and stuff like that but that whole lifestyle was like totally different and I enjoyed it tremendously.” Haywood and his wife, Iman, constantly spent time together and they made it a point to experience all that life had to offer. “We just clinged to each other and did a lot of things man. [Me and Iman] just went to plays, we did operas, fashion shows galore…It was some beautiful stuff.”
Back in Haywood’s day, NBA stars were boxed into a stereotype with other athletes. Players who didn’t devote their whole life to working out, or who didn’t party in between, were considered taboo. Despite this, Haywood broke the mold and re-defined how people thought about athletes off the court. Unfortunately for Haywood, his. career didn’t come without some major mistakes. At the height of his career, he missed out on millions of potential dollars in earnings thanks to a mistake by his agent.
How Spencer Haywood Lost $2.8 Billion
As successful as Haywood was on the court as a 5x All-Star, 4x All-NBA player, and former NBA champion, he was cut short on a deal made with Nike. As the story goes, Haywood tried to earn 10% of Nike’s stake before his agent sold the stock for $100,000. “I went on the road, and he [agent] had the power of attorney letter,” Haywood said of his agent. “He couldn’t figure out how to get his 10%, so he sold my stock for the cash. I lost about $2.8 billion.”
It was obviously a monumental mistake from Haywood, but with a net worth of at least $3 million today, it’s fair to say he’s doing alright for himself. At the very least, we can say that he was able to live freely given all that he was able to do.
Player Empowerment Is At An All-Time High
In many ways, Spencer Haywood was an early pioneer for player empowerment and the “more than an athlete” movement. Back in the 70s and 80s, players were expected to just shut up and dribble and any player who dared to branch out was fought at every turn. Today, however, players are free to do what they want with little to no recourse.
Russell Westbrook wore a dress at a fashion show, James Harden frequently parties at strip clubs during the offseason, and LeBron James frequently shares his own political views on whatever platform he can. While Spencer Haywood is not fully responsible for this shift, his willingness to live life his way, and step out of “the box” is one of the earliest signs of player empowerment we see in the NBA.