Basketball

Sadly, the story of a person who suddenly became a multi-millionaire and then, through a combination of bad luck and bad decisions, lost it all is a familiar one. The latest example is former professional basketball player Darius Miles, who has filed for bankruptcy. He listed $1.57 million in liabilities and just over $460,000 in assets.

The 34-year-old Miles was raised by a single mother who worked as a bus driver in East St. Louis, Illinois. He declined an opportunity to play college ball when he was drafted as a forward by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2000 and given a $9 million contract.

Lack of Education and Maturity Can Be a Problem

One former official with the National Basketball Association players' union says that the lack of maturity of many players drafted out of high school and thrust into the financial stratosphere is a factor in their ability to wisely handle money. He says they "need to find the right people to watch over their money and then watch those people."

Professional and Personal Problems

Miles' life on and off the court has been strewn with problems in the years since the 6-foot-9-inch player was a first-round NBA draft pick. He's had a number of run-ins with the law. He was traded by the Clippers to Cleveland and then played in Portland. An injury kept him off the court from 2006 to 2008. He was unable to revive his basketball career.

Meanwhile, he was involved in some problematic real estate deals. In one, he lost over $100,000. Another was beset by multiple lawsuits. He's also been paying child support to a woman who says he's the father of her child.

Miles is seeking to sell his assets, which include jewelry, trophies, signed jerseys and other mementos of his NBA career. He listed 12 properties in East St. Louis in his filing, in addition to his Belleville, Illinois, home.

For most people, it seems inconceivable that anyone making millions of dollars a year could end up in this situation. However, it happens all the time, as bankruptcy attorneys can attest. No matter how much or little money you have, it's always possible to end up owing more money than you have -- whether due to medical bills, job loss, investment losses or any number of reasons. The sooner you take steps to regain control with trusted legal and financial advisors, the better.