When people make it to a certain point of their lives and obtain a specific level of success, like clockwork, distant cousins, estranged friends, and former associates all show up out of nowhere. When this happens, the phrase “you weren’t with me shooting in the gym” usually enters the chat. Well, Allen Iverson must’ve had a community center-sized gym full of people while he was working his way to the top because, according to reports, many folks wanted a piece of the NBA legend’s success.

When you think of legendary point guards in the NBA, Allen Iverson comes to mind. From his iconic braids to his athletic prowess, AI is a cultural icon on and off the court.

Born June 7, 1975, Allen Ezail Iverson was drafted as the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He would spend 14 seasons in the NBA, appearing in eight NBA playoffs, and end his career with 26.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game.

With great athletic ability, on-court performances yield big contracts and high salary earnings. According to Spotrac, Iverson earned an estimated $154,770,668 throughout his NBA career.

And while he made some poor spending choices along the way that he eventually recovered from, his blind loyalty to friends and family might have proved to be one of his most significant financial risks.

Reckoning With The Past

After Iverson’s sophomore year at Georgetown, the young basketball star entered the 1996 draft and joined the Philadelphia franchise. While he had great hype behind him, parts of his past preceded him.

According to an interview from GQ, Pat Croce, former president and minority owner of the 76ers, noted that he had authorities look into his background before the draft.

“Everyone wanted us to draft him. I had detectives evaluating his background. The feedback we got on him was that he would require discipline. At the same time, I was looking for someone to fill seats,” Croce explained.

Some players would have used their PR to wiggle out of the reality of their past, but Iverson owned up to it. Iverson understood that he came from an environment where everyone didn’t have the same fortune or path he was blessed with. However, the responsibility to “get it right” was on him.

He basically said, “‘Look, Brad, if I f-ck up, it’s going to be because I f-ck up, not because of someone else,” Brad Greenberg, former general manager, Philadelphia 76ers, recalled Iverson saying, according to GQ.

No Child Left Behind

Although Iverson seemed to have ownership of his future and wouldn’t let others impact his big break, he would not forget those he grew up with. Iverson had made a pact with his friends and family that they would come along for the ride if he made it.

According to Larry Platt, editor of Philadelphia magazine and an Iverson biographer, Iverson reportedly had about 35 families on his payroll at one point in his career.

“Growing up, he made a pact with his friends, some of whom had long criminal records: They were going to be rappers, and he was a baller. And whoever made it, the rest were along for the ride. At one point, there were about thirty-five families on the payroll, both relatives and friends,” Platt said.

“Everybody coming at you, picking at you, wanting something from you. Pulling and tugging. That was rough. Not knowing how to handle money, not having known about money your whole life, that was the tough part of it. Eventually, after having it for years, you get used to it,” Iverson said, according to GQ.

But Iverson’s aunt, Jessie Iverson-Bowman, knew the nature of the game and saw the greed for what it was.

“All the people he was friends with, if they did any little thing for him, they threw it up in his face: ‘Man, I looked out for you when you were coming up!’ He hears so many people’s problems: “Man, my lights about to get cut off; they taking my car. Can I get a few dollars? ” Iverson-Bowman described, GQ reports.

Big Bank Iverson

Today, Iverson is making better financial decisions as things have leveled out. Thanks to his deal with Reebok, which he signed in 2001, Iverson has a trust with more than $32 million that he cannot access until he is 55-years-old. However, according to the deal, it pays him $1 million annually.

As reported by AfroTech, Iverson also receives $800,000 a year in perpetuity. Additionally, he is involved in the cannabis industry and has ventured into the world of non-fungible tokens.

In addition, the NBA legend will receive a pension of $8,000 per month when he turns 45 years old.