How NBA star Spencer Haywood made a comeback from addiction

DETROIT – Spencer Haywood had it all.

Although he was born in Mississippi, Haywood moved to Detroit in his teen years, went to Pershing High School and won a state championship. He eventually played at the University of Detroit.

He won a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics. He was a four-time NBA All-Star, future Hall of Famer who was married to a super model (Iman).

His was a storybook life come true, until  cocaine addiction brought his world crashing down. During a recent interview with Local 4, he says the best decision he ever made was to get sober (29 years ago). He says with a sly smile that it’s hard to pick a worst decision. But one of those on the list was taking the advice of his agent more than 30 years ago.

Spencer was offered a deal with a new company called Nike to promote their basketball shoes. They offered $100,000 or 10 percent of the company. His agent told him to take the money (so he could get his commission). Today, Spencer tries not to think about Nike’s current value of $86.2 billion.

Ten percent of that is… ouch! 

Watch the full interview above.

About the Author: