What is Spencer Haywood’s Net Worth. Career Earnings and Salary?
Spencer Haywood is an American retired professional basketball player who has a net worth of $3 million. Spencer Haywood played in the NBA from 1969 to 1983. He played for a number of teams, including the Seattle SuperSonics, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Bullets. Before joining the NBA, Haywood won a gold medal with the US men’s national basketball team at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Haywood won an NBA championship in 1980 and was the ABA MVP in 1970. He was a four time NBA All-Star and an ABA All-Star and All-Star Game MVP. He held many other accolades and his #24 was retired by the Seattle SuperSonics and he is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
At the peak of his career, Spencer earned around $350,000 per season which is the same as around $1.5 million today.
Spencer is also notable for being married to supermodel Iman from 1977 – 1987. They had one child together.
Early in his playing career, Spencer was approached by a young upstart shoe company called Nike that wanted him to endorse their product. Spencer was given the choice between $100,000 (roughly $500k in today’s money), or a 10% equity stake in the company. Tragically, Spencer chose the $100k. Had he accepted the equity offer, today his net worth would be significantly more than $10 billion (including dividends).
Spencer Haywood was born on April 22, 1949 in Silver City, Mississippi. In his early teens, he moved to the Krainz Woods neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. There, he went to Pershing High School, where he helped lead the school basketball team to the state championship.
In 1967, Haywood enrolled at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado. On the basketball team there, he averaged 28.2 points and 22.1 rebounds per game during the 1967-68 season. Haywood subsequently transferred to the University of Detroit in the fall of 1968. That season, he averaged 32.1 points per game and led the NCAA in rebounding with an average of 21.5 per game.
1968 Summer Olympics
While he was still in college in 1968, Haywood landed a spot on the US men’s national basketball team for the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Not only was he the youngest player in the tournament, he was also the leading scorer with an average of 16.1 points per game. With his team, he won the gold medal.
Following his sophomore year of college, Haywood decided to go professional. However, NBA rules at the time prohibited this, as they required that a class graduate before a player could join the league. Consequently, Haywood joined the ABA’s Denver Rockets. In his rookie season with the Rockets in 1969-70, he had an average of 30 points and 19.5 rebounds per game, good enough to lead the team to the ABA’s Western Division title. Moving on to the division semifinals, the Rockets took out the Washington Caps in seven games. Ultimately, the team fell to the Los Angeles Stars in the division finals. Despite the final loss, Haywood had an incredible season, with his 986 field goals and 1,637 rebounds setting ABA single-season records. For his success, he won ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA MVP honors.
In 1970, Haywood joined the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics. Among the highlights of his five-season tenure with the team, he was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1972 and 1973, and the All-NBA Second Team in 1974 and 1975. Haywood also set a new single-season franchise record for average points per game with 29.2 in the 1972-73 season. The following season, he set a new single-season franchise record for rebounds, with an average of 13.4 per game. For his final season with the SuperSonics in 1974-75, Haywood helped lead the team to its first-ever playoff berth. Additionally, he played in four NBA All-Star Games during his time with Seattle.
Following his five seasons with the SuperSonics, Haywood was traded to the New York Knicks, with which he played from 1975 to 1979. Notably, he played alongside Bob McAdoo. Haywood next played briefly for the New Orleans Jazz. After that, he played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1979-80 season. It was during this time that Haywood struggled with a cocaine addiction. Falling asleep during practice, he was ultimately let go by the Lakers during the NBA Finals in 1980. Haywood concluded his NBA career with the Washington Bullets, playing from 1981 to 1983.
For the 1980-81 season, between his tenures with the Lakers and the Bullets, Haywood played for the Italian professional basketball club Reyer Venezia. He played alongside Serbian player Dražen Dalipagić, one of the most successful athletes in Yugoslavian history.
Haywood v. National Basketball Association
When Haywood signed with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1969, he and the team violated an NBA rule stipulating that a player could not joint the league if they were less than four years out of high school. Faced with severe consequences, Haywood decided to challenge the NBA’s rules by launching an antitrust suit against the league with SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman. The argument was that the policy constituted a restraint on trade, and was thus illegal according to the Sherman Antitrust Act. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately upheld the injunction in Haywood’s favor issued earlier by the US District Court for the Central District of California. Following this, Haywood and the SuperSonics reached a settlement out-of-court, allowing him to remain with the league.
In 1977, Haywood married fashion model and actress Iman. Together, they had a daughter named Zulekha. The couple later divorced in 1987. Haywood wed his second wife, Linda, in 1990; they have three daughters.
In 2015, Haywood was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.