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Spencer Haywood Net Worth

Spencer Haywood is a retired American professional basketball player who has an estimated net worth of $10 million.

Spencer played in the NBA from 1969 to 1983. Nicknamed “The Skywalker” for his impressive vertical leap, Haywood had a prolific basketball career and made history several times.

During his 14 seasons in the league, he was a 4-time NBA All-Star and won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980. After retirement, Haywood had a successful business career as an investor and entrepreneur.

Spencer Haywood Net Worth

Spencer Haywood has amassed an impressive net worth of $10 million as of 2024. While his playing salary during his peak years ranged between $300,000 to $1 million annually, Haywood’s wealth has come after retirement.

Spencer Haywood Net Worth

Savvy investments in real estate, construction, restaurants, car dealerships, and oil have significantly grown Haywood’s fortune. He founded several companies focused on affordable housing development and exploration of natural resources. Haywood also monetized his brand through basketball camps, motivational speaking engagements, and website e-commerce sales.

However, Haywood has leveraged his fame, experiences, and passion for community development into financial prosperity.

Early Life and Education

Spencer Haywood was born on April 22, 1949, in Silver City, Mississippi. He had a difficult childhood marked by extreme poverty. His mother died when Spencer was just an infant, leaving him to his grandmother. As a teen, Haywood moved to Detroit and attended Pershing High School, where he excelled at basketball.

After high school, Haywood enrolled at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado on a basketball scholarship. He had an outstanding season, averaging 28.2 points and 22.1 rebounds per game. That led him to get recruited by the University of Detroit, where he continued to shine. In 1968, Haywood made his name as an All-American after averaging 32 points and 21.5 rebounds per game. However, he decided to forego his senior year eligibility and made himself available for the 1968 NBA draft.

Career Beginnings

Haywood made history when he became the first player to be drafted and signed by an NBA team while still having college eligibility. He signed with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1969 and had an impressive rookie season, averaging 20.6 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. He made his name in the NBA Rookie of the Year and MVP of the 1970 All-Star Game.

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In 1970, Haywood signed a contract with the ABA’s Denver Rockets. That led to a legal battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Haywood argued against NBA rules that prevented him from joining the league until four years after his high school graduation. He won the antitrust case, paving the way for future players to enter the NBA early.

After his court victory, Haywood returned to the NBA with the Washington Bullets in 1971. He led the league in scoring with 29.2 points per game and made a name as an All-Star starter.

In 1975, Haywood was traded to the New York Knicks, where he teamed up with other stars like Walt Frazier. He helped lead the Knicks to the playoffs through 1977.

Championship and Later Career with Lakers

In 1979, Haywood joined the Los Angeles Lakers and was a key member of their 1980 championship team alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. He came off the bench to average 9.7 points per game and provided veteran leadership. Haywood played two more seasons with the Lakers before getting traded to the Washington Bullets again in 1982.

Spencer Haywood Net Worth

After one final season back where his NBA career began, Haywood retired in 1983. He finished with career averages of 19.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Haywood was a 4-time All-Star, named to the All-NBA First Team twice, and won the 1970 Rookie of the Year award. His early advocacy for players’ rights and the Supreme Court case paved the way for future player empowerment.

Post-Playing Basketball Career and Business Ventures

After retiring as a player, Haywood worked as a basketball analyst for CBS and ESPN for a few years. He also tried his hand at coaching, taking assistant roles with several NBA teams in the late 1980s and 1990s. Haywood also coached the CBA’s Sioux Falls Skyforce for one season, leading them to a league-best 40–16 record.

In 1990, Haywood ventured into owning a construction company focused on building affordable housing units. He worked on real estate development projects valued at over $100 million. Haywood has said, “Basketball didn’t define me. I defined myself with my various entrepreneurial efforts after the NBA.”

Source of Income

Spencer Haywood earned around $7 million total in playing salary. His top salaries ranged from $300k to $1 million annually in his peak years. However, most of Haywood’s wealth came after retirement through various business ventures.

In 1990, he founded a construction company focused on affordable housing development projects that generated millions in revenue. Haywood also brought steady profits from his Louisiana-style seafood restaurant, The Black Pearl, which opened in 1996 in Detroit.

He earned income from car dealerships he owned, including a Chevrolet dealership in the 1990s, followed by a Mercedes-Benz dealership. Haywood also founded the energy company Haywood’s Energy Corporation in 2013, centered on oil exploration.

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Additional income streams came from basketball camps he operated since the 1970s, motivational speaking engagements, corporate training workshops, and e-commerce sales from his official website’s merchandise store.

Personal Life

Spencer Haywood has been married twice. His first wife was fashion model Iman, whom he married in 1977 before divorcing a few years later. The couple has a daughter named Zulekha Haywood.

Haywood married Linda Haywood in the 1990s, and they are still together. They have three daughters together. They are Isis, Shaakira, and Courtney Nikkiah.

Haywood struggled with cocaine addiction for many years, which negatively impacted his basketball career in later seasons. He checked into rehab in 1983 and has been sober since 1990. Haywood is passionate about community work, especially about helping underprivileged children. He has shared his story to support addiction recovery programs.


Spencer Haywood has been dedicated to giving back to the community, especially helping underprivileged children. He has been involved in charitable initiatives and supports several non-profit organizations focused on youth development.

In 1986, Haywood founded the Spencer Haywood Foundation, which funds various programs for children and families in need. The Foundation has an annual summer basketball camp that provides mentorship and academic support to youths from challenged backgrounds. Haywood also regularly visits children’s hospitals to uplift kids battling health problems.

For over 20 years, Haywood has been an active board member of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He frequently visits various Boys & Girls Club locations nationwide to inspire and engage with the youth. In 2015, Haywood received The John W. Brick Mental Health Award for his commitment to supporting the mental well-being of club children.

FAQs on Spencer Haywood Net Worth

What was Spencer Haywood best known for during his NBA career?

Spencer Haywood was famous for being among the first to play in the NBA. He challenged the league’s rules requiring players to be four years out of high school.

How many NBA teams did Haywood play for during his professional career?

Haywood played for 5 different NBA franchises over 14 seasons. He played for the Seattle Supersonics, Washington Bullets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and back to the Bullets in Washington.

How much did Haywood earn during his NBA playing career?

Haywood earned approximately $7 million in NBA salary during his 14 seasons in the league from 1970 to 1983. His top annual salaries ranged from $300,000 to $1 million per year in his peak-performing seasons.

Final Words

Spencer Haywood had a remarkable basketball career, making history by pioneering new paths for players. His court case paved the way for future generations. Haywood was a supremely talented player who achieved great success, winning an NBA title and MVP honors.

After retiring, he applied that same drive to business and built an impressive portfolio of companies. Haywood has overcome adversity and given back to the community. He has accumulated an estimated net worth of $10 million with smart investments and entrepreneurial ventures.


Benedict is an entertainment enthusiast and a passionate blogger. He loves to share his insights and opinions of the ever-evolving entertainment world. When he's not writing, you can find Benedict immersing himself in the latest releases, following the latest industry events, and engaging with fellow entertainment enthusiasts online.