$27m loss won't influence whether Duncan plays on

NEW YORK - The promise of a multimillion-dollar contract will not be a factor in whether Tim Duncan returns for his 19th National Basketball Association season, even though the San Antonio Spurs All-Star lost more than US$20 million (S$26.6 million) to what he says is a dishonest financial adviser.

"Luckily I've had a long career and made good money," the 39-year-old, who has earned about US$220 million over his career, said in a telephone interview. "This is a big chunk, but it's not going to change my life in any way. It's not going to make any decisions for me."

In January, Duncan sued his former financial adviser, Charles Banks, accusing him of pushing him into investments despite conflicts of interest that ultimately caused substantial loss.

Banks hid his own interest in investment opportunities recommended to the 15-time All-Star, according to the complaint. The losses from 2005-2013 were discovered during a review of Duncan's finances as part of his divorce, the player said.

"I trusted someone to do a job that I hired them to do and they misused my trust and went astray and started using my money," he said. "I want people to understand that the statements he made are absolutely incorrect, that he's just trying to make himself look good and save his own image when there's nothing there to save."

Antroy Arreola, an attorney for Banks, e-mailed a response to Duncan's comments. "Mr Banks found the legal action surprising because Mr Duncan has no claim against Mr Banks," he said in the statement. "We are confident that when all the facts are heard, it will be clear that the claims presented lack foundation."

Duncan said he met Banks during his rookie year in 1998. At Banks' urging, the athlete put several million dollars in investments that the adviser owned or in which he had financial stakes, according to the lawsuit.

The power forward said he would not look back and castigate himself for failing to better protect his money. The NBA, he said, does a "great job" of informing players of the potential pitfalls when it comes to their money.

"I thought, for the most part, I was keeping an eye on things. You have to have people checking on people checking on people. I did that for a while. Obviously, I got to a point where the people I trusted were checking on themselves," said the two-time Most Valuable Player who has won five championships with the Spurs.

"The bottom line is this: You can't be angry at yourself... That's a lesson learnt. I'll never put myself in that situation again."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2015, with the headline '$27m loss won't influence whether Duncan plays on'. Print Edition | Subscribe