Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 3/19/12
MIAMI The list of owners of Miami Heat player championship rings includes Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and now Andres Garcia. TMZ reported that Antoine Walker, who has lost all of the 100 million-plus he made during a 12-year NBA career and gone into bankruptcy, has been forced to sell his 2006 Heat title ring to that man named Garcia for 21,500. I think its worth more than that, personally, Wade said. In interviews with FOX Sports Florida, Wade and Haslem, the only two players still on the Heat from 2006, were saddened it has gotten so bad for Walker that a championship ring is now in the hands of someone who had nothing to do with Miamis dramatic 4-2 Finals win against Dallas. I know how hard we worked for that ring and how much it means to all of us. It's very unfortunate,'' said Wade, who read the news Monday about the sale. "But (Walker) has to do what he has to do for his family. I know how much that ring means to him and I know how hard he worked for that. And its really unfortunate that hes in that situation. But, at the same time, you got to do what you got to do to get where you can get back to. Hopefully, everything hes doing, hes able to recoup and get his way back. Its been well publicized how Walker, a forward who averaged 12.2 points for the 2005-06 Heat and 8.5 for them in 2006-07, has run up debts due to gambling losses. Haslem at least believes what Walker has gone through could serve as a warning to other NBA players. Its unfortunate, Haslem said about it reaching the point that Walker was forced to sell his ring. Antoine is a friend of mine, and I hate to hear stuff like that. You also can learn something from it. You can look at it and realize that this life (as an NBA player) doesnt last forever, this lifestyle is not going to last forever. And, at the end of the day, were going to have to all retire one day and hopefully live off the finances weve been able to save. (Walkers situation is) sad, but you also try to learn from it. Walker, who averaged 17.5 points with five teams from 1996-2008 and played in three All-Star Games representing Boston, is now with the Idaho Stampede of the Development League, making 25,000 while trying to get back to the NBA. Walker, 35, recently was profiled by Sports Illustrated. Haslem saw Walker as recently as last summer. But the two didnt talk about his money problems. No, we talk about the good stuff, good times, Haslem said. Wade, like Walker a Chicago native, also has seen Walker recently. And the conservations also are positive, namely about Miamis title run. I just see him here and there, Wade said. We won a championship together, we were teammates. We talk about the good memories. The memories from 2006 are at least still there for Walker even if the ring isnt. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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