What’s up Yard?! It’s ya boy B-Haywood finally back on the East Coast and checking in. I recently spent a little time at the NBA’s Summer League out in Las Vegas working out with our new coaching staff and some of my veteran teammates like Mike Miller, Antawn Jamison, Mike James, etc. Two things jumped out at me while I was there.
First, we’ve got some great young players coming into the league this year. While I was there working out, I was able to watch some of the summer league games. Based on what I saw, my top-five pre-rookie of the year picks are: Blake Griffin, Johnny Flynn, Tyreke Evans, DeJuan Summers and Stephen Curry.
Besides that, another thing that jumped out at me was a disturbing article that I read about ex-NBA star Antoine Walker being arrested for writing a million dollars worth of bad checks to Las Vegas casinos. That article kind of caught me off guard because he was a premiere player in this league and made so much money that for him to turn around and lose it seems crazy to me. But unfortunately, this offseason, ex-pro athletes and especially ex-NBA players having financial difficulty has become a common theme. Guys such as Randy Brown and Bernie Kosar have had to file for bankruptcy and Eddy Curry, Vin Baker and Latrell Sprewell have all had homes foreclosed on.
This led one of my good friends to ask me one question, where the hell has the money gone?! As I sat there and pondered the question myself, I came up with four reasons why current and former pro-athletes lose their millions as quickly as they make them. I decided to share my list with you guys and hopefully any young athletes reading this will take heed to what I’m saying.
MY FOUR KEYS FOR PRO-ATHLETES TO AVOID GOING BROKE
1. Don’t Give In to Overindulgence: A lot of times, guys in sports figure that the money will keep pouring in for years to come. Even if you have success in the NBA, you’re looking at 10 good years but the average is more like 5. Don’t try to do too much too fast. I’m not saying deprive yourself of the things that your heart desires but just know that you have to do everything in moderation. If you’re a guy who likes jewelry, there’s nothing wrong with buying that nice watch or necklace but there’s no need to buy 10 of them! You can only wear one at a time! And remember that the value of jewelry goes down pretty quickly. I would also stay away from purchasing lots of vehicles at one time. There’s nothing wrong with buying 2-3 cars that you always dreamed of having but if you look in your garage and it looks like you have a fleet of vehicles, you’re overdoing it!
2. Everyone Can’t Live Like You: This is one of the hardest things for athletes to grasp because when you get fame and wealth, you want to share your success with family and friends. You can hook them up a little bit but they can’t live your same lifestyle. I’m not saying don’t buy your mom her dream house, because she definitely deserves it. But don’t buy your cousins and homeboys the same stuff you have and allow them to live off of you. At some point this will put a stress on you financially. The hardest thing for a pro-athlete to do is say no to money requests from family and friends especially when they know you have it. What I’m trying to say is that it’s hard to say no to lending money to family and friends because if you say yes, the requests will never stop because they’ll see that you’re weak and keep asking for more.
3. Don’t Make Bad Investments: This is the common theme and one of the quickest ways for ex-pro-athletes to go broke. So many guys try to get rich twice. You have to realize that an investment is nothing more than gambling. I learned a long time ago to never gamble what you’re not prepared to lose. So if you invest your money, you’d better be prepared to lose it all. And if you can’t lose it all and live the same lifestyle as before then that’s probably not the investment for you. Also, you need to do your homework on all investment deals brought to you. Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it is and normally if it sounds too good to be true, it is. I have investment deals brought to me every day and two things I like to stay away from are deals that involve me putting up a lot of capital up front and deals that people say are “can’t miss” opportunities. These are two red flags. If these two things come up in a potential business deal, pro-athletes should run for the hills! In this economy, there’s no such thing as a “can’t miss” opportunity and if someone wants you to put a lot of money up front on an investment, it means they don’t have the proper funding and that’s why they’re coming to you. Those are good signs that you shouldn’t be doing business with them.
4. Get a Prenuptial Agreement /Avoid Messy Divorces: My last rule is arguably the biggest of them all – get a prenuptial agreement (prenup)! If you’re a pro-athlete or if you’ve achieved a lot of wealth before you met your mate, don’t get married without a prenup. One of the quickest ways for pro-athletes to go broke is through a messy divorce. I know a lot of folks say it sounds cold-blooded but I don’t care! You have to remember that you worked hard to get to this point and you don’t want anything to take away from the opportunity you have to live a nice lifestyle well into your twilight years. A prenup is nothing but insurance. I don’t believe I’m going to get into a car accident, but I have car insurance! I don’t believe that my house is going to burn down, but I have house insurance! I don’t believe that I’m going to die anytime soon, but I have life insurance! So for all of my fellow pro-athletes, please sign up for “marriage insurance” and get a prenup!
So for all of my pro-athletes, if you follow these four rules, you’re guaranteed a life of wealth and happiness. And if anyone bumps into Evander Holyfield anytime soon, be sure to pass these on to him.
It’s your boy B-Haywood – I’m gone!