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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oil & Water: Professional Athletics vs. Finances

Family –

After taking a couple of days off I decided to jump back on the wagon to see what intellectual, thought-provoking buttons I could push with one of my many soap-box commentaries.

Maybe I’m giving myself a little too much credit….

ANTYWAY (as Madea would say)… A few months ago I did a two part series on ESPN’s 30 for 30 Series: “Broke.” If any of you got a chance to see that episode and read the blog post, you know what I’m taking about… for those of you who didn’t just scroll down a few posts on the site and you’ll see the ones I’m speaking of.

In the second post, I outlined 10 things that I thought were aiding and abetting the financial challenges professional athletes face before, during and after their time in the pros. Over the course of the next three weeks we will examine each of these “considerations” in detail as they pertain to professional sports and finances.

Here they are again in case you forgot: --->

1.       Experience – Most don’t have experience handling this kind of money and usually they go from nothing to a multi-millionaire overnight.

2.      Maturity – When athletes (for all sports) “turn pro” it usually happens in their late teens or early twenties…not the most mature time in any of our lives – planning is the last thing on anyone’s mind

3.      Keepin it Real – This may be more of a cultural thing, but “remembering where you came from” is a huge thing in the African-American community. So instead of what many call “Catholic guilt” many Black athletes carry their own version of not leaving their roots behind – which unfortunately always includes paying the way of all those who were close to him “back in the day.” There’s a type of “proving” that money and fame hasn’t changed you… the last thing you want to be known as is a “sell out.”

4.      Parent(s) – This may be the single most difficult issue for any athlete. For some, being able to “take care of momma” is a huge thing. Especially for the large majority of athletes who were raised by one parent (usually mom). What’s even worse is when momma expects her son to take care of her and really lays it on… how can he say no?

Oil and Water Do Not Mix!!!
5.      “It Can’t Happen to Me” – In my humble opinion this is the biggest mindset change that needs to be made by professional athletes. Yes, it can happen to you…yes, there is an end in sight…yes; you need to make plans for life after your professional athletic career ends. In essence life is just beginning when that life if over.

6.      Education – Speaking of life after professional sports… did they even get a degree? What business professional skills do they possess? Can they do anything other than play sports?

7.      Baby Momma Drama – I refuse to even waste the ink explaining this one…in a word – DUMB.

8.      Poor Investments/Advice – Again, broke yesterday and multi-millionaire today. They have to invest in something… NEWS FLASH - all investments aren’t good investments. Unfortunately, those hired to protect the livelihood of the athlete are usually boosting their own livelihoods while sucking the monetary life out of the one they should be protecting…as long as they get their cut it really doesn’t matter. Whew! Cutthroat!  

9.      “Living the Life” – Along that same line, buying multiple homes, luxury cars, yachts, thousands on custom jewelry, clothes and spending thousands more in clubs in the VIP lounge with the entourage. Really… It doesn’t last forever… as Mike Ditka says: “Stop it!”

1.   “I’m Gonna Have a Long Career” – Here today and gone tomorrow… one never knows if coaching changes, trades, injuries or any unforeseen event will arise. Trust me… I went from being a starter in the league to unemployed in a matter of months after my head coach got fired. It happens… Living each day as if it’s your last doesn’t mean spending like it. Frugal is a smarter way to go.

I hope you’ll join me on this next journey as we examine: “Oil & Water: Professional Athletics vs. Finances.”

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