Posts Tagged ‘Pro athletes who have invested well’


Because everybody needs one.

Junior Bridgeman gets it. So does Magic Johnson. Guys like Antoine Walker, J.R. Smith and others do not.

Let’s take a look.

Professional athletes and actors can be really dumb with their money. Justin Bieber has a chrome car, for instance, and NBA guard/noted moron JR Smith recently spent $450,000.00 for an armored military vehicle. He’s evidently expecting an attack from some guided missiles as he cruises the streets or something. Actually, he recently tweeted that he needed the armored truck “to protect him from all the haters.”

Good God.

And former Kentucky Wildcat/Boston Celtic Walker blew through $110-million and filed for bankruptcy. How is this possible, you ask? Here’s how:

  • He owned two Bentleys, two Mercedes, a Range Rover, a Cadillac Escalade, and a Hummer, all outfitted with the latest gizmos of course.
  • He’d authorized 5-people to use his American Express card.
  • He wouldn’t wear the same suit twice.
  • He had an expensive watch collection.
  • He had a 70-person entourage and paid for their cell phone, rent and car payments (which of course be bought for them too).

Add to all that a series of bad investments and a gambling addiction and you have, shall we say, problems.

Pro footballer Vince Young signed a $26-million contract in 2006 and was broke by 2011. One of the reasons is that he did things like buying all the seats on a Southwest Airlines flight, simply because he wanted to fly alone. He also reportedly averaged spending $5000.00 a week at The Cheesecake Factory. Now, I like The Cheesecake Factory as much as the next guy, but really? Couldn’t you spend that kind of cash on a personal chef and get a little variety? Jeebus.

There are many levels of stupid, and Chris Bosh is apparently both stupid and heartless. It’s a long story you can read here, but the mother (Allison) of his 3-year old daughter (Trinity) has recently applied for food stamps. Chris Bosh, my friends, makes $18-million a year.

Being stupid with the ladies hasn’t helped a lot of professional athletes where their finances are concerned either. To wit:

  • Former NBA player Kenny Anderson has some interesting stats: 8-teams, 7-children, 5-women. One of his kids is named Spinderella, though, so that’s sorta cool.
  • Pro football player Willis McGahee has 9-kids with 8-different women.
  • Former NBA hoopster Willie Anderson? 9-kids, 7-women.
  • Another NBA guy, Jason Caffey, has 10-kids with 8 different ladies. That’s almost a double-double.
  • Pro football player Travis Henry ups the ante with 11-kids, 10-baby mamas.
  • Antonio Cromartie has 12-kids with 8-women. Here’s a video of him attempting to name all of them. Not kidding. There’s a video.
  • And finally, I give you NBA legend Calvin Murphy. Calvin has 14-children by 9-different women. I believe we have a winner. Calvin’s nickname when he played? “The Pocket Rocket.” Pocket Rocket indeed.

Anywho, child support for all those kiddos will drain your bank account as well.

I’ve been lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) enough to be around a few NBA players in my time, so I’ve witnessed some examples of bad judgment and boorish behavior.

I was once sent out to the parking lot get a pro player at a basketball camp at which he was to speak. The kids were sitting on the court, waiting to hear him speak about the evils of drugs and alcohol. Anyway, I went out to find him sitting in his Bentley, head back, sleeping, with a 40-ounce beer between his legs.

Did I mention it was 10:30 AM?

I also watched a soon-to-be drafted player at a major college here in Ohio sit back in a recliner in the team locker room demanding that, “Nicky needs a Dr. Pepper. Whose going to go get Nicky a Dr. Pepper?” The player’s name was, of course, Nick, so he was referring to himself in the third person. Those who followed college hoops in the early 90’s can figure out who I’m talking about pretty easily.

My point is these guys have been coddled for so long a lot of them don’t have anyone to tell them no, that they’re making asinine decisions, or just being stupid.

And I’ve also seen the mentality that Antoine Walker exhibits when he’s literally paying for a 70-person entourage. You see, a lot of these guys have made it out of tough situations, growing up with very little. In the eyes of the family and neighborhood friends they grew up with, the worst thing a guy could do would be to turn his back on them. So, the players feel like they have to take care of the people they grew up around. That’s no excuse, but it’s why you see the hangers-on and the leeches being allowed to take advantage and blow money that isn’t theirs. The player doesn’t want to be labeled a sellout, plain and simple.

These guys aren’t alone. Want to hear an amazing statistic? According to Sports Illustrated, 78% of NFL players and 60% of NBA players file for bankruptcy within two years of their retirement.

Two years.

78% and 60%.

Think about it.

However, there are exceptions. We also have gentlemen like Mr. Junior Bridgeman, Mr. Earvin Johnson and others.

But first let me tell you about Klay Thompson. Klay is 23-years old and plays for the Golden State Warriors. He’s also one of the top pure shooters in the NBA. Klay’s father is Mychal Thompson, who was a helluva player in his own right back in the day. Long story short, Mychal and Klay’s mother Julie control Klay’s bank account. All checks go directly to them. You know, so he doesn’t buy a gold-plated commode or something. Klay’s parents give him $300.00 a week in an envelope for spending money. This past season Klay got into a fight in a game and was fined $35,000.00 by the league. In addition, his “allowance” was cut by mom and dad as well.

Seem excessive? Maybe. But as Klay matures and proves he can handle it he’ll gain more control over his dough. To me, that’s just two parents who care about their son.

Junior Bridgeman played at Louisville and had a 12-year career in the NBA. He was a  good, not great, player, but he was smart.

Junior Bridgeman has no gold plated cars, no $50,000 gold chains, no armored vehicles. Instead, he just owns 196 Wendy’s franchises and over 100 Chili’s Restaurants. And oh by the way, if you’re interested in buying a Wendy’s you’ll need a minimum net worth of $5 million, including at least $2 million of liquid assets. But most agreements stipulate royalties of 4 percent of sales, so there’s that.

So, you know, go for it. Junior Bridgeman did.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson? When he was still playing he had the good sense to sit down with Michael Ovitz, CEO of Creative Arts Agency, a cat who understood business to say the least. Ovitz talked, Magic listened.

Magic now runs runs Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company that has a net worth of $700 million, and  its subsidiaries include Magic Johnson Productions, Magic Johnson Theaters, and Magic Johnson Entertainment, which happens to be a movie studio. In addition to these business ventures, he has created the Magic Card, a pre-paid MasterCard aimed at helping low-income people save money and participate in electronic commerce.

And this doesn’t even mention his work on television and his motivational speaking income. And did I mention he’s a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Bottom line? Earvin “Magic” Johnson is now worth over $500 million dollars.

Junior Bridgeman was smart. So was Magic Johnson. And I’m betting Klay Thompson will never be one of the 60% that go bankrupt within 2-years of retirement.

All the professional leagues have seminars that young players are required to attend, but it seems that the majority aren’t listening.

I’m not sure how you can convince a guy who has never had much money that millions can disappear so quickly, that he doesn’t really need that $200,000 pedigreed Belgian racing pigeon or that $1,000,000 Red Tibetan Mastiff to crap in his yard or maybe roll in a dead cat.

Hell, I don’t have any answers.

Hey, maybe all checks should go directly to Klay Thompson’s parents. Then we could let them dole it out.