Horror stories of athletes being careless with their money are a dime a dozen, losing their fortunes in a blaze of glory. Learning from the mistakes of cautionary tales like Antoine Walker (who piled up seven-figure gambling debts while supporting an entourage of childhood buddies) and Mike Tyson, the new generation of stars has smartly placed an emphasis on financial literacy, expanding their portfolios with various side hustles and entrepreneurial pursuits that, if properly executed, could lead to generational wealth.
Being rich and staying rich are two separate things. For instance, billionaire investor Warren Buffett didn’t become CEO of Berkshire Hathaway by blowing his savings on jewelry and expensive cars. The devil is in the details, developing wise spending habits and budgeting for what’s important. LeBron James seems to have a strong grasp on that concept, as alluded to by Kevin Love, who confirmed his former Cavs teammate to be among the most frugal players he’s ever encountered.
“In Toronto, that drive from the airport and going through customs to then getting to our hotel, there’s no data used at all,” Love told Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks in an interview for Mental Health Awareness Month. “He’s waiting for the WiFi all the time.”
Most would roll their eyes at James sweating something as trivial as phone data (apparently, he’s never heard of AT&T’s unlimited plan). When you combine his NBA salary and endorsement deals with brands like Nike, Kia and FritoLay (not to mention minority stakes in both the Red Sox and Liverpool FC), he’ll pocket over $120 million this year. And while Love isn’t going to any great lengths to avoid roaming charges, he admires the Lakers forward for saving every penny.
“When they talk about wealth, sometimes it’s the things you don’t see,” said Love, who recently finished runner-up to Tyler Herro for NBA Sixth Man of the Year. “What’s the great finance saying, a small leak can sink a great ship? I can appreciate it.”