Winning the Money Game: Lessons Learned from Pro Athletes

AdonalWinningTheMoneyGame-coverThis is a book review of Winning the Money Game: Lessons Learned from the Financial Fouls of Pro Athletes by 13-year NBA veteran Adonal Foyle.

We first learned about Adonal Foyle when we were doing our video on Mike Tyson and how his lavish lifestyle caused him to go bankrupt. We wanted to find a good example to counter-balance Mike’s bad financial example. We started googling and Adonal’s name came up near the top of the search. Anyways, he’s one of the good guys so we wanted to read his book. And after reading it, we’re even more impressed by the man.

Book Review:

This is a great little book for a parent or sports fan to read about personal finance and handling your money. If you find personal finance boring but know, in your mind, that you “should learn more about it”, then this is the book for you. It’s like gummy vitamins; it tastes like candy while being good for you at the same time. You’ll be fascinated by the pro athlete stories and examples, and you’ll end up finishing the book with some sound money knowledge. This is a fast read because it’s told in the context of disaster and success stories of pro athletes and other celebrities, like Allen Iverson, Warren Sapp, Dorothy Hamill, Darryl Strawberry, Dennis Rodman, Michael Strahan, Wesley Snipes, MC Hammer, Willie Nelson, Nicholas Cage, Stephen Baldwin, etc. Here are a few examples:

  • Allen Iverson made over $200 million in salary and endorsements during his career. His lavish spending is legendary in the league, so now he’s millions of dollars in debt. Fortunately for him, Reebok set up a $30 million trust for him in his endorsement deals, so he does have some money set aside for the future. But he can’t touch it until he’s 55 years old.
  • Delonte West, who played for many teams including the Celtics and Cavs, tweeted this during the 2011 NBA lockout, “It’s official. Pride 2 the side. just filled out a application at Home Depot. Lockout aint a game.” He didn’t have enough money to live during the lockout, despite making over $14 million during his career up to that point. BTW, he didn’t even get the job at Home Depot.
  • A good example. Junior Bridgeman played 12 seasons in the NBA. His highest annual salary in the league was only $350,000. He invested his money into Wendy’s and other franchises. Now he’s worth $400 million.

Adonal really knows his stuff about personal finance and this should be mandatory reading for all pro athletes, newly-minted teen idols, etc. It has other fascinating aspects specific to pro sports (like contracts and endorsements), but the money lessons hold true for us regular Joe’s and Jill’s too. It’s a very quick, easy read that spells out the basics of personal finance. Some of my faves from the book:

  • “Saved money grows, while spent money just disappears.”
  • “The reality is, money is a necessity. You cannot live without it. The important thing is how you live with your money. When handled correctly, your money should be working for you. It should be viewed as nothing more than a tool to get you where you want to be in life. Your money should be respected and saved, not thrown away on lavish expenses.”
  • “You got champagne taste, but you only got beer money. That’s not good!” — Herm Edwards, former NY Jets head coach, giving a talk to rookies and highlighted in ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary entitled “Broke.”

Note: Words are clean, but some topics/stories are for a more mature audience.

About Adonal Foyle:

Adonal Foyle blockAdonal Foyle is a retired NBA player, who was the eighth overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft after setting the NCAA record for career blocks in only three seasons at Colgate. He played a total of 13 seasons, the first ten with the Golden State Warriors and last three with the Orlando Magic. From the day he signed his contract, however, he approached his life as it may be his last year in the NBA. He never allowed himself to get caught up in the lavish lifestyle of most professional athletes- foregoing customized Lamborghinis and enormous mansions to ensure that he was smart with his money and careful with his reputation. He now assists pro athletes in creating healthy long-term life-management habits.

Comments are closed.