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3 Financial Success Stories in Sports

{ Posted on Oct 08 2010 by Marcus Alston }

Jamal Mashburn is a successful businessman, Baby Jordan never has to work again in his life, Curtis Granderson shops at Target.  My faith in the average professional athlete has been restored somewhat by these 3 stories (aka “M2G”).

In the last several months I have a read a few positive stories about millionaire professional athletes that make me feel a little better about our “would be role models”, heroes, “escape vehicles”, or whatever else you want to call them.

1.  Jamal Mashburn.  After 13 seasons in the NBA, the former Dallas Mavericks basketball star that averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game, has transitioned his game from the basketball court to the business stage.  “Mash” owns several restaurant stores including Papa John’s (over 37), Dunkin’ Donuts (unknown number) and Outback Steakhouse (over 34) along with car dealerships.

While you might think amassing these types of assets would be relatively easy for a guy who earned over $75.6 million in his career (before taxes mind you), many who have earned more such as Antoine Walker and Allen Iverson are nearly broke and are seeking  to continue playing in order to pay off debts or make ends meet.   In addition to being a business mogul, Mashburn serves as a NBA analyst for ESPN.   I would say Mash has multiple and diverse streams of income!  For more details on Mash, click here.

2.  Harold Minor.  His NBA pro career was much less successful than Mashburn’s, but he was much more hyped.  Minor was drafted 12th overall in the 1992 NBA draft by the Miami Heat and he was dubbed “Baby Jordan” for is incredible dunking, explosiveness, and style which reminded fans of Michael Jordan.

Despite signing a 5 year, $7.3 million NBA contract and a contract with Nike worth a reported $14 million (about double his NBA contract!)  he averaged less than 10 points a game in his three years in Miami.  After a few injuries, he was out of the league.  There is good news about Harold Minor though.  He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son and currently does not have to work and is able to live off the 20 plus million he earned while being in the NBA.  He has evidently managed and invested his money sufficiently.  Good for him.  While it might seem to most that you could live off of just, say $2 million, many athletes and entertainers have a hard time doing this because often they fail to stay within budget (or to have a budget), live above their means, spend more than they make, accumulate and cannot manage debt, make risky or bad investments, fail to save for retirement, and their careers (and thus income) are not sustainable long term (FYI, Toni Braxton just filed for bankruptcy again.  She claims she has assets of about $10 million and owes between $10 and $50 million.  She also has a lot of credit card debt.  I wish she had followed my advice on credit cards).

3.  Curtis Granderson.  After reading Curtis Granderson’s blog on Yahoo Sports in April about Granderson shopping at Target for items for his new home in the New York area, he instantly became one of my favorite players.

Despite his $5.5 million salary for 2010 with the New York Yankees, he actually shops at one of the stores the average consumer shops.  Way to go Curtis!  This is what I call down to earth and living below your means.  This type of decision making will bode well for Curtis’ financial future when he retires from baseball—probably before 40.  He’ll have to make his career earnings last him at a certain life style for the rest of his life.  Make a budget my friend–it will help you manage your money.

We need these stories.  We need to read these stories too.  There are positive stories out there and hope is not all lost.  All too often we read about the financial train wreck (Antoine Walker) or future train wreck (Allen Iverson, possibly Shaquille O’Neil) or womanizer (Tiger Woods, Shaq, Kobe, etc.) and we are left feeling disappointed.  Well, not in the instances of Mashburn, Minor and Granderson, now also known as “M2G”.

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