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Professional sports are rife with stories of athletes losing their money and going bankrupt, and former NBA veteran Adonal Foyle is hoping to change that.
Foyle, who spent 12 years in the NBA, retiring in 2009 after making $63 million, according to Basketball-Reference, has written several books on financial management and how athletes can shape their post-playing lives.
While promoting his latest book, “The Athlete CEO,” Foyle told Business Insider the financial and life advice he would share with the 60 prospects entering the NBA at Thursday’s draft.
“I think it’s mainly just be involved,” Foyle said. “Pay attention. It’s a very bumpy ride, it’s quick, it’s fast.”
Since retiring, Foyle has stressed to athletes that the most important part of managing finances is to be involved and know where and to whom their money is going.
“Write your own checks, be present, don’t allow too many people access to your funds, ask questions. If they can’t explain it to you, then don’t give them your money. And also just make sure the people that are representing you represent your interests and that they’re [auditing] everybody including your mother.”
Foyle said that for athletes, being strict with their mothers sends a message that they keep a close watch over their money.
“I say, if your mama loves you, she’ll understand if you gotta do what you gotta do. Audit your mama. If you audit your mama, then there’s no one that will pass scrutiny because you’ll audit everybody else.”
The average NBA career only lasts three to five years, so, as Foyle said, it can go quickly. Foyle believes it’s important for players to learn the business and pay attention to what may interest them outside of basketball. His stance mirrors what the NBA has been trying to do with several of its programs for players, one of which allows them to job-shadow at corporate businesses like Google and Facebook.
“This is like a business like anything else,” said Foyle. “You have to learn the ins and outs of the business and hopefully as your career progresses, you will have the skills, the people skills and the physical skills, to be able to determine what are the things you care most about beyond basketball. If you care about charity, how could you do that while learning from the people that have done it before. Asking the right questions. And really understanding that your brand is unique and that you have the ability to destroy it or to protect it.”
Foyle said that during his career, seeing former players struggle after their careers were over inspired him to become vocal and active in educating others about how to manage their careers and lives. He believes each generation has a responsibility to “empower” the generation that comes after them in the NBA.
“Learn your business, learn your craft and over time, really start deciding how you define yourself beyond what you do on the basketball court.”