Once the champagne bottles are popped and the excitement of signing a multi-million-dollar pro-ball contract sets in, athletes have traditionally been left to their own devices to manage their money, often when they’re fresh out of college with little or no financial literacy or expertise to back them up.
The results can be devastating. Take former NBA star Antoine Walker, who learned about the perils of lavish spending the hard way, running through the $108 million he had earned during his 12-year professional career in just two years after he retired.
“I never understood the value of a dollar,” the former Boston Celtic told the “I Am Athlete” podcast, blaming his desire to live like rapper Jay-Z for his out-of-control spending, which included legendary gambling and the purchase of homes and luxury autos. He declared bankruptcy in 2010.
He isn’t alone. A stark 78% of pro athletes go broke after just three years of retirement, according to business management firm NKSFB.
Fortunately, Walker regained his financial footing in 2013 as a TV basketball analyst, and he’s now a consultant for Edyoucore, a company that focuses on teaching financial literacy to pro athletes.
The firm has a roster of retired athletes who teach their peers how to avoid his missteps by taking control of their spending, making smart investment decisions and wisely selecting the right advisors.
The firm was the brainchild of financial advisor Drew Hawkins, a three-decade veteran of Morgan Stanley who had started the firm’s global sports and entertainment division. The experience made him realize how much financial trouble professional athletes get themselves into due to lack of basic financial savvy. Those insights led him to launch Edyoucore in 2019.
“Pro athletes squander billions of dollars each year. I wanted to come up with a meaningful solution to provide education we could offer to teams and individual athletes,” Hawkins said.
The message is resonating with the general managers of many NBA teams and a growing number of NFL franchises, which have hired Edyoucore to teach their incoming rookies and more seasoned players comprehensive financial literacy.
“We teach them to make their wealth outlast what can be a short pro athlete career,” said Hawkins, whose clients include the Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Wizards, the Washington Mystics, the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Pistons, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Portland Trail Blazers.