Instant NBA wealth can be both a blessing and a curse. As such, there are different ways of going about it.
You got your spenders; guys who, in addition to treating themselves, have an urge to take care of people around them -- Allen Iverson is the obvious example. The likes of LeBron James also like to afford the once-unaffordable but have a more investment-oriented approach when looking after their entourages -- instead of giving out money, they use it to allow people around them to develop their talents.
Then there is Giannis Antetokounmpo, a guy who had no idea what to do with it.
Money at 50 different banks
According to the Bucks' co-owner Marc Lasry, the two-time MVP at one point "had accounts open at 50 different banks, with each of them holding up to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage limit."
The information shocked Lasry, who immediately gave the new millionaire the most important financial lesson of his life.
“I spend a lot of time with them explaining where they should invest,” the Bucks owner said. “I’m like, 'Giannis; you can’t be having accounts at 50 different banks. Let me tell you something, if JPMorgan goes under, your little dinky banks are going to go under too. Let me explain what you should buy, you should buy U.S. Treasuries, you should buy this.'”
Giannis' emergence as an NBA superstar is one of the more fascinating came-from-nothing stories. Growing up with three brothers, being raised by Nigerian parents who migrated to Greece, Antetokunmpo didn't have much. But along with his siblings, he found a way to contribute right away.
"You can just never forget where you came from," Antetokounmpo said. "I know that they're going to go out there, and they're going to sell it, but I used to be that little kid or that little guy that was selling stuff in the street."
Today, Giannis is arguably the best basketball player in the world, with a net worth north of nine figures. But regardless of all the fame and wealth that derives from it, Antetokounmpo stresses how he will always stay humble.
"So, just growing up and going through life and how tough life was for me and my family, I'm always going to stay humble," the Bucks' superstar said. "Even now, it doesn't really matter if I've got a $100 million contract or a $100 million Nike contract, it's the way I grew up, it's the way I go through life. I'm not changing."
Humility is unquestionably there, and after a lesson from Lasry, so is a certain level of financial literacy. For a millionaire that came from nothing, that's the best combination.