It’s the only apparent mistake in LeBron’s career, and the error was in the way he did it, not what he did. On July 8, 2010, LeBron told us on live TV that he is “taking his talents to South Beach.” He was joining his friend Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to create a superteam that’s going to win “not one, not two, not three…” Well, OK, it turned out to be two championships.
In order to do so, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh sacrificed at least $15 million over the life of their contracts to make it work from a cap perspective. We don’t need to pour one out for their bank accounts; they are all doing more than fine. Most superstar athletes make equal or more money off the court through sponsorships, including a lot of free stuff they constantly receive. It’s one of life’s greatest paradoxes. When you finally have money, people start giving you a lot of stuff for free! Their Miami Heat teammates noticed specific side effects.
“LeBron and Dwyane were the cheapest players I ever played with. Not even close. You gotta understand, these guys ain’t paid for nothing since they were 12. When they have to pay for something, they look around like it’s a foreign language.”Udonis Haslem, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz
Haslem said the guy most likely to pick up a check is Goran Dragić. Being familiar with people from his neck of the woods, it’s not surprising. One of the worst qualities a person can have in former Yugoslavian countries is being cheap. The most common thing you’ll see is people pulling on the check fighting over who will pay.
“To get those boys [LeBron and Wade] to pay for dinner, you got to play the credit card game.”Udonis Haslem, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz
The credit card game is a common practice in the NBA. The entire team, or whoever wanted to come, go to a restaurant. At the end of the night, everyone has to put their credit cards into a hat or a bag, and then the waiter will pull one credit card out. If you’re a rookie, that can hurt your monthly budget.
That isn’t the only story that revealed LeBron is, as Haslem described it, “a little tight” when it’s time to pay for something. He uses the free version of Pandora with commercials, doesn’t buy apps, and only uses data if he’s on WiFi. We know everyone is trying to “be like Mike,” but never expected them to emulate his spending habits.