By Deborah Howell

By Deborah Howell

They make enormous green.  But will they spread it around?  The Wall Street Journal asked some of the top paid players about their spending habits.  Here’s what they found out:

  1. Jeff Teague makes $8.8 million a year as a pro NBA player, but… he still lives at home. Well, to be perfectly honest, he actually owns the home but gave it to his parents when he went to play ball in Atlanta. Now that he’s returned back home with the Indiana Pacers, he’s moved back in… to the basement. (He gave the master bedroom to his parents.)
  2. Joe Flacco.  When you sign a record-breaking contract, you celebrate “bigly”, right? But when Joe Flacco signed on the dotted line for $120.6 to play for the Baltimore Ravens, he didn’t head to Nobu for sushi, or to Mastro’s or The Palm for a big steak & lobster dinner with a bunch of friends and family. Nope.  He drove straight to the Golden Arches for a single bag of golden McNuggets.  (I hope at   least he supersized that order!)
  3. Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson is a self-proclaimed cheapskate. He confesses to only eating  NFL-provided  snacks when he stays in hotels, and pockets the per diem money he gets for dining expenses. He also elects to fly to into Milwaukee , but drives to Green Bay for games because it’s cheaper than taking a direct flight.
  4. Andrew Luck scored a $140 million NFL contract–and that doesn’t include a slew of lucrative endorsement deals–but off the field, he still relies on his trusty flip phone rather than pay for a smart phone.  Hey–not judging! But… really?
  5. LeBron James has been called (by his teammates–not by me!) “the cheapest guy in the NBA.” He’s one of the world’s  top paid players but doesn’t use his cell phone unless it’s connected to Wifi and won’t subscribe to Pandora premium to get access to commercial-free streaming. He’s not buying any apps and he’s not turning on data roaming,  so don’t even ask.
  6. Another super “thrifty” NBA superstar, Carmelo Anthony has a new worth of about 90 million for his efforts on the boards.  Not bad!  Yet–when he goes to the supermarket, he makes sure he gets the newspaper and tears the coupons out.  He says that people look at him in shock when he does it, but he says, “Hey–I’m human, too.  I’m ripping coupons.”
  7. Tom Brady once gave up $24 million from his personal contract to give the New England Patriots more cash to spend in the off-season. Course,  when you’re worth about $180 million, you can do that sort of thing. But at home with his supermodel wife Gisele, he still farms his own chicken eggs and invests his money ONLY in real estate deals.  (Like that mansion he flipped in LA for $40 million when he sold it to Dr. Dre.) But he got tongues wagging when he lost his mind over having to pay $8,540 for a new pool cover when he was looking to get a bargain.  Tsk. Tsk.
  8. Let’s wrap this up with one of the really good guys in the business of football, Victor Cruz, who put his entire first NFL paycheck into savings. That enabled him to launch the Victor Cruz Foundation, which helps expose inner-city students to STEM subjects. (Science, technology, engineering and math.) Bravo! That’s money VERY well spent!

I think we can safely say that these guys will NOT join the 78% of NFL players who end up broke. The moral of the story is, if you’re a server and a posse of players come into your restaurant, don’t start mentally spending that fat tip you think you’re going to get at the end of the meal… cuz you just never know.

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