Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the epitome of a team-first player. He’s a tenacious defender, unselfish with the ball in his hands, and possesses the engaging, contagious personality that makes a natural-born leader. The Brooklyn Nets may not have a future star in the first-round pick, but what they certainly do have is a player whose selflessness would prove a boon for any organization.
Well, at least that’s true with regard to basketball-only activities.
In a profile by Alex Raskin of the Wall Street Journal, Hollis-Jefferson makes it clear there’s a limit to his overwhelmingly charitable and giving nature – specifically when it comes to money. Why? The first-year swingman isn’t just fully aware of the rookie pay scale’s limitations, but also the high cost of working in the New York City metro.
“People know they can talk to me about anything,” he said. “But when it comes to money, I’m like, ‘I don’t have it.’ That’s my go-to line.”
“When I saw the check, I saw half of the money was gone,” Hollis-Jefferson said, referring to the taxes and other dues extracted from his paycheck. “And being in New York, more than half was gone. I was like, ‘Who do I call here? What’s going on?’”
Hollis-Jefferson will make $1.3 million in 2015-16, about 20 cents on the average NBA player’s dollar. He’s due a similar salary until 2018-19, when his team option spikes to approximately $2.5 million. The ensuing summer, when he’s a restricted free agent, is when the Arizona product will in all likelihood earn a substantial raise.
Obviously, any normal person making seven figures or more should and is rightfully considered to be well-off from a financial perspective. Hollis-Jefferson already applies to the highest federal income tax bracket, for instance. NBA players live in a different world than most of us, though, one that often includes lavish general lifestyles and many selfish hangers-on hoping to capitalize on their individual success.
By refusing to give away his hard-earned money to just anyone who asks for it – not to mention living in a New Jersey apartment with two roommates – Hollis-Jefferson is taking the most prudent approach to avoiding the pitfalls that plague so many professional athletes. This close-fisted approach will also set him up to lend a bigger helping hand to those who he deems worthy of it in the future.
More athletes should be like Hollis-Jefferson, basically, no matter how ugly his current financial plan of action may seem to many.
[Via Wall Street Journal]