Have you ever given financial advice to anyone who might be older or played in the league longer?
There was a point in time where, if you hit me up and we’d kicked it, I wouldn’t try to figure out what was wrong with your situation. All I could do was ask: “What can we do and what are you doing in order to make this situation change?” I judge no man because I don’t know their situation.
But for them to hit my phone and ask me for advice, they’re humbling themselves — because it’s hard for a man to call another and ask him for advice on things of that nature. If you’ve hit my phone, then there’s a respect between you and I, and we’re going to put something together to get you out of that jam.
How should players value themselves in a league where many of them have no power because there’s a hierarchy in the league and in locker rooms?
I’ll never tell an individual how they should feel based on their accomplishments. Because regardless of if you’re the No. 1 man on the roster or the 53rd, you made that roster. Now, what I will say is that the way you feel versus the way you live and spend your money is a little different.
I remember my first trip with my OGs. I was a rookie and they were designer down: Louis, Gucci, Fendi, Prada. I’m out there in some Artful Dodger, LRG and Evisus with the Js — hood classics, you feel me? They’re telling me I’ve got to step my game up, so I’m looking at the prices of Gucci shoes and they’re $500, $600, $1,000. I’m like: “Hell nah! Where’s the store with the Js?” They used to laugh at me, but I remember the first time I bought a pair of Gucci shoes for $550. I kept thinking: “I’m fixing to be broke after this.” I’d never spent money like that.
Mind you, when I first got my check, I knew nothing about money or taxes. And yeah, they try to teach you in school, but that’s basically taking a goddamn baby and putting him in a university. Plus, there wasn’t anybody who spoke my language to break it down for me until I got to Buffalo. I was like, “Who is FICA?!” I didn’t know my contract was going to be broken up over a period of time and the taxes were going to run my pockets. So when I got to my third year, I started understanding that it’s not bad to go spend a couple of dollars. There’s a way to set up your finances to make sure you stay on top of all this.