Team Frugal: Jonathan Bender

Being frugal is about more than being stingy with your money. It means being prudent, smart and economical with your finances and career decisions. Every Tuesday, we share profiles of athletes that exemplify what it means to be A Frugal Athlete.

Throughout the length of an athlete’s career, every athlete will face injuries and adversity. For some, that may hinder a career for a short period of time, others it could be indefinitely. 

The average length of an athlete’s career is anywhere from 3-6 years depending on the sport but an injury can happen at any moment.  How will you rebound when your career is over before expected?

Jonathan Bender a former can’t miss basketball prospect that was drafted in the 1st round of the 1999 NBA draft is a testament to how an athlete can use his adversity and forward thinking to turn into a successful entrepreneur and inventor. 

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Jonathan Bender played on the Indiana Pacers and was expected to be the franchise star to take the reigns from Reggie Miller. Unfortunately his chronic knee problems kept him from reaching his true potential. During one of his many rehab stints, Bender thought of a contraption that would help take the pain off his knees while building the muscles and ligaments around to be stronger. He worked countless hours and eventually invented his product and company, JBIT MedPro.

Although Bender didn’t have a medical degree or college degree for that matter, he was able to formulate his ideas through his countless rehab sessions, meetings with doctors and own research and observations. This led to him make the very first prototypes on his own before seeking further help from top medical professionals. 

Bender was able to use his own device to get back into playing and was even offered a contract by his former GM. He ultimately decided to put all his efforts in his company. 

Jonathan Bender is a great example of being Team Frugal. Bender was able to identify a problem, and create a product that was a solution based on a personal experience.  Instead of sulking about what could have been, he took initiative and created a medical device that helps thousands of people recovery from injuries like he once had to. Bender had the knowledge because of the adversity he faced and therefore was able to create a viable answer. Many of his early investments and entrepreneurial endeavors that he admits lost lots of money didn't answer problems or create solutions. The most successful businesses answer problems and create solutions. Bender was able to realize through his intelligence and fortitude  his own solution.