How to Say NO

As an athlete or individual that has sufficient means, it is expected that you take care of your family and the people that helped get you to where you are today. You feel a certain obligation to pay back and provide for the people in your inner circle. It’s basically an unwritten rule: when you get drafted in leagues like the NFL or NBA, you get your mother a house.  How many times have you heard the overnight millionaire draft picks say the first thing they will do is buy their mom a crib? Now I’m not saying you should leave the people that sacrificed their lives to see you prosper in the dust, but I’m saying you can’t support your people if you run out of the means to support yourself.

I know, I know. How are you supposed to say no to your family members and close the circle without feeling like the bad guy? These are your people and now they think you changed up and went Hollywood on them because you aren’t giving them money to do some things they want to do. This is a constant battle many athletes face. I’m telling you though, that it's okay to say NO! It’s alright to refuse to pick up the whole tab at a restaurant, or let everyone go shopping on your card every time you and your boys go out.


If you think saying no is going to hurt your relationships than you need to read up on different athletes like Ryan Howard and Tyron Smith. I can tell you countless stories of athletes losing relationships with family members and close friends  because of the financial strains they developed simply by not saying no.

You can’t support your people if you run out of the means to support yourself.

Here are a couple ways on how to say NO in order to protect your financial security and, ultimately, be able to provide for your family long term.


Be open with your family from the jump. Whether it’s talking about what you will provide or how much based on what is needed, or what you will or will not spend money on, communication beforehand is very important as an athlete. If you have established boundaries, you can avoid a lot of problems before they hatch. No one can account for random emergencies but if your family knows the rules set in place, it promotes better understanding and allows you to budget your money in a way that makes sense for you. You can then keep track of who you're helping out, and for what, when and all those details.

Involve a Trusted Third Party

If it's too difficult to speak with your family and friends, have a middleman. This could be your manager or agent or financial advisor or even trusted ally, but you need a guy who you can "blame" when you say no to investing in your friends for-sure-get-rich start-up business. If I say no to my friend, he may feel some type of way and it could put a strain on our relationship but if I say, "man I wish I could but my financial advisor said no, all my money is tied up, he got me on allowance so  I got to wait" it's an easier let down.

This is a great way to say no without saying no. Your family won’t be as upset with you - you aren’t the one denying them - which can save stress and further disruption.


At the end of the day, when you are an athlete or anyone with the means to support and provide for your people, you are going to feel obligated to do it. As the saying goes “If i eat, we all eat” but it’s important to know it’s okay to say NO. Being able to decipher when to say NO or how to say NO can help in your overall financial playbook.