Frugal Lessons from Ballers: Season 3 Episode 5

Ballers is a HBO series show about a former football player turned financial manager (a character named Spencer, played by The Rock) that highlights the life of current and former players in regards to sports and finances and how they balance it all together.  Ballers goes in depth on a number of topics involving the lifestyle of professional athletes from players transitioning post career to handling family and friends to dealing with negotiations.

The following highlights different key financial points from the show that athletes deal with or can learn from.

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No New Deal

Ricky has been dealing with a number of issues. From his gambling mishap in Vegas to problems with the mother of his child, but the biggest worry on his mind is being left out by his teammates for off-season workouts and not being offered a new deal. 

As an athlete, every player deals with this experience at one point. When you are in a contract year or when contract talks stall and you are in a limbo, figuring out what may be next can be a very stressful time. Not knowing if you will have to take a pay cut or sacrifice less-guaranteed years or move teams to get the terms you want can leave a lot of anxiety because of the unknown factor. For Ricky, since he’s an older player, retirement is creeping into his mind. 

As an athlete, it is important to plan ahead and get a head start on what may be coming, especially when you are in the last year of your deal or on an option year. Whether you discuss this with your family or agent, plan out different scenarios as well as stack up and adjust your financial portfolio to prepare for the worst-case scenario

Virtual Reality and Investing

Joe takes Vernon to an up-and-coming virtual reality start-up in hopes of turning him away from his weed investment. As Vernon’s financial advisor, Joe stresses to Vernon that it’s important to invest in companies and projects that not only won’t get you in trouble but have more room for growth. With investments, it's important to do your due diligence behind the business; just because you like something doesn't mean you should just jump into it. Investments should fit with your financial playbook strategy and it's important to have a clear understanding of what you want out of your investments. Whether it's equity, stock options, influence on decisions, free gear, money, etc, you have to know what you want and adjust your investments based on that. Athletes and individuals alike are all looking for the next big technology thing to back. Recently, virtual reality has become the new wave when it comes to tech start ups. 


Vernon is surprised with a “random” drug test by the league. Probably because of his weed endorsement, but that’s besides the point. As an athlete you are an employee of the league so you have to stay within the guidelines of the league’s rules and policies. That means don’t break the rules, whether it’s substance abuse policy or any other infractions. Suspensions are bad, especially in a league like the NFL where a good amount of the contracts are based on games played. If you aren’t playing the games then you aren’t getting paid. Every year you see countless players lose endorsements and game time because of infractions off the field. You are an ambassador for your team, community, league and, most importantly, yourself and whenever you put that into question, you run the risk of losing out on your earnings.