Frugal Lessons From Ballers: Season 3 Episode 9

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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Good relations

In life just as in sports, your relationships can take you a long way. Charles as assistant GM recommends the long time assistant coach, Csonka,  as a possible head coach for the Miami Dolphins. When he ends up getting the job, Csonka is nothing but grateful for that gesture by Charles. He goes on to say , "you took care of me, now I'm going to take care of you."

This is usually how things work in life. When you take care of someone, they usually reciprocate the gesture. If you have a good working relationship with someone, they end up bringing you along when they move somewhere else. Especially in the sports world, this is evident. If you have a coach that trusts you from a previous experience. When the opportunity comes to reconnect, more often than not that coach will refer back to that previous experience. This happens in the corporate world as well where a CEO might move companies and eventually bring over some of his/her trusted employees. It's important to keep good relations because you never know when you might need a favor or a  job opportunity. 


Know what you want

In this episode, Spencer is not exactly sure what he wants in the long term outside of work. With his potential fertility problems, he likes the idea of a child but doesn't know if he actually wants one. For Spencer's case his uncertainty is children but it could be anything depending on where you are at in life as an athlete. 

 Uncertainty is something all athletes deal with at some point during their career. It's important as athletes to constantly seek guidance and various passions outside of their sport. This allows you to not only better prepare for down the road but leads to a healthier life off the field and maintain a good balance.

By doing these things you will help find your passions and not be so emotionally invested in your sport/ job. Having a strong balance can be the key to you playing better on the field or living a less tense life. 


Corporate Field vs Playing Field | Group Economics

Candace, NFL executive,  recommends to Spencer that he should join with the new set of investors looking to bring the Raiders to Vegas. Spencer is at odds with this idea for many reasons including the hard work he put in and having a larger piece of the pie. If Spencer decides to join with the new group as a minority investor , he gets to keep ASM as well but at this current time he is all in on the Vegas deal. In a particular important scene, Candace asks Spencer to look around the room filled with the NFL business executives and owners and asks him what stands out amongst the crowd. She later explains to him how it's a different ball game dealing with the "Old Boys Club" so to speak. You can't just waltz in and expect to get things your way, she later emphasizes that they won't accept you.  

 As anyone trying to move up the corporate ladder especially as a former professional athlete, you have to play chess not checkers. You may have to lose a few battles to ultimately win the war. The corporate side of things is a whole different ball game compared to playing sports and in order to earn the respect of the individuals in that sector, you have to be smart and know how to play the game. 

As an investor or entrepreneur, sometimes it is best to become part of a team rather than try to do everything yourself. Spencer has to take what he learned on the field in terms of teamwork and apply it to business. You can't do everything yourself.  I'd rather be a minority owner of a successful company than majority owner of a failing one.  When you focus on group economics, if done right you are minimizing your risk and creating a better chance to succeed if everyone does their part, just as a team should do. Candace is trying to stress this to Spencer in this episode.


It's all about the money

At the end of the episode, Spencer gets a call from his biggest investor, Wayne Hastings Jr.,  informing him that he's going with the new investment group. The background music starts playing "It's all about the money." I personally thought that was great timing for the moment. It also served as a reminder that in business, it's all about the money. Not the relationships, not the customer outlook, nothing. It's all about the money and the quicker you learn that, the more prepared you will ultimately be.