Lessons From the Game: Malcolm Lemmons
Q: First and foremost, you came out with a book and new business, can you give us a quick synopsis and all the things you have on deck?
A: In my book Lessons from the Game, which was published last July, I wanted to highlight my experiences and obstacles through basketball and explore what led me to reaching the professional level. Furthermore, I wanted to discuss and impart the main lessons that sports have taught me throughout my life.
I will be launching a branding agency called Players Point which will be focused on helping professional athletes build and monetize their personal brands along with the Players Point Podcast, a weekly interview-based podcast with current and former professional athletes.
Q: As a player overseas, what are some different things you have to keep in mind when it comes to managing your money?
A: Contracts can get tricky overseas especially if your team is not winning. I've heard of a lot of players getting scammed out of money or not being paid for several months. You really have to understand that it is a different country and things aren't the same as they are in America. Although it might be tax free money and your house plus other living conditions may be paid for, many times you don't know when you could possibly be cut or what could happen next with the team. You have to live within your means and budget your money as if you were anywhere else. Furthermore, you have to remember that you won't be getting paid when you come home once the season ends. It is important to prepare for that or possibly get a job during that time.
Q: During your career, was there an “aha” moment when you thought more prudentially about your finances?
A: I've always been very aware of my finances and understood that managing money is a necessary skill in life. I've never really been big into buying fancy things or spending money on things that I didn't think I needed, so I don't think there was ever that moment for me. Being an entrepreneur has taught me even more how important cash flow and money is to keeping any business alive so I think I've actually been even more frugal since my days of playing basketball.
Q: What is one thing you wish you did in college to help prepare for your professional career?
A: I wish that I took more advantage of my resources on campus and the network that I had. I think as athletes we sometimes get caught up in our sport and don't branch out on campus. It is essential to meet people outside of your team, participate in volunteer activities and interact with people around the community.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to rookies that are now handling their professional career and money?
A: Live way below your means. For a long time there was a stigma in the athletic community that if you made it to the pro's you had to show-off, take care of everyone who helped you and "keep up with the joneses." I don't think that's the cool thing to do anymore. Athletes are educating themselves and one another in addition to investing in their future. When you live below your means you give yourself the option and ability to live the life you want to live once you retire from sports and even further down the line. You also see that all of the stuff that you could have bought is actually meaningless and that you can live without it.
Q: What do you think it means to be a frugal athlete?
A: I think it means taking complete ownership and responsibility for your finances and not letting others around you handle it. Time and time again we've seen former professional athletes end up bankrupt mainly because of a lack of knowledge when it comes to money or letting someone else do all the work for them. I believe that the culture is slowly changing but more can always be done to help athletes gain financial knowledge and take control of their life after sports.
is an athlete, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. He recently started his own agency to help athletes manage their opportunities on and off the field. He consistently writes on topics concerning sports business and athletes' brands on platforms such as Huffington Post and The Athlete Network.