Hines' World is a new segment chronicling the life of professional basketball player, Kyle Hines. Hines discusses his life both on and off the court as well as the financial tidbits he's learned along the way. Below is his first entry...
My name is Kyle Hines, and I am a professional basketball player, currently playing in Moscow, Russia, for the Euroleague team, CSKA Moscow. Many people reading this probably have no idea that basketball outside of the NBA exists. For many players that did not get drafted to the NBA, pursuing a professional career abroad is another career option. There are professional leagues all over the world – Asia, Australia, and South America – but many players take their talents to Europe where they have career stability, fierce competition on the court, financial success, and upward mobility.
My professional career started in Europe, ten years ago. I’m originally from Sicklerville, New Jersey, a suburb about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. After I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in 2008, I signed my first professional contract in Italy. I spent two years there, and then signed a one-year contract with a team in Germany. I played my first Euroleague season in Germany, and then signed with a team in Greece for the next two years. Typically, players move from team to team each year, however, following Greece, I signed with the European powerhouse, CSKA Moscow, and have been here since 2012.
Over the past ten years, I have been fortunate to have and maintain a successful basketball career. Playing overseas afforded me opportunities I never imagined when I was younger. I have traveled the world, won many titles and individual awards, and have been living my dream of being a professional athlete.
Athletes focus their lives around healthy habits, consistent preparation, and on-and-off-court discipline. We spend hours in the gym, weight room, and practice field, training to be in the best physical shape possible in an effort to compete at the highest level. We watch film, study playbooks, and develop strategies to mentally prepare to be at our best. We receive guidance from our coaches, trainers, and teammates to help reach our goals, and we do all of this to maximize success. Usually, the athletes with consistent habits and continual preparation have the most success in their playing careers.
I have used what I learned, while playing basketball, in my life off the court. As a professional athlete, you also have to put a great deal of effort into your personal finances, namely managing your income. I have established successful habits in that respect, which is of importance, so that I could build a great life for myself and my family. If you learn how to manage your finances in a way that can set you up for life, you can do the same – provide yourself with a great, stable life, well into the future.
When I signed my first contract at the age of 21, I had no understanding of the financial world. I never had a real job, I never paid a bill before, I knew nothing about taxes, and I could not have cared less about planning for my financial future. Overnight, I suddenly had more money than I ever had in my entire life, and I had no idea what to do with it (it was only a few thousand dollars, but at the time it felt like a billion.) Suddenly, budgeting and handling my finances, and making the right decisions, became overwhelming to handle. During my first professional season, I had no plan in place or budget. I was spending freely. Within the first four months, I was looking at my accounts, realizing I was spending more money than I should have, which became a major concern. I heard countless stories about how athletes go broke, finishing their careers with nothing left to their name. I did not want to become one of those stories, so I decided to make a change. I needed to make my financial future a priority instead of becoming a cautionary story about another athlete gone broke. Ultimately, I wanted to be a positive example for future athletes to follow.