Frugal Lessons from Ballers, Season 3 Episode 1

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 show just started season 3 and I decided to start doing a weekly recap to highlight key financial related points from the weekly episodes that athletes deal with or can learn from the informative show. If you haven’t watched it, I suggest you catch up! It’s a great show and has an Entourage type feel to it. 

Ballers Episode 1 Quick Hits

Baby Drama:

The episode jumps out the gate with Ricky, one of the star football players, worried about the possibility of one of his flings being pregnant. He is unprepared and doesn’t know or love the woman enough to want to raise a child with her. Having a child is a blessing but also a responsibility.  As an athlete you will enjoy your bachelor years and there will be plenty of women that will flock to you. It is best to be prepared with the possibility of having children and dealing with the mothers of your child if you aren’t with her. There have been athletes that have multiple baby mothers and children, and have struggled to keep up with child support payments which have ultimately led to serious financial troubles. 

Brand Advertisement:

Steph Curry and his wife Ayesha made an appearance on the episode. He not only was wearing a Slyce t-shirt , the digital media company he co founded, in the episode., he also plugged the company verbally on the show. He also did a great job of promoting Under Armour in the particular scene where he gets on their company jet. This is a great example of how to use your platform to promote your brand and get out your message. I’m sure the number of hits Slyce got after that episode were enormous. 

Owners are wealthy, players are rich

Mr. Anderson, the owner of the Anderson Financial Group, talks to Spencer about the importance of landing a big client, casino mogul Mr. Hasting. Spencer argues with Mr. Anderson that they need to lock down Steph Curry in order to expand their Sports division. Mr. Anderson refutes his claim by saying, “players are rich, owners are wealthy” 

This is a phenomenal quote that highlights multiple concepts. One being, when you work for someone or a company you will never be as rich as the person paying you. This also highlights that players at the end of the day are just commodities.  


When you spend above your means, you may have to downsize. In the episode, Joe is explaining to Terrell Suggs (Future Hall of Fame football player of the Baltimore Ravens)  that he needs to downsize or else he will end up losing all the homes he owns. Joe shares with Terrell that he doesn’t need two vacation homes in similar climates. He even pleads to Suggs and asks, "Would you rather have three nice houses now for the rest of your career or one nice house for the rest of your life?" to get his point across.

As an athlete, we want to reward ourselves for the handwork that we have put in. Whether it's with cars, jewelry, houses, etc. However, what’s the point of doing all that if you aren’t smart enough to reap your rewards long after your career is over? Joe makes a great point about living within your means to enjoy for the long term versus just for the short term.


Towards the end of the episode, Spencer is in a room full of important people making a toast to the accomplishments of not only himself, but the individuals that helped him get to that point. This is important to understand that as athletes you are blessed with the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting individuals of high net worth.  It is important to leverage your relationships to help follow your passions off the field. As athletes you have a unique ability to connect with people outside of work.

Spencer takes advantage of his position to help with his current job as a financial advisor. The only caveat I have with this theme though is that, as an athlete, you will meet plenty of high net worth people, so it is important to not get taken advantage of trying to play up to their level.